I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Monday, March 30, 2009

Electric Bill Savings

As I mentioned several times by now we've made some huge cuts in our spending, and huge increases in our savings recently. I've been anxious to see what difference, if any, some of these changes have actually made. In today's mail was our electric bill - this is one area that we have made a LOT of changes. So, as soon as the boys were in bed tonight, I pulled it out (along with my calculator) and did some number crunching.

This bill cycle started 11 days BEFORE we made any changes, so I've taken that into consideration when doing the math - this is actual math, not guesstimates, though. I broke down the amount LESS the bill is from last month, and divided it by the number of days we were concentrating on using less electricity. This showed the amount we saved each day that we were cutting back (this assumes that the days we weren't cutting back we were using the same amount of electricity we used last month). I then multiplied the amount we saved each day by the number of days in the billing cycle - this showed what the savings would have been if we had adopted this new lifestyle for the entire billing period.

BY 30.38%!!!

So, if last month's bill was an "average" bill
before we made some changes, this would end up being a savings of $528.66 a year!

Of course there are some variables, like how much we run the furnace/air conditioner because of the temperatures outside, etc. But to counter some of those there are a few more areas we have decided we can cut back even further in regards to our energy consumption. One huge drain to our electric bill that unfortunately we can't get rid of is my oxygen concentrator (but at least we unplug it when it's not in use). But that's one huge electric black hole that we have that most people reading this won't.

So, now that you've seen the result, maybe you'd like to know what changes we did. I guess I should first mention that we have always been careful about turning off lights when we leave the room, and we already have the curly-q light bulbs in almost every light socket. Side note - those low emission light bulbs are REALLY bad for the environment, because they have mercury in them. If you ever break one, you MUST have a specialist come clean it up, and that costs hundreds. And coming into contact with mercury can be VERY dangerous, it's even thought to be a possible cause of autism! So be VERY careful!

But back to the real topic at hand: here are our NEW changes:

- We have unplugged EVERYTHING except the refrigerator, chest freezer, one clock, the dryer, stove, dishwasher, and microwave. If we could reach the plugs for the last four things listed then we would have unplugged them too! (I guess we could throw the circuit breaker for them - I'll look into that tomorrow.)

- The washing machine is even on a power strip (we could reach that plug!), and when it's not actually being used, it's turned off.

- Big, complicated things (like the big-screen tv, dvd/vcr, playstation) or (like the printer, two laptops Aaron uses for work, and monitor), these have been put on a power strip. They are turned OFF unless they're specifically being used.

- Aaron has a LOT of cell phones and PDAs for work, this means that there's a LOT of chargers also. So, they've been put on their own power strip, but (because of the logistics of where it's located), they're plugged into an outlet that's controlled by a light switch. So, the light switch is only turned "on" when something's actually being charged.

- Items like the toaster oven, coffeemaker, my phone charger, and laptop are plugged in when they're being used, and unplugged when they're not. This includes before bed each night.

- Since the weather's getting nicer, I turn the heat off first thing in the morning, and we currently turn it back on just before bed. I know this sounds backwards (my mother turns hers on during the day and off at night). But Harrison's still too young to stay covered up at night, and we don't want him to be cold. So during the day we put on a sweater (or two) and slippers, and make do without the heat. I've learned what times of day the sun's rays enter which windows, so their curtains are opened to allow its warmth to warm up the house. We have a storm door on our front door, so opening the inside door also warms up the house.

- During the day (currently from around 8:30 am until around 5:00 pm) we don't use any lights in the house. It's bright enough to see without them. The only exception for this is in the bathrooms since there are no windows! :)

So, maybe you're sitting there thinking first of all that this post is way too long! But secondly, that these changes are way too drastic. Fair enough - don't do them. But as for our household, I am already coming up with fun ways to spend the money we're saving. Well, spend it eventually - since right now we're just saving. And boy, oh boy, are we ever! Aaron and I are actually having a BLAST saving money - I NEVER thought that would be true! When we got the bill today and I did the number crunching, after our happy exclamatory comments, the next words out of BOTH of our mouths were ideas of MORE ways to cut back! I can't wait to see the results of some other changes we've made.

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