Now that I’ve set my mind on keeping my savings rate over 75% ( I know there are unexpected spendings- those are not taken into account per-se but I do try to leave a margin of error every month for these surprises…), I have tackled my gas and electricity bills.
These two are a major item in my monthly budget, mainly because of :
1.We live in a very hot in summer – very cold in winter place- and the electricity bill during the extreme hot&cold months hit the 300$ a month rates.
2.I drive to work 5 days a week in my 3 year mazda -which I totally admit was not the most frugal and environmental decision to make – but the car itself is good and reliable, and I think I will hold on to it for at least two more years before I get a more efficient car.
3. gas and electricity have a direct link to pollution and reducing them has an environmental benefit too.
So how did I conquer these two contant budget hole diggers?
I’ve been experimenting in the past year with some changes I made , and realized I managed to save around 25% -30% of both of those bills.
Here is how:
#1: heating in the winter with a (clean burn-minimal pollution!) wood stove.
this is the sensational wood and kindle inside storage my partner built all by himself. got to love the man.
we buy the basic load of fire wood off-season so it’s cheaper.( august is definitely off season here-over 105 degrees. in the shade).
the rest of the wood and fire kindle including those beautiful pine cones- I collect outside.
Yes I do go around where I live carrying this “trolley” made of reused stuff and collect fire kindle under pine trees.
I add that I do it in the beginning of the summer and throughout summer – early in the morning, usually after my morning run when I’m still in my jogging out fit. definitely a feast for the eyes. but-I don’t care.
I actually love those quiet hours of wandering with my dog under the scented pine trees looking for dried branches and cones.
No use collecting kindle in spring when every thing is still wet. and no use trying to hurry and find forgotten leftovers in fall . (no wonder I have such an appreciation for ants).
the fire-place is a family get together place in winter, which is great. the ac is seldom on, and the residues are great for the composter so win-win-win.
#2: cooling down in the summer mainly with ceiling fans– unless it is dead hot. and sometimes it is. but most of the times we manage with these :
when we bought our house 14 years ago , one of these was installed in almost every room and we added a few to make sure no one goes without. a very smart decision we made then, that only needed the fine tuning of using mainly these in the summer. please remember to clean the fans wings- specifically on their upper side- the one you can’t see. naturally what we can’t see and is hard to reach- is the dirtiest…
#3: Use the oven to its maximum capacity when turning it on. saves on elctricity and time!
Every time I make my homemade buns ( almost every week…) I first stick an oven tray full of potatoes-sweet potatoes to roast while the buns are baking. If not potatoes then eggplants . or spicy chickpeas.
here is as example of my weekly buns.
and these are the toasted spicy divine chickpeas. an upgrade to every salad at work,
#4: freeze your levi’s. I ain’t joking. this is a real hack, check it online. if you freeze your jeans in a zipper bag you can wear them at least once more without washing, apparently it’s even better for the jeans… I wish I were sponsered by levi’s but sadly i’m not.
(levi’s if by any chance you are reading this contact me I lovvvvvvvvve your jeans!)
#5: for the gas saving- you might lough but as I told you before It’s totally fine by moi:
I simply drive slower. I mean way slower.
When nearing a traffic light, I never speed but purposely slow down, and 90% of the times when the red light is on I find all the hasty and anxious drivers that passed me a minute ago when trying to catch the green light standing right next to me-or I see them passing in red light-which is not only extremely dangerous + illegal but also carries a substantial fine .
I discovered that by driving slowly my gas bills have dropped by at least 25% and I am not joking . try it. it is also more cautious , allows you to prolong your reaction time, listen peacefully to your favorite music (yes deep purple -led zeppelin-camel-marianne faithfull ) and slims to 0% the chances of you getting a speeding ticket….
so how do I get to work on time you ask? read my post: why I get up at 04:00
ciao- the cooliflower.