Thursday, April 8, 2010

Everyday Savings: The Electric Bill Challenge

I have a terrible habit: I hate turning off lights.

It isn't that I like having the lights on, either -- it's that I don't like going to the trouble of hitting the switch. I'm just that lazy.

Laziness, at least in this circumstance, costs money.

And so my personal challenge for the month of April is dropping our electric bill drastically. I chose to wait until this month so that I would have a full month of drying cloth diapers reflected before I worked to lower things. And wow did that make a difference ... our dryer/washer (apartment owned) is not energy efficient. It just SUCKS MONEY.

Unfortunately stupid power company did not get my comparison memo and they have decided to raise the rates this month. So to do this for you I'm going to have to do MATH. ... MATH! for you. That's how much I love you.

Since we can't avoid using our dryer every other day for diapers (since that in itself is cost cutting), I'm going to have to find other ways to do this. Examples:

-- Turning off our surge protectors (and everything plugged into them) at night. We don't need our modem and wireless on while we're sleeping, let's be honest.
-- Unplugging our cell phone chargers during the day ... no reason to suck power when they aren't charging anything
-- Turning off the computer when not in use
-- Turning off lights when we leave the house or a room. We live in a small apartment so I don't bother turning them off each time I go out of the room ... and when I'm about to go out the door with my hands full of David and three million other things and I notice that I left I light on ... it stays on. We are going to change that.
-- Running the dishwasher less. I frequently run it just to clean bottles and nothing else. There's no reason I can't take five minutes to wash them by hand.
-- Washing clothes less. I typically do loads of clothing laundry, wearing the same shirts and jeans over and over again just because those are the ones I like best. It's not like I don't have any others. I've decided to abide by a clothes/towels/sheets cleaning schedule with the hopes that it will cut down on the number of partial loads (and thus loads total) I do each week.

We'll let you know how it goes.


  1. Does it really use electricity to leave your cell phone charger plugged in? I thought it was just if they were being used. Who knew. I always try and do the bulk of laundry and dishwashing in the evening - they say it's more energy efficient. That might be BS someone made up and told me but I still do it.

  2. Because I want you to save all the money you can I shall add to your list of ways to save money.
    - Turn off the TV if not in use because it takes TONS of energy.
    - Increase your air/decrease heat as much as you can handle as it makes a huge difference. Fans are much more energy efficient but don't make the house cooler so if you're not under the fan turn it off.
    - Run your dishwasher, laundry at night during off peak times as some times power companies charge more during peak times.
    - Get cheap energy efficient light bulbs and change them out next time yours die.
    - Ensure your fridge is set to the optimum energy temp (google it since I can't remember what it is).
    - Check your water heater to make sure its not making your water hotter than it needs to be (again google for specific temp). Often you can change it in the summer to even lower and save even more.
    - Run your laundry in cold water whenever possible. Figure out how much dryer energy you need to get things done and don't run it longer just because you can (I'm working on this one a lot right now!).
    - Take shorter showers (I wont do this, but I hear it helps :)

    Okay thats all I can think of for now. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  3. Dana -- thanks for the tips! I didnt list those things since those - minus the TV thing which I simply forgot to add - are things we already do/have done.

    The TV thing is a doozy. I just like it to be on even if Im not really watching it. I've started playing music on the computer instead. I also have a habit of pausing the dvd player and turning off the TV instead of turning both off. bad!