To live a simpler lifestyle, we’re convinced that we need to lower our consumption of goods and services so that we don’t need the same financial resources to prosper. I’ve been thinking about this a lot – not in a fearful way, but with a desire to lower my expenses.
What we’re doing is building a list of the irreducible minimum expenses we have. Then, looking at what can be re-worked on that list to cost less money. For most people, some bills cannot really be lowered. Usually that is your rent/mortgage, car payment, student loans and perhaps some utilities. For now, we want to focus on lowering the electric bill. For us, that’s about $250/month.
Here’s some things we’ve heard, or are personally considering.
We’ve done the stuff that many have done – replaced inefficient appliances, installed CFL (Compact Flourescent) light bulbs, etc. Sometimes that’s not enough! Here’s some things we’re considering or have been doing:
- Unplug everything you can – seriously – unplug everything you’re not using that does not have to run. Many electric items (those that have power chargers especially) use power even when not in use. Unplug them and you’ll save money.
- Practice an energy “Sabbath” – We’re considering taking a 24 hour period of rest from using electricity every week. Heh, the Amish do it all the time, we should be able to as well. Of course things like the fridge and hot-water heater would stay plugged in, but we would otherwise not use any electricity. Light candles (carefully of course) and play games with the family. Start a fire in the fireplace (if you have one), be romantic (where appropriate), have a slumber party with the kids – etc. Of course there’s much gained here aside from a lower electric bill!
- Get on your electric company’s budget plan – this might not save money per se, but will make budgeting for electric much easier.
- Go outside and stay outside -Unless you’re bubble boy, being outside generally doesn’t require electricity. Endure the hot or cold and go outside for a few hours. While you do, you’ll be (assuming the above is true), you’ll be consuming less electricity. Sun light is free! While you’re there, do some hard work that will pay you back like gardening, composting, exercising, etc. Turn your time and energy into assets!
- Go somewhere else where and when possible – if you have the discipline to do so without actually spending more money, try going places more often that are already using power for heat, lights, etc. For example, turn down your heat or A/C, turn off your lights, and go spend the afternoon at the library, the mall, etc. There’s plenty of places that are public that one can go and be in a bright, warm environment! Of course, ideally it would be great if these places were more green in their use of these resources, but at least by you being there, they’ll be getting the most out of their use.
- As mentioned above, if you haven’t already done so, consider more energy efficient appliances and installing CFL bulbs in your home. Both will require initial expenses, but could also provide lower cost in the long run.
- Consider fun stuff like building a solar oven!
This is just what we’ve considered so far. There are likely tons of other ideas. If you have em’ please post them in the comments for all to see and benefit from.
Till then, best wishes on lowering your electric bill!