Last month when we did our budget, we decided to implement a few new cost-saving measures to see if we could figure out some ways to save some money that wouldn’t require much effort or sacrifice. Because we’re lazy like that. One of those things was deciding to make a conscious effort to use less electricity.
Basically we did this in three ways:
1) I bought a new smart power strip on Amazon for $15 which cuts off all power to our entertainment system every time the TV is turned off. Since we have a lot of gaming systems, and because they draw power even when turned off, totally cutting the power to them I thought might save us some money.
2) We started unplugging things that aren’t in frequent use throughout the day. For example, I only ever make 1 cup of coffee a day, so why was I leaving my keurig plugged in (and turned on!) 24/7? I don’t know. The plug isn’t even hard to reach. Now I just plug it in and turn it on when I get downstairs in the morning and by the time I’m done making B’s lunch it is powered up and I make my cup of coffee, then I unplug it again. Same with our various stereos that get used on a weekly (if that) basis. We didn’t get crazy with it, I’m not crawling behind our dresser to plug/unplug our bedroom tv whenever we want to use it. But in general, if plugging something in will take less than 4 seconds, it got unplugged.
3) Paying attention to turning off lights. I was HORRIBLE about this. And yes, it was me, not B. Especially with my working at home… sometimes in the mornings it would be sort of dark in the kitchen so I’d turn on the lights (there are 6 lightbulbs on 1 switch) and then somehow I’d just leave them on… all day. I’d leave the light on the mancave on if I was working down there even if it was really bright enough that that they were unnecessary. I’d turn a porch light on for a friend coming over and realize 3 days later I’d never turned it off.
(We also switched electric companies, but that change has not yet taken effect).
So, we just got our first bill since we started making an effort to reduce electricity and I have to tell you– I am floored with the results. We used less energy in the last month than we have at any other point in our 36 month history that is available on electric company’s website.
We used 49.5% less energy this past April than we did in April 2012, and 48% less energy than in April 2011. So basically, HALF.
A friend pointed out to me that it has been pretty cool here in Ohio this spring so it is possible than in April’s past we used our AC a few days (whereas we did not this year). Fair point, so I decided to also compare to some months that we definitely did not use AC. Compared to the last 3 months, we used 28% less energy than the average of those months.
So what does this mean in cash? The average amount we have paid for electric the last three months was $118. This month our bill is $88. A $30 savings!! And like I said earlier— we haven’t even gotten our new electric rate yet!
Okay so… I get that electricity usage and rates may not be that exciting to most but I have to tell you– I am (clearly) pumped about the outcome of our little experiment here. We really haven’t felt that putting a tiny bit of effort into regulating our usage has been overbearing at all, and the savings is well worth it to me. I’m so pleased that we’ve already more than paid for the smart power strip I bought, and we will definitely be continuing with our new habits!