Monday, June 2, 2008

Saving Money on Our Electric and Natural Gas Bills

I'm pleased to announce that our electricity and natural gas bills have arrived and that we're on target to reducing our energy bill to about $50 a month for combined usage. The electric bill is about $20, which I am hoping to reduce down to $10 during the summer months. The natural gas bill is much harder to cut back because it's mostly based on our use of the stove to cook our meals. It runs us about $1 a day. I suppose that if we switched to eating salads more often, that would save us on our natural gas bill, so I'll make that suggestion to Jenny.

For our electric bill, we have not converted to the government-mandated (expensive and mercury-laden) CFC light bulbs. Instead, I've stocked up on the older, American-made incandescent light bulbs at Wal-Mart, where they sell for less than 50 cents a bulb--about one-fifth the cost of the CFC bulbs that are all made in China. I'm going to continue regular purchases of the older bulbs until I get around a 5-7 year supply of them. Hopefully, Congress will come to its senses and reverse the ban on these light bulbs.

In order to save money, we 've continued to simplify our lifestyle and not purchase expensive, energy-intensive appliances such as big-screen TVs and surround-sound systems. Recently, I donated a brand-new Krups coffee maker--still in its original box, unopened--to the Salvation Army. Previously, I donated a brand-new electric hot water heater (also in an unopened box) that we received as a wedding present to Goodwill Industries.

On a related note, whenever we go over to friends' and family's houses, I've noticed that everyone has those large, newfangled rice cookers with built-in handles. We continue to use the original 4-cup Panasonic rice cooker that I bought 20 years ago when I went to graduate school. It still works perfectly. Eight years ago, I lost the power cord when moving to our Oakland house, but rather than purchase a new rice cooker, I ordered a new power cord for $5 from Panasonic.

It's still all about saving money!


The Real No-Impact Man

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