We have all heard of the Energy Vampires living among us…And, no, I’m not talking about the Debbie Downer that you sit near at work (though, they are THE worst!!). I am talking about those everyday items we leave plugged in that suck your wallet dry at such a gradual pace that you don’t even realize it is happening. You get your monthly electric bill and just assume that that is what you used so you pay it. But wait! You didn’t even get the benefit of using it! Those nasty vampires are stealing from you…
Well, I have taken matters into my own hands. I’ve pulled out my sword and am cutting costs – its gradual, but it’s working!! I started by unplugging my wifi and cable modems at night. To make it easier, I put everything on the same power strip with my TV, DVD player, and cable box. One quick flick of the switch and they all go off together.
Weather is a huge factor for energy use in Chicago. In the long dreary winter, I lower the heat drastically when I am out of town and even this year I even concealed some ugly plastic insulation behind my blinds for some added winter protection. You couldn’t even tell it was there! My condo is practically ALL windows so every bit helps. Now that it is summer, the air is off until my thermostat says 78. I could keep it off longer with just the use fans but with Bubba wearing a fur coat all day long (she’s very fancy), I try to spare her the sweltering humidity. I unplug my chargers and computer before leaving the house or after charging is finished. Nothing is getting by me now – all phantom energy suckers are being slayed ruthlessly.
So based on my numbers, I have lowered my energy costs almost every month. If I was a little more nerdy I would calculate the percentage saved each month (and I’m kinda wanting to!), but for now this is good enough. Now, I’m not sure what happened with my gas the past two months. The weather has been warmer and we haven’t been using the heat…was I really cooking that much? Perhaps it is a fluke, but if it happens again next month I will have to do an audit.
Looking at the electric, there is one factor to be noted – in January I bought a new smaller fridge. I will share pics of the old beast and my kitchen before and after but I don’t think that fridge alone could have caused such a huge drop in my electric costs. Both the old and the new fridge are energy star rated.
Though the fridge cost me some bucks, it was well worth it to open up the space. I also added an island and got rid of the open storage shelves to the right. It looks so much better now!! I plan to write about my teeny tiny kitchen later but I think we can all agree that a full size fridge for myself was a waste of space and energy, not to mention my food costs have gone down. When you have a small fridge you learn to shop accordingly. 🙂
Along with the obvious energy vampires that were lurking in my home, I dealt with one that had been hiding. My old computer. I use it one or two days a month for work then leave it to collect dust the other 28 days…but I have been leaving it PLUGGED IN!! For years! That all ended this year. Now the old computer is attached to a power strip with the printer. I turn it on for the 2 days I use it and completely powered off and unplugged the rest of the month. I can totally hear pennies falling from the sky!!
Looking back over the past 6 months I am quite pleased with myself and my savings! Now go out there, don your cloaks and swords, and slay some vampires!!
** What changes have you made this year to save some dough? Have you noticed any difference? Shoot an email or post a comment – we can all use some money saving tips!! **