Thrifty LG

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I don’t consider myself cheap, but there are things I do that are quite thrifty.

I recently compiled our house bills (hot water tank rental, hydro, gas, phone & internet and water) and am pretty happy with the results. Despite the rise in energy costs across the board, our bills were only up $89 from last year. Most of the (more than $60) was due to a flat increase in the stupid, annoying hot water tank rental (most people in this area rent, and it’s a pretty good scam). On average, our house bills total $448 per month. Not too shabby.

I’m really hoping that this number drops for 2012…

Let’s review:

– Flyer shopping. I decide what grocery store I’m shopping at based on sales. Occasionally I’ll ask William to stop at one in the city (as it would be quite unthrifty of me to drive 25 minutes to save $8) to pick up something on sale. Today (being the last day of the sales, before new ones start tomorrow) I’m getting groceries and as opposed to driving 15 minutes for the sale, I’m only going to drive 5, and utilize the ‘price match’ that a closer store offers. Also, because I waited until the last day, I’m sure the store offering the sale with be sold out. (Campbell’s soup – 2 for $1 – good deal)

– Hydro (aka: electricity) Part 1. As of January 1st, we’re on a ‘smart’ meter, which bills us higher for use during peak periods. This translates into me doing laundry on the week-end as opposed to whenever the laundry basket it full. This also forces me to wear the same clothes more (I don’t have a ton of clothes) so that saves on hydro in general (although our dryer is gas… whatever, still thrifty!)

– Hydro Part 2. I’m a bit of a hydro nazi. I’m constantly turning of lights and unplugging power sources. William tends to forget to shut down our main computer, and I make sure it’s done everyday. When we’re watching TV or hanging out in the basement (when we don’t have friends over) I use a lamp as opposed to the 6 pot lights – that kind of thing. I leave the one oven light on in the kitchen (there is 2, but one is burnt out) as opposed to the 6 under cabinet mounted pot lights.

– Composting. I have been composting for nearly 2 years, and this might not be considered thrifty, however – I will not have to buy compost for the garden this year. Also, by composting our kitchen is much less stinky from rotting food. A lot of times I would take the garbage into the garage despite the fact the bag wasn’t near full – just stinky. I probably use half the garbage bags that I used to.

– Long distance. For long distance calls I use Google Talk – because it’s free (yes, it’s still free!) for calling in the US and Canada. Not a big deal, but I think it makes a difference.

I think the little things make a big difference. How are you thrifty or not?

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5 thoughts on “Thrifty LG

    GOM in Oklahoma said:
    January 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I don’t waste electricity or natural gas – BUT …

    I work outdoors a lot in the heat and the cold and have no choice about my comfort level there most of the time, so I’m going to be comfortable in my own home regardless of what it costs. Surprisingly, my bills are always lower than what other folks are saying theirs are.

    The “cheapest” thing I do is buy store brand products (except for certain ones that just aren’t as good as the “real” thing) and I ALWAYS use my cheap pre-paid cell phone for long distance calls. If I could get my wife to remember to do that the few times she makes a long distance call, I’d be happy.

    If I add up everything – city (water/electric/garbage pickup), natural gas, phone (includes internet), and satellite dish – I come in below $400.

      LG responded:
      January 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      My husband feels the same way about being comfortable in our home. In the summers an elevator mechanical room can be 130* – and for a while he didn’t have A/C in his truck. There would be no way he’d come home to a hot house!

      I buy a lot of store brand products too – with some exceptions (TP, paper towels – which I try not to use a lot of – never pop/soda though)

      In my calculations I didn’t include satellite – that runs us an extra $80 a month – something we would never give up – as the DVR saves us so much time and gives us a lot of enjoyment. I feel pretty good about our bills. We have a 1,300 sq ft house with a full basement (it’s a total walk-out, we’re on a ridge) with huge windows (and no blinds) – I hear other people complain about huge bills, and wonder what they are doing/not doing or if it’s the age of the house (ours is about 7).

        GOM in Oklahoma said:
        January 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        Our house is … we’ve lived here 13 years, the people before us lived here 51 years, and it was here long before that. Heck, it was originally built before electricity and indoor plumbing – bathroom and utility room are added onto the back and it’s obvious the electricity is retrofitted.

        Our staircase going to the upstairs was originally the chimney for wood burning heat and cooking! (We found that out when we remodeled the upstairs and we could see where the chimney went through the roof).

        There’s virtually no insulation in the house and it would be almost impossible to put any in (we did add a little when we had the upstairs stripped down) because of the way it’s constructed.

        So … it’s an old house. I just think some people like to complain. Or they’re the ones leaving lights on all the time.

        LG responded:
        January 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm

        I know someone who lives in a 20 ish year old home and their bills are outrageous. Hundreds for hydro every month (even in the winter when gas bills are high, and hydro is low – unless you have a hot tub like us…). I wondered why then noticed that they ALWAYS leave every light on, TVs on, computer on, etc.

        That’s pretty cool/weird about your chimney and stairway! When I sold real estate I sold a house that had the same thing! The stairway was REAL steep – almost a ladder!

    GOM in Oklahoma said:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Ours are steeper than most stairs, but not quite ladder-like. But they are narrow, about 24 inches. Makes it a pain to get stuff upstairs – in fact a “window” was enlarged to the size of a door (that opens out onto the roof of the utility room) so furniture could be moved in.

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