Monday, 14 July 2014

Switch it off !!!

Hello, I was wondering what to write about tonight, when KittyKittyWeaselFish came up with the idea. She asked the question :-

Hi Ilona, 
I'm massively impressed by your electricity bill - I try to be frugal but mine's not even close to that! Any tips you can share?

Of course Kitty, only too pleased to help. First of all, there is only me here so I don't have to nag anyone to switch things off when they are not using them. The first thing that comes to mind when I switch something on is, this is going to cost me money. Do I need it, and can I manage without it. I am obsessive about checking wall sockets and light switches, is there anything on which is not needed. I think the easiest way to explain is to go through the house room by room.

I am sitting in the living room. The computer is switched on, obviously. I usually have it on most of the day because I keep going back to it in between other tasks. I have it in front of the window to make use of the daylight hours for as long as possible. It is a small net book so I imagine it takes less energy than the big computer upstairs, which I now only use briefly at odd times. It's 8.15pm, still light but it is fading. For the lighting in this room I have one of those bridge shaped Christmas lights, you know, the up and over one with seven candles on it. I will put this on when it starts to get dark. I also have a desk light next to me which I use when I can't see the keyboard or I am doing some sewing. I don't use the main ceiling lights in this room. I have a music centre / radio, but I don't put it on very often, I like quiet. I can use the cross trainer without switching it on.

The kitchen has a strip light in the ceiling, it doesn't work. Not sure why, haven't checked it. Instead I use a small plug in table lamp. That gives me enough light. My gas cooker has an electric clock on it. I don't need a clock in the kitchen so I don't plug it in. I have an old microwave that is still going strong after many years. I use that to heat a mug of water for my coffee in the morning, and to warm up the home made stew I have made. I charge my phone and camera batteries in the kitchen. I have a slow cooker which I rarely use. The fridge freezer is smallish, three drawers for the frozen food. I sometimes use the toaster. If I need a bowl full of hot water I use the kettle to heat it.

My bedroom. I don't use the main ceiling light, I have a small bedside lamp. Only on for ten minutes when I go to bed. Usually fall asleep before I have read a couple of paragraphs. I got rid of the clock radio alarm years ago, now I have an old fashioned wind up clock. Why do you need a plug in clock in the bedroom when for most of the time you are in there, you are asleep.

Appliances. I wash my clothes when they are dirty or smelly. Towels, tea towels, and bedding gets washed when needed. Only me here, and I don't do a dirty job or work up a sweat. I use the Dyson maybe twice a month, clean all carpets right through. They pretty soon get covered in cat hairs again, I just keep on top of it, not obsessive about housework. In the summer I have an electric lawn mower, and occasionally strim the edges. I have a small hair drier but very rarely use it, I let my hair dry naturally. I sometimes use a stick blender or the food processor. Sometimes I use the sewing machine. I never iron clothes, I don't buy clothes that need ironing. The only time I use the iron is if I am sewing and need a piece of pressed flat fabric.

I don't leave anything plugged in on standby apart from the fridge and the computer. I switch the computer off overnight. I only have the light on in the room I am in. I am always switching lights on and off. In the winter when it gets dark early I carry a wind up torch with me and use that if I need to get something out of another room.

I don't have a dishwasher, or a dryer, or a television set, I don't need them. I hope I have covered everything. There is probably something I have missed out, if you have any questions please ask. It is now ten past nine and starting to get dark. I will put the candle Christmas light on.

I don't need lots of gadgets, the less I have that needs an electricity supply, the better. I deliberately don't buy gadgets because of the cost of running them. Always think, plug in, switch on, and it's costing you money. I think it would be difficult with teenagers in the house, because they love their gadgets, but that's another story. I can only tell it from a singlies point of view. Thank you Kitty for asking.

12 comments:

  1. where did you manage to find a wind up alarm clock, or did you already own one? I'd love one but never seem to see any in the shops.

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    1. I can't remember, it was at least ten years ago when I bought it. You could try Wilko, Home Bargains, B & M, The Range, or any other department store.

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  2. Thanks for reminding us of the little extras, that make a big difference. This applies in so many ways.

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  3. Now I am wondering what your electric bill is. My husband and I on average pay $25 a month here in California and we are frugal too, to be good to our planet.

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    1. Hi Terra. I wrote about it in the previous post, which prompted Kitty to ask the question. £21.88 for three months.

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  4. My electricity bill is £5 per month (including standing charges). I have a tv, radio, laptop, iron, microwave (with combination oven built in to it), kettle and several lamps. I do not own a cooker and have, in the last few years been lucky enough to save up the money to buy a small fridge (before this, I did not own one). I do not have any electric cooker rings. All appliances, if they are not being used are switched off at the wall and pulled out. I freely make myself hot drinks with the kettle and I enjoy the tv in the evenings. HOWEVER, this £5 is my summer consumption - the bill will go up in the winter but not by much. I eat more hot food in the winter and consequently use my combination oven to cook hot food for myself . In the winter I throw back the curtains to get as much light/heat into my rooms but as soon as dusk falls, I firmly shut them. I sew more in the winter but I will not overuse my sewing machine as some people do, churning endless patchwork quilts out - I prefer to use needle and thread rather than rely on overuse of the electric machine. I do vacuum but, again, I prefer to get the dustpan and brush out - no wasting of resources (mine and the world's) and it is a way of using my body so it does not fall apart at the seams. Mine is a quiet household but I am not afraid of switching things on if I should fancy a change. Also, I don't own a washing machine and I do all my washing by hand. Natalie

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    1. Hi Natalie. That's very impressive. I'm just wondering how much your price per kilowatt hour is. The standing charge for British Gas is 26p per day, £7.80 for 30 days, x 3 months = £23.40. Which is why I left British Gas.

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  5. This is a wonderful hardcore frugal post. Inspiring. I spend a lot of time reducing our power bill. Have you ever considered solar energy or off grid living? Sorry if you have posted about this. I am slowly reading through your blog for tips. I have looked up the energy company you use and the rate is higher but it has no standing charge so is in fact cheaper. Are you entirely satisfied with them? Also I do things like (in summer) rarely put the hot water on and just boil an electric kettle to wash up as we wash in cold water and are quite used to it. Is this economical sense? Some say keep the hot water topped up works out cheaper. Will stop now but could ask you things all day. Thanks for this blog.

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    1. Hi hazzy, and welcome. I haven't considered solar energy because of the initial cost and disruption of getting it installed. Because of my age, I might not be able to recover the costs before I die, or move house. If I was younger and planning to stay in my house for a good many years I can see that it might be a good investment.

      I like the idea of living off grid, I lived in a caravan for almost a year though I did have electricity through to it which I used for the heating and lighting in the winter. I'm not sure I would want to do that again. I couldn't live completely without electricity, but there's a lot I can do to tread lightly on this planet by limiting my use of it.

      I have only been with Ebico since January, so it's early days to make an assessment of them. They are more like a go between company, between the suppliers SSE, and me the customer. The bills come from SSE, but if I were to deal directly with them I would be paying more.

      I also have a wash in the morning in cold tap water at this time of year. Bit chilly in the winter though, when I either jump up and down to keep warm, or boil a kettle, ha ha. I can't see the point in keeping a tank full of hot water for one single person when I only need a small amount.

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  6. We could certainly learn a lot from you! I so enjoy your money-saving tips! I don't pay much attention to how much electricity I'm using, although I've learned from when I was little to turn off lights, etc. But I am big on recycling. I find this extremely important.

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  7. I was roaming around on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and came across a site that primarily was a 'survival' kind of site. On this site they were sourcing things that you might use to say, cook with and finding stuff that doesn't need electricity such as, hand held whisks, pastry blenders and it made me realise that if we suddenly had no power, I'd probably be grateful of some of these 'gadgets'!
    Other things like a modern version of a carpet sweeper, slightly more efficient, must look out for them on freegle/pre-loved etc.
    I must reduce my electric bills, even if British gas think I'm a low power user, costs too much in money and the environment! Now, where's my candle lamp.........

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  8. You should have a look at the Intertech building next to ARCO that you can see off clive sullivan way. It has LED lights that turn themselves off, wind turbines and solar panels, a rainwater capture system and is reckoned to be very energy efficient.
    Dave.

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