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Household Penny Pinching from the House Guy!


Household Penny Pinching


We owned homes while on active duty but spent a lot of time in military housing too as we moved so many times. One of the challenges of post military living has been household expenses and budgeting. We chose to live near family in a cold winter environment with a propane tank due to our country lifestyle. As we try to control electrical and propane bills we also saw the rise of fuel prices so it became critical to maintaining our costs. We like to travel and needed to see what we could do to save precious resources. We also saw it as a way to decrease demand and increase supply and help our environment. Our dollars saved can go into the penny pot for travel! So here are some Household Penny Pinching ideas that we found to be very helpful:


1. Reduce the temperature on the hot water heater! This is easy and all you need in most cases is a screwdriver to open a panel to see the thermostat controller. It takes about 30 seconds and the hot water heater is one of your biggest users of electricity!

2. Buy and use a programmable furnace thermostat! We have our set to go down at 10 PM (2200) and back up at 6 AM (0600). It works as we like the cooler temperatures to sleep in the three seasons we need some heat. By the way--Wear the right clothes for the season: sweaters in winter; light, loose clothes in summer and your house temperature can be adjusted to save even more. Put the thermostat in a low temp setting and "on hold" during cold temps and in a high temp setting and "on hold" during high outside temperatures when away from the house for a day or more. No one at home during the day? Set it to go down or up when you leave and if you return at a regular time you can set it to adjust just before you get home!

3. Put curtains on windows/doors that can be closed when conserving heat or cool air in the summer and block the sun if its hot or open when its cold and the sun radiation helps warm you up. We have large south facing windows and sliding doors that we love since they provide a great view of our woods and river across the road. We open the curtains when we want to the sun and close them when it is hot.

4. Amazingly this technique works quite well in the summer in a moderate climate: We watch the cool air come in the morning with the windows and doors with screens open and then close up at 10 or so and it stays cool for several hours before we need air conditioning. I recognize that this might not work in some hot and humid areas (we lived in Panama and Charleston, SC during a couple of tours). This also does not work if you have elderly family visiting from Florida who do not like the early morning cool air but we love it.

5. If it is a hot day consider using the grill outside to cook to avoid heating up the kitchen! We have a great spot to grill and cook meat, fish and vegetables on it all the time. We just purchased a new grill with a burner that can heat water so its even more utilitarian.

6. Hard day at work or in the garden? Use the shower instead of a bath to clean up. You will save a lot of hot water and electricity. Of course, if you sing a concert while in the shower the savings go down! I remember my dad use to insist that we soaped up before turning on the shower! But I still can’t do that but some do.

7. Always fill the dishwasher before turning it on and turn off the hot drying tool! It takes a bunch of electricity to dry your dishes when just a bit of time will do the same thing!

8. Do you have an attached garage or carport right next to the house? In the winter bring a warm car into the garage and close the door to add the heat. In the summer during hot conditions leave it outside to cool!

9. Are you windows and doors sealed well? If not, you might consider purchasing some sealer and caulking windows and putting new strips around your doors.

Do you have some other ideas that work for you? Share them with the rest of us! We are all going to see utility expenses climbing rapidly during decisions made in DC concerning power and the environmental protections they speak of creating in the near future. If we can reduce consumption with little efforts less major effort will be required.

1 comment:

  1. Great tips! I am on a penny pinching mission and love finding new ideas. I might add that, in hot months, I close our heating vents (ours are on the floor) because cold air sinks...right into the vents,lol...and this did seem to help our AC costs. (We have window units...the vents are heating vents.) We bought insulated curtains for our living room (lots of windows in there), which also help some. I wash all of our clothes except undies and towels in cold water and I make our laundry detergent. (homemade detergent is not an energy saver, but a HUGE money saver!) I unplug anything that we don't use regularly and try to use a crock pot for cooking when possible. Hope some of these additional tips help!

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