Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January's "spend less" focus: Eat from pantry; use less electricity

   Fearless frugalista that I am, I accepted an "eat from the cupboard" challenge over at Greenhab (exceptions: can buy fresh dairy/produce). And before my bravery could flag, when Being Frugal threw down a challenge to pick one month to use less electricity, I chose January.
   Hopefully challenging myself to a particular focus on electricity and shopping my own pantry this month will increase my chances of success with my resolution to spend less, save more in 2011. And it's not taking on too much with these types of challenges...even if every day doesn't breed success, the days that do will add up.
   How'm I doin' so far?
  • There's a load of laundry out hanging on the line. 
  • Lunch was veggie soup cooked entirely on the shelf of our woodburner. (No woodburner? A crockpot would turn the trick.)
  • Pictured above are some onions slowly simmering in butter and olive oil (in the same pan the soup was cooked in). No prob if it takes all afternoon for the onions to caramelize, since this is a step-ahead for a future meal.
  • And I air-dried my hair. Yeah, it looks air-dried, but I'm not going anywhere today. 
   I've been stewing over how to reduce my blow drier and cooktop usage ever since reading a post on EcoMama: Be PowerWise. Did I mention this before? Her post contains a link to an energy calculator that gives a ballpark estimate of how much energy (read $$) common household appliances/electronics use. Even if my appliances are more energy efficient than the ones used for the calculations, the estimates create a powerful picture of my dollars going down the drain (also picturing a bigger carbon footprint).
   Although I value quick cooking and having good hair days, I do NOT value spending money on one-time-use products like electricity!
   If you vowed to spend less, save more, how 'you doin' so far?


A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

We always hang our washing on the line here - we live near the coast so the wind dries it in no time. Love your tips - lucky you having a wood stove - my grandmother had one and her home baked scones were delicious.

Anonymous said...

Our home has gas heating but to keep the bill down I build up alot of humidity in our home. You can purchase a small shelf humidity gauge for $2-3.oo. Humidity,also keeps us healthy in the winter months.
from Michigan Winter Wonderland

giozi said...

I would like to use less electricity, but in my house all powered by electricity, less water is by gas.

Thanks for stopping by

Dmarie said...

Spoonful, wish I had a wood stove, but it's a woodburning furnace, w/ electric blowers. Cooked on the shelf for the first time when an ice storm knocked out our electricity for a couple of wks last yr. Doing it again now to lower electricity usage. We're all-electric too, Giozi. Wish I had gas like you, Blessings--it's warmer heat & no freezing showers when power's out. But can't complain: our fire keeps us toasty.

Anonymous said...

It is too cold for me to hang clothes, about 39 today, I believe. I know it can be done, but since I have been ill and do own a dryer, I use it. Still, I always hang socks, panties, knit pants, tshirts, and sweatshirts, so that I usually only have kitchen and bath linens. Oh, last week, I did hang my panties outside for the benefit of the sunshine.

Yesterday, I cooked a roast with carrots, potatoes, bell pepper,celery, and onions; big pot of blackeyed peas; and made coleslaw. That was lunch(roast, carrots,potatoes) and dinner (blackeyed peas, slaw, and roast beef sandwich)today.

I can see five more days (maybe four) of this same meal that I cooked on Tuesday. I am not easily bored by food I like. So, energy use will be down. That's seven days of eating from one cooking session. Tomorrow, I will make coleslaw.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is Practical Parsimony. Your name/url function is not working. That is what I clicked and got no drop down place to add name and url.

Buttons Thoughts said...

Good morning I read your blog with your tips very interesting. I have a wood stove and have now put all my appliances on power bars. Even with the tractor plugged in and on a timer. We have finally managed to get our hydro bills down. In Ontario Canada where I live the hydro is very high. We have smart meters and the HST tax. Not very nice for people on fixed incomes. Our gas is now $1.15 a litre. Scary. Most people have their pay cheque go right into there gas tanks to go to work Very sad.

Dmarie said...

Practical, sorry that wasn't working when you commented. It's flippin' cold here too, 37F, and my fingers are still red from when I hung a load on the line a few min ago. If I'd been thinking, I'd have pre-hung all onto hangers 1st, then quickly transferred the hangered laundry to our umbrella laundry stand outside.

Dmarie said...

Buttons, I'm with you on the scare of rising prices vs. fixed incomes. Hubby is retired & I don't work, so I think being frugal now will help save $$ for when prices are even higher. Inevitable! love the power strip idea...we've done the same w/TV & peripherals. been meaning to take a pic of that--so proud to have done it!

melissa said...

I love your use of the wood stove! I never thought of that before! We are massive energy consumers over here in the tropics - we need air conditioning 24 hours a day or it's a sticky, balmy, 85 inside :/

To save more, I've been trying to get more creative with our dinner choices and wait to visit the grocery store until we're actually out of essential items instead of on a designated day each week. It actually significantly reduced our grocery budget this month already!

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