alison griffiths articles
Alison's Money Rule
Pruning your electrical bill
Posted November 28, 2011
Originally Published October 25, 2011
Nibbling away at electricity expenses will put nearly $24,000 in my pocket.
With household debt at historically high levels, small surprise that nearly half of all Canadians confess to living pay cheque to pay cheque. And, judging by my inbox, many of you despair about ever getting ahead.
Forget the big picture for the moment. It just makes your head ache. Instead, focus on creating a little financial buffer by saving a few dollars on everyday expenses. With winter approaching it’s an excellent time to reduce your electricity footprint. I tackled mine three years ago.
My husband and I live in a leaky 160-year-old stone house so our experience won’t match a townhouse dweller. Still, every buck not spent is a buck back in your pocket. With very little effort we saved at least $150 a month, or $1,800 a year.
1. I had an ancient fridge in my basement chugging away. The Ontario Power Authority hauled it away (and will still do so) for free. Check your own jurisdiction. BC Hydro, for instance, picks up 10 to 24 cubic foot fridges gratis and gives you $30 to boot.
2. I’ve always been pretty good at turning off lights but I went one step further, turning off power bars, the satellite receiver and everything else that had a standby setting.
3. Changed to incandescent bulbs in low traffic, non-reading areas. We initially switched everything but found they didn’t provide enough illumination for intensive reading or computer work.
4. We weatherstripped, caulked like crazy and applied plastic film to windows facing the north westerly’s.
5. The temp got tweaked and we adapted pretty well to higher air conditioning and lower heat settings. I estimate about $80 of that $150 monthly through heat and cooling alone.
6. It’s become a matter of pride in our house that we use the dryer only for emergencies, eg. It’s 10 p.m. and someone forgot to hang out the sheets. I now actually prefer the crinkly feel of air-dried clothes and no longer use those icky anti-static sheets.
Voila! $150 saved monthly = $23,636 over 10 years at an average 5% rate of return. Even more if you put it in your RESP or RRSP.
Clothes dryer -- $500 to $1,000 annually
Clothes washer -- $100 annually
Old fridge or freezer -- $150 annually
Heating and cooling -- 60 percent of total electricity bill
- Uncle Sam Wants You!
- Consumer power of one
- Last minute tax tips
- Superhero 1%
- How to avoid the RRSP deadline
- Should you contribute to an RRSP?
- Count On Yourself
- Family Loan
- Pruning your electrical bill
- Stock Market Bear Protection
See more articles?
- 7 Drawbacks of working at home
- Mum's Envelope
- Rule of Threes
- Global Investing without leaving North America
- Parents! Tips and tools to teach your kids about money
- Can you be a millionaire by 65?
- Financial lives of Girls and Women
- Spend no money for this seasonal joy
- Family loans
- Save up for Xmas
- Personal Tax Tips
- Pay cheque to pay cheque
- RESPs = free money
- Rules of thumb
- Credit scores
- Date on a dime
- Great idea into a great business
- New Grads
- Financial Paralysis
- Contest Queen
- Rule of twos
- Home buyer costs
- Don't be afraid of the big bad tax man or woman.
- Do your own taxes
- Rules for self-employment
- New mortgage rules
- Self-employed mortgage woes
- Borrowing to contribute to RRSP
- The R mantra - Regift.
- Cross border bargains...
- Warranty gold
- Benefit from the loonie rise
- Forget the February RRSP deadline.
- Can I afford my house?
- Ease college and university students into independence
- Eliminate Back to School Shopping Stress
- Drink no wine before it’s time
- Living on a baby budget