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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Oh my goodness!

I have to share this!! I finally got my electricity bill. We're billed every 2 months. Last bill was for $132. This bill was $69! I had to do the rub-your-eyes-and-make-sure-you're-seeing-straight thing. I knew it would be this low, but seeing it in black and white really gave me a thrill.

Not many folks are checking their inboxes, daily, hoping to find bills, but that has become me. I am wanting confirmation that all our efforts are working. I can't wait to tell my husband when he gets home, as I'm not sure he's been believing me, regarding just how much we could save if we made some changes!

Even as our bill ticks up a bit, as winter approaches, this is money that we saved that can't be undone. It's money in our account, or as I've done with half of the savings, bought LED light bulbs, to save even more in the future.

There have been days when I just wanted to get the laundry done, and wanted to use the dryer. But I've resisted. And it has paid off!

I'm skipping off to do my housework. I hope your day is filled with pleasant surprises, too!


  1. That's wonderful!

    We've had rain, which is usually non-existent here. I forgot to turn the sprinklers back on the first week, and then it rained the second week, and then it rained again the third week.

    The water company put in new meters mid-month so they wouldn't have to estimate if the meters broke, according to the person who came to install them.

    I got the bill--and they estimated me (it says estimated) 33,000 gallons in the 4th (and most expensive tier) at $155.00. I know we didn't use this! (The total bill is $255). I am going to have to fight them on this, and I'm probably going to have to get the local media involved. We've had the water off for 3 weeks now outside, and that is HIGHLY unusual for us, but I still wouldn't have used that much water.

    I was really looking forward to getting the water bill because I was so excited to have it lower.

    The electric bill, however, was $50 less than the previous month, since I turned it from 79º to 81º, and we've had a bit cooler (also unusual) weather with these tropical storms. I'm excited about that!

    1. Hi Brandy,
      Oh, no! I was afraid they would *estimate* this bill, too. They estimate bills once or twice per year, and I was fearful it would be this one, when I knew we had reduced our usage. I was preparing myself to call them and have them come out to actually read the meter.

      Good luck with your fight on the water bill! Hopefully you will prevail on this, and you can reclaim your delight on reducing your use! Again, good luck!

    2. I had a similar water bill situation - only to learn that the water company where we were had a minimum charge. Anything between 0 gallons & a few thousang gallons was charged the same. If you crossed the threshold, then the bill went UP, but you couldn't make the bill go down from the minimum (unless you cut off water entirely).

    3. I talked to them yesterday an they said they will "rebill" but it doesn't sound like I am going to win this one.

      My husband and I went out and read the meter yesterday. Since it's a new one it started at 0. Well, they estimated that we had used 33,000 gallons from the 13th to the 29th.

      As of the 11th of the next month, we're at 33.95 thousand gallons, and so that's two more weeks with the amount that they though, billed at the HIGHEST tier rate (4th tier). That would mean we haven't used any water this month if their estimate was accurate.

      It rained again yesterday and we are going to have the water off for at least another day or two here which is awesome, so at least this month's amount will be down.

      They said, well, based on your normal usage, it would be that high, and I pointed out that it was still higher than that (July's was around that but we had 3 leaks that we fixed!). It's still higher than last year's. I said yes, and this year we had 3 weeks where I had the water off, and we never have three weeks of rain here in August and September (2 of those weeks in August). When I got off the phone my husband also remembered that last year we had grass in the front yard as well and this year we don't.

      I'm afraid they're still going to charge me at the higher rate because they're still going to have to guess and it doesn't sound like they are going to reread the meter, so I don't know that I can win this one.

      Even in the winter I have to water the garden here on the drip at least a couple of times a week and the grass is only one day a week (by water company law only one day is allowed; they will fine you several hundred dollars otherwise if they see it) so having it off completely in what is usually our hottest time of year (normal usage is watering the grass every day an the drip every day, each 3 times a day) should be a huge change in my bill, even over a winter bill, where my expenses are the lowest for the year. It doesn't usually rain here but a couple of days a year, so I still have to water.

      It's supposed to be 100º here again in a day or two and I'll have to turn the water back on, but I'm glad to have had it off for so long.

      With a large family that's home all day, and lots of from scratch cooking and dishwashing (I wash about 20 pots/pans/mixing bowls/baking sheets every day) and 22-24 loads of laundry a week--thankfully on a front loader, plus 9 people bathing--we're going to use a lot of water in this household indoors, but cutting usage outdoors is a huge help, as that's the biggest expense. Indoors we have low flow toliets and shower heads (by law) and we do a lot to reduce water usage indoors.

    4. Brandy,
      It just seems so wrong that they "estimated" usage before taking the meters out. And I am sure that you aren't the only ones feeling this. As you've had so much more rain than normal, your neighbors likely used much less water than normal, as well. I feel badly for you.
      But on the positive side, you do a lot to reduce water consumption as is, even with a large family. And that *is* reflected in the other water bills of the year. But I understand your frustration on this.

  2. Woo Hoo! Congratulations! I've been following your journey, and I am SO impressed that you made such a HUGE dent : )

    1. Hi Anna,
      Thank you!
      Now to really put some work into the other areas.

  3. Yay for you!

    Did you find out any more about your water usage?

    1. Thanks, Kris!

      We're waiting to receive the next bill. It's very possible that we used all of this water. We did have a high bill the same time-frame last year. And with this year being even warmer and drier, and us watering shrubs and plantings, plus the pool, well it's very possible.

  4. Congratulations! That's a mighty impressive difference!

  5. That is impressive! Good for you!

  6. Replies
    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thank you! I think it does point to how expensive we've managed to make modern life.

  7. What did you do to reduce your bill? Just curious.

    1. Hi Silvia,
      Everything I could think of! But the big ones were hanging all of our laundry to dry, unplugging the energy hog spare fridge (but had to plug it back in for this month, while I shop for a newer model), using my wall oven less, and microwave more, and selectively reducing our light use. Here are a couple of posts I wrote recently detailing most of my electricity cut backs:

      The amazing thing is doing all of these seemingly small things has added up to big savings.
      Thanks for reading!

    2. Lili, some things that made a big difference for us ($220 a month!) were:

      turning ceiling fans off when we weren't in the room ($150)

      turning my computer off every night ($50)

      turning off all kitchen lights during dinner except for the ones over the table ($20)

      I did each of these each month in a row as I looked for ways to continuously reduce our bill. Each month I looked for more ways to cut back.

      Now I turn off my monitor and put my computer in sleep mode during the day when I know I'll be off of it for a little bit (making a meal or doing a few tasks). I also usually keep the speakers turned off, and my children can turn them on when t hey are doing a task that requires them (using the match cds for school when needed, for example). I just looked up and my daughter had left the speakers on, so I turned them back off.

    3. Hi Brandy,
      The amount you saved on the ceiling fans use is amazing! I've been keeping all kitchen lights off, except the fixture over the table, during dinner, as well. And on nice evenings, we've been eating outdoors, leaving all kitchen lights off.
      I need to start putting my computer to sleep during the day. I've been so busy lately, that I really haven't even had time to use the computer for the most of the day, anyways.

  8. Seeing it in print must have been very satisfying!

    1. Hi anexacting,
      It was! And now I can keep reminding myself that these efforts do work!

  9. Congratulations - great to know all the work has paid off :)

  10. Hi lili,
    that is wonderful!!!!! Congratulations.....
    blessings regina

  11. Great job, Lili! That is a huge savings! Your hard work & determination has paid off.

    1. Thank you, Sharon. Now to get busy reducing other bills.

  12. Lili that is awesome! All of that hard work paid off. :) I am happy for you. I'm going share your success with my husband and sons. They think I'm over-the-top. Ha. They think that things like having a few extra lights on, turning the AC down a few degrees and leaving their phone chargers plugged in 24/7 don't make that much of a difference. I've been telling them that all of these 'little things' add up quickly. So, now I have a success story to share as proof.

    I also wanted to say thanks again for the advice you so kindly gave me about my fruit trees. I feel so joyous and blessed to have my own fruit! I know this is my first harvest but I can't see the joy ever wearing off. :) Last night I picked an armload of pears and carried in the kitchen. Then I picked an armload of red apples and took in. I placed them all in the big fruit bowl in the middle of the kitchen bar counter and felt so happy (can't even really describe it).

    I found a recipe online for crock pot pear butter. I tried that last weekend and it is fabulous! I plan on making more of that this weekend and also crock pot apple butter. Plus I am going to finish picking my pear tree and my apple trees. I plan on making an apple crumble and then everything else will be stored in the fridge. We've been eating a lot of pears and apples. I enjoyed a pear as an after breakfast snack and now I'm eating a red apple with sliced cheddar cheese and crackers for lunch. I'm so delighted that the house we brought has fruit trees!


    1. Hi Angie,
      I am so happy for you! I can feel your elation in having these fruit trees. And they'll be a source of fresh produce for many, many years to come! Your lunch of apple, cheese and crackers is making my mouth water -- Yum! We had apple-cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast today, using a chopped apple from our trees. So much better than those little packets of flavored oatmeal!

  13. HOOOAH!!!!


    Congrats Ma'am!!

    1. Thanks, James!
      I did a little "happy dance" right after I paid that bill. That was one bill I was glad to pay right away!!

  14. Oh my that is so impressive! All these little changes have added up to a BIG chunk of change. This is just amazing, do a happy dance!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Little changes really do add up to something big! But it does make me realize how much we were wasting before. Hopefully having seen this bill in black and white, I'll be motivated to keep up with all these changes!

  15. I'm trying to bake but I don't have baking powder or baking soda please help!

    1. Hi Hannah,
      What are you trying to bake? A cake, cookies, muffins, bread?

      with cake, pound cake, the traditional recipe, takes eggs, sugar, milk, flour and butter.

      with cookies, something like shortbread or no-bake cocoa-oatmeal cookies don't take baking soda or powder

      in place of muffins or quick breads, you can make popovers, also made in a muffin tin, but rely entirely on eggs for leaven, or Yorkshire pudding (egg-based puffy bread).

      My general thoughts are that you'll have to choose a recipe which does not call for either baking soda or baking powder, and uses eggs as leaven instead.

      But once you choose a recipe that is egg-based (or in the case of shortbread being butter, sugar and flour), you can add extras to that recipe to make it more like your original thought. Like, if you had wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, you could make shortbread, with added chocolate chips. If you had wanted to bake a cake for a birthday, complete with icing, you could make a pound cake instead, and ice the top and sides.

      Feel free to ask for more specific ideas. Hope this helped.


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