Monday, June 17, 2013

Lights Out Challenge Update

   This concept is catching on a lot faster than I thought it would in my house.

   The kids are on board!

   Keeping the lights off during the day to save on the electric bill is becoming a way of life in our family.

   We are fully utilizing the free light from the sun! Imagine that! I am naturally overjoyed.

   I find myself savoring the simple beauty of the sun's rays spilling across the floor. I love the contrast of shadows spread out around the house, placing geometric patterns here and there.

   I love how we naturally gravitate to hanging outside more, and eating dinner out on the porch every night. 

   This is turning into much more than a money saver...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Lights Out" Challenge

Lights Out Challenge

Classic parenting moment right here...

"Don't forget to turn the light off when you are done!"

How many times need I ask, gently remind, or straight up yell it across the house? Still, my kids never do it. I bet yours don't either. They appear to think I am asking too much of them. My daughter finds me annoying. My son, who is almost three, gets a kick out of nudging every light switch he can reach into the "on" position. He then waits for me to figure it out, laughing and trailing behind me as I turn them off, lecturing to him, "during the day the sun is our light." It's free!

Take notes here- sunlight is free! All day long!

They should teach this stuff in kindergarten.

No new information, perhaps a simple case of overlooking one detail, taking the big fiery ball in the sky for granted. I understand, after all- we are busy. Who has time to stop and think about things like this?

Don't worry. I am here to remind you.

When it comes to electricity... skimp. (I never encourage anyone to be cheap, but in this case- go for it.)

I prefer not to turn on lights during the day. Why would I? There are people out there that pay $125 and up a month on electricity! Is this you? Mine never hits $60 in the summer months, and hit $111.90 in the darkest, coldest February when we barely did more than huddle together on the couch watching movies all night. Okay- I also forgot about July when we run a box fan most nights to suck the hot air out of the house. The bill might hit $70. There is a solution.

Just a flick of the switch should do it lovers!

So here's my new scheme challenge.
My household is going "lights out" during daylight hours! 

Which means as long as the sun is shining there will not be any flicking of switches. The children will be re-trained, and so will I. Last month the bill was $62.65, from May 3rd to June 4th. A late start, but I am going for $45 in June. Anyone going to join me?

I do realise living in New Hampshire really helps with this scenario. If you are pumping the a/c in a place like Phoenix, sorry. But you can still try keeping the lights off during the day- I promise you will see a difference. Also- unplug those chargers when they are not charging, drink lots of water, and be happy because you are saving money!

Happy skimping! xoxo

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Treasure Chest

  When the subject of savings comes up, I always get funny looks from my friends. Some wonder how I even have savings. Most of them don't posses a freezer stash like I do. Sometimes I can see the gears slowly churning in their heads- they think of themselves as hopeless spenders.

  "Never will I have enough to take my family on vacation."   "I can't afford to buy organic food."
      "Never will I save enough for a down payment on a house."    "I don't make enough money."
          "Never will I be able to buy a car without a loan."    "I could never pay that much for shoes."

  Pretty sure all of the above is absolute baloney. Silly excuses. I can back myself up on that because I pretty much do all of those things earning much less than everyone else.  I am single. I have two kids, a dog, two cats. I made $20k last year working 25 hours a week average. I buy nice shoes. I own my home and car outright. I swing by my local cafe on occasion to subdue an afternoon craving. We take vacations. I have no debt. This is not me bragging, it means we all start somewhere taking lots of small steps. Which is what I want to teach all of my friends to do.
  My first memories of money offer insight into how I manage it as an adult. I had this orange wicker basket shaped like a pumpkin about the size of a soccer ball. It even had a cover that fit perfectly on top with a painted green stem and little curly vines that hid what was inside. That thing was packed full of coins, and each time I picked it up I feared it would break. My dad used to toss in the leftovers from his pocket, which became my first stash.
  I have silly fond memories of shutting myself in my room, dragging that thing to the middle of the floor and tipping it over so that the change spilled out in a rush of sparkle and delight. The tangy metallic smell made me smile. I would scoop it up in greedy handfuls to watch it slip between my fingers, and hear it musically clink to the floor. Sometimes I would run my palm across the heap, smoothing it flat to see how big an area of the floor it would cover. I made patterns and piles, counting each stack, and on occasion ran across the hall to the sink so I could try to scrub a dirty penny clean. This was one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon as a 7 year old.
   As far as I can remember, I never thought to spend it. I loved having it tucked away in my room where I could keep an eye on it. It was my vessel of possibility, my treasure pumpkin. It really helps to have a special place to keep your cash. My dad used to hide his in the back of the freezer. He has a great name for it- cold cash. My friends used to think that was hilarious, I thought it was pretty neat. So when I got a place of my own, the freezer became my piggybank. My friends still thought that was hilarious, and I still thought it was neat... but none of them had a lump of savings like I did.
   About 6 years ago I had a bum tooth. It was a wisdom tooth that was falling apart in my mouth. It hurt so bad I wanted to pull it out myself. I was just getting on my feet after a divorce, and finances were tight. My cold cash barely covered rent. The only dentist I could find to pull my tooth without charging a fortune was in RI where my family lives. I made an appointment on the weekend of my birthday. It was short and sweet and slightly gross, but I got out of there only paying $125 for the procedure . Life was good again and I headed back to my grandparents place for a little birthday chill and grill. After our meal, my Gram handed me a white envelope with "From the Tooth Fairy" written in her shaky scrawl across the front. Huh? Then I opened it and pulled out the bounty inside. Right. She gifted me the cash that covered the tooth. The whole family got a chuckle.
  That envelope became my new treasure chest. It has spent years in the back of the freezer, years at the bottom of  underwear drawers, or tucked between mattresses. I had to clear tape the whole thing- inside and out- because it started to disintegrate. Now that my sweet Gram has been gone for a few years, it is a treasure with or without my weekly earnings hidden inside.
  Find yourself a treasure chest. Make it something special. Then start filling it with treasure. Touch it, count it, smell it, love it. Give your money the respect it deserves. I guarantee you might start holding onto it a little longer. xoxo