Powering Down

March 16, 2009

It is commonplace for the cost-concious, the frugal-minded to power down lights when leaving a room or unplug unused appliances.

Since I became unemployed yet again back in November, I began taking my power usage one step farther.

I open my blinds as soon as the sun comes out, turn the thermostat down as far as I can comfortably bear, and try to avoid any usage of electricity other than the occasional push of my vaccum (which I have reduced down to once a week).

I cannot say that such tiny measures have placed millions into my pockets, but it has made me more aware of what I use and why.

Do I really need the lamp on when I read? Or can I sit by the window in my livingroom and enjoy my book in the dull March sunshine?

Such “hacks” work in my day to day life. With the arrival of spring weather on its way, I am sure that I will find other ways to cut back, and power down my home.

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In the past, I have haphazardly went to the grocery store with a list of must buys (bread, milk), but didn’t take the time to check my inventory. It took throwing out $15 worth of canned goods recently to wake me up to the value of inventory.

If you work and raise a family, it is difficult to find the time to inventory your stock every week. Taking the time to at least organize your cabinets and check the dates of everything will keep you from making unneeded purchases. Why go out and buy crackers, if you have say 3 partially open boxes in your cabinet? Once organized, it will be easy to swing open the cabinets/pantry and see that no, you do not need to buy mac n’ cheese, but you could use some bullion cubes.

Inventory of your supplies also opens a world of possiblities for making your dollars stretch. If money is low and you only have a few cans of this or that, use online recipe sites (such as allrecipes.com) to find unique ways to use what you have.

Expanding your food repetoir is not the only value of inventoring your cupboard. Such inventory may open your eyes to what foods you can make from scratch cheeper than you can buy the prebought stuff. Who really prefers instant mashed potatos to fresh mashed potatos?