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We got our electric bill today.  I was very hesitant to open it…  we’ve had the AC in our bedroom turned on almost every night this month.  It’s been really muggy in Pennsylvania, with no relief from the heat and humidity at night.

We got a great surprise: The bill was only $4 higher than last month.  We used an average of 17 KWH per day, up from 15-16 KWH per day. I can live with that.

We have been making a real effort to reduce our energy consumption, and it’s starting to pay off.  We’ve been making one small change a month to see how it affects the electricity bill.

Yes, we used the AC for about 8 hours each day.  But we set the AC to 72 degrees, which was just cool enough to let us sleep. Cost this month: +$4

We’ve also started hanging our clothes up in the basement.  I still machine dry socks and underwear, mainly because my time is more valuable than hanging and matching a few dozen socks.  But we’ve been line drying jeans, towels, sheets and t-shirts.  Savings: $5

We’ve also been using the grill, which cuts out the electric oven and stove. We don’t have central air, but it sure is nice to not heat up the entire house with dinner. Unknown savings, but a nice, cool house.

Finally, we made one simple, silly change to our routine: We turned off the heated dry cycle on the dishwasher. I didn’t even realize this was an option when we moved in last year, because this is my first dishwasher. Duh!  We do the dishes every 2-3 days, so a family that runs the dishwasher more often could save even more. Savings: $10 per month.

We’ve now trimmed our electricity bill from $75-80 per month to $55-60. In my book, that $15-20 savings is well worth the minimal effort. We’re saving money and the planet at the same time!  I’ll admit that I no longer snowflake these savings – I just budget the $60 now, and have an extra $20 to put towards our retirement funds.

Other things we’ve tried, which made a much smaller difference: Switching to CFL bulbs, unplugging the TV and VCR when not in use (we don’t have cable, use them only for movies), and turning off the computer most nights. Together, these three changes may have saved us a dollar or two…  but these things do add up.

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