Thursday, 7 July 2011
Information is power
I have begun recording our gas and electricity meter readings again, on paper, once a week, in the hope that we will be able to set a realistic usage reduction goal. I have finally found a use for the 'set reminder' alarm function on my phone and now it beeps at me every Wednesday and tells me to read the meters. You can of course do this by looking at your bill statements - though if they are anything like ours, they probably appear to be deliberately complicated and misleading and it will be simpler to do it yourself.
Yesterday I moved our energy monitor from the dingy corner of the kitchen where it has sat virtually ignored for a year to a prominent spot on the living room mantelpiece. You don't actually need one of these gadgets to monitor your usage (I would never have bought one as they cost the best part of a weeks food budget) but if you can borrow one or get one free from your electricity company, it is a conspicuous reminder that you are using energy constantly - and therefore spending money constantly. I had great fun going around the house turning everything off at the wall, trying to get the reading down to zero (yep, that is fun to me). In a few weeks when it has become second nature to do so, we won't need it any more and will save the money (admittedly pennies) that it costs to run.
My thrifty instincts are in overdrive at the moment - I don't know if it is the drop in income (though bouts of thriftiness do not necessarily coincide with bouts of necessity), or that I desperately want to get started on saving up for my little house in Norfolk, or just my utter contempt for a system that thrives on parting me from my life energy in the form of earned money - but it is good to be on the wagon. Many people may think that studiously tracking consumption is a waste of their time, but personally I find that it keeps me on track and usually opens my eyes to something I have previously missed that may cut our expenditure further. It is the first step to recognizing where your energy and focus actually goes - as opposed to where you think it may go.