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Power Trip

I’m turning into my mother.

Fortunately, my mom is super cool so that’s actually not a bad thing. But I didn’t think it was so great when I was younger – and smarter and cooler and, like, totally knew everything.

save energy!I remember her always harping on me and my friends to turn the lights off when we left a room. Unbeknownst to me, we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but I enjoyed my life and my parents always made us feel like we were rich – so I REALLY hated when mom would “act poor”. I mean, my friends’ parents didn’t seem to care whether we left the lights on in every room of their house or left the TV and radio on all day or stood in front of an open fridge for 10 minutes deciding what kind of juice box we wanted. And it was soooo embarrassing to have friends come round the house because mom kept the thermostat at 65 in the winter and 80 in the summer to save on heating and air-conditioning. Honestly, is this not some kind of child abuse??

I couldn’t wait to get out and live on my own. My first apartment was FABULOUS. I loved that I could do whatever I wanted – I could leave the lights on all day so I could come home from a hard day’s work to a bright, happy space. I could leave the radio on all night for soothing music to lullaby me to sleep. And the best part was that I could crank the heat and wear tank tops and booty shorts in the dead of winter, or turn it into an A/C igloo so I could cuddle up under my fluffy down comforter in the height of summer…well all that was great until I got my first utility bill for $387.52!!! More than twice what mom paid, and for an apartment that was 1/5 the size of our house. Suddenly when it was my money on the line, putting on a sweater and turning off the lights didn’t seem terribly inconvenient anymore.

Now I have an apartment that’s three times bigger and my electric bill is still less than $50/month. How?

  1. I turn the lights off when I leave a room and use dimmers or candles every chance I get – it’s a great way to set a mood for company or just to create a quiet space for some much needed downtime.
  2. I don’t leave the TV or radio on unless I’m consciously watching or listening. If I want company, I phone a friend.
  3. I plug TV’s, DVD players, computers, etc into power strips and turn the power strips on/off when I use them.
  4. I only wash full loads of dishes and laundry and air-dry dishes unless I’m doing a massive after-party clean-up.
  5. And alas, I now keep the thermostat at 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer.

Sure it takes a little extra thought, but not really much extra effort. And personally, I can think of a LOT of way better things to spend that extra $337.52 on every month. Thanks Mom! Barney’s anyone?


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