Dec 052011

It’s December and feels like winter is here. But one benefit of living in an apartment is that my unit is pretty much a box with 5 of its 6 sides touching either someone else’s unit, or the hallway. Which means I don’t have to turn on my baseboard heaters during Winter. This takes no work on my part, and it saves money. Here is a historic look at my energy bill, taken from my electricity provider’s website. (BC Hydro)

 hydro_bill_2011    My usage has been fairly consistent over the last couple of years. No spikes during winter months. By not turning on the heat, even in January, my utility bill year round is really predictable. Even though it’s currently 0° C (32° F) outside, it’s actually a cozy 20° C (68° F) inside. I have to wear more than a t-shirt, but clothes from my closet are free. I’m basically leeching off my neighbors’ electricity (which they pay for)  by absorbing some of their heat through the walls, ceiling, and floor, (but don’t tell them.) This is part of how I’m able to save and invest half my net income.

In the chart above, I used about $22 worth of energy back in Feb 2010. Since then rates have gone up, and BC Hydro wants to further raise electricity rates by 16% over the next 3 years! Inflation can be a pain. But I’d rather save some money now so I can afford a warmer place in the future when I have kids, since utility bills might be twice as expensive by then. Plus, saving energy is better for the environment. Think of all the beavers and polar bears.

*This probably wont work if you’re living with other people.
*Helps if you’re a Canadian. We’re use to cold weather. 
*Won’t work if you live in a house because all sides of a detached home are fully exposed to the cold (brrr)

Estimated Annual Savings by never turning on the heat:$100 (depending on size/location of home)

Sep 272011

Here is another tip I use to save money by actually doing less work. 

People do laundry because our clothes get dirty. And the only reason they get dirty or sweaty is because we wear them. So the less they are worn the less they have to be washed. If you are like me and only spend about 10 hrs a day outside your home, and 7 hrs in bed, then consider spending the remaining 7 hrs you’re at home, in your undergarments only. 

By limiting the time you are dressed to only the necessary 10 hrs a day where society can see you, you can cut your clothing exposure by 7 hrs a day, and limit the opportunity (10 hrs instead of 17) for your clothes to get dirty/smelly/oily. Therefore, you can reduce the frequency of doing your laundry by more than 40%

Criteria: You must either live by yourself, like me, or live with people who don’t mind you walking around in your underpants (parents, boyfriend, etc.) In Vancouver, even though it’s almost October my room temperature is still in the mid 20s, and I don’t yet have the heat turned on. If you don’t live in an apartment or otherwise warm surrounding, consider doing this for the summer months only, if temperature permits.

Estimated annual time saved on doing laundry? 6 Hours

Estimated annual savings? $36

*Additional benefits: Making our world a greener place. Your clothes won’t wear or fade as quickly. And if you like to hang your clothes up to dry, this is a huge time saver.

Feb 112011

Here is one way I like to save money without doing any extra work. This may not be suitable for everyone depending on their views towards personal hygiene. Like a lot of people, I like to wash my hands after I’ve been out for most of the day. So after a meal at home, usually dinner, I leave the dirty dishes in the sink. When I come home from work the next day I wash those dishes right away. When the dishes are clean, so are my hands. So I don’t have to then go use the washroom sink to wash my hands separately with hand soap.

Estimated annual time saved on hand washing? 2.5 Hours
Estimated annual savings on hand soap? $3.00
Not much, but the money will add up over the years if you invest it and take advantage of compounding growth.