## Our Electricity Bill is Atrocious! Part I : How Much Does a Light Bulb Cost?

04/22/2013

How Much Does a Light Bulb Cost?

## SCARY MATH for FRUGAL PEOPLE: PRICING YOUR POWER

I'm frugal. Last month's power bill was \$223 (see the proof here). This is scary. A great first step to lowering your electricity costs is to do a little math.
This graph shows our electricity consumption (in kilowatt hours) over the last month. Just to give you a comparison, our bill last month was higher than our August elecricity bill (which was combined with our water bill and city services at the time).

## How Much Do You Pay Per kWh?

Divide the amount of your electricity bill by the amount of kWh consumed.

For example, our bill was \$223.
Our total amount of kWh consumed was 2,854.
\$223 divided by 2,854 = 0.0781, or 7.8 cents per kWh

## Now for the fun stuff...

Let's figure out how much one light bulb really costs!

Most of our light bulbs are 60 watt. To find out how much each light bulb costs per hour, let's do the very scary math:

Instead of running my numbers per hour, I'm going to go by 24 hours - otherwise, these numbers would just be tiny and annoying :)

First, we'll multiply 60 watts by 24 hours to get the total amount of watts used.
60 watts x 24 hours = 1440 watts

Then, let's turn this into kilowatts by dividing by 1000.
1440 divided by 1000 = 1.44 kilowatts

Last, we can multiply our kilowatts by our cost per kWh.
1.44 x 7.82 = 11.26 cents per 24 hours

Each 60 watt light bulb we have costs 11.26 cents per 24 hours to operate. That means the cost per hour is less than half a cent. Hmm...that really doesn't sound so bad, does it?

## Here's how the numbers break down for us:

• IF we leave our 3 outside lights on 24 hours per day (which happens frequently), that's 34 cents per day or \$10.20 per month.
• IF we leave 4 light bulbs burning in our kitchen (the equivalent of one ceiling fan and the light above our sink) for 12 hours per day, that's 22.52 cents per day or \$6.76 per month.
• IF we leave both our ceiling fans on in the living room (just the lights) for 8 hours, that 30.02 cents per day or \$9.01 per month.
• IF we leave the master bath lights on for 4 hours, we're spending 15.01 cents per day or \$4.50 per month.
• Plus, if we leave our guest bathroom lights on for 6 hours, that's 11.26 cents per day and \$3.38 per month.
• If we leave our bedroom lights on and Emma's bedroom light on for 6 hours per day, that adds up to \$4.21 per month.

## The final number...

I don't really like numbers, unless they're about saving money (or cooking).

While the numbers above might not seem like much, that adds up to \$38 per month JUST FOR LIGHT BULBS!

That seems a bit excessive. What do you think? If you've done the math, how do your numbers add up?
Stay tuned for Part 2 : How Can I Save Money NOW?
- Heather -

## Our Electricity Bill is Atrocious! See the Proof...

04/20/2013

As many of you know, we recently bought a homestead in East Texas. We have about 13 acres with a barn, pole barn, water well and a beautiful 1700 sq foot home. We absolutely LOVE our new home! It's got everything we ever wanted in a homestead: lake access, plenty of room, beautiful scenery, a water well, a barn...it's a very special place, this place we've dreamed of!

It needs a little TLC, and we'll have ongoing projects for a while. Nothing huge, but plenty of things can be done to make our home more efficient.

We knew we'd be facing a higher power bill for a few reasons:

1) The house is 1700 sq feet and 20 years old.
2) There's no city water :) We have a water well - the electric pump uses quite a bit of electricity.
3) Our house needs caulking, weatherstripping and insulation. It's a pier-and-beam, meaning its foundation is elevated. The floors are always chilly because of this! Plus, the house was recently leveled, meaning we have a few cracks around the windows and doors that need to be sealed.

With this information in the backs of our minds, we opened our bill this month to find this:
YES...\$223.

Well, that wasn't fun.

So, in the upcoming two part series, I'm going to address a few things I've investigated that might help YOU save money on your power bill, too!

Stay tuned ;)
- Heather -

03/24/2013

If you have one of these....
then you've probably spent money on special pet urine cleaners.
Here's a super easy way to make a homemade pet urine cleaner with ingredients you probably already have on hand!

## Ingredients

Baking soda
Dishwashing liquid
Hydrogen peroxide
Paper towels
Water
White vinegar
Scrub brush / washcloth

## Instructions

1) Blot as much urine as possible with paper towels.
2) Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar. Pour over area until fabric has fully absorbed water and vinegar.
3) Let area dry. Sprinkle with at least 1/2 cup baking soda, or more for a larger area.
4) Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent with 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide. Test a small area of carpet by applying solution with scrubbrush or washcloth. Let it dry and then vacuum. If the carpet is not faded, repeat for entire affected area.

We live 30 minutes from town and we have 3 pets....Believe me, I'll be using this before I go buy something!

Live.Laugh.Love.
~Heather~

## What Can You Do With a Lemon? 5 Uses for Extra Lemons!

03/06/2013

Aside from cooking, lemons serve some interesting alternative purposes!

## 1. Odor Neutralizer

Lemons are used as an ingredient in a variety of cleaners for their great odor-reducing properties. If you have a smelly garbage disposal, sink, etc. - try adding a splash of lemon juice after cleaning for a fresh scent!

## 2. Household Cleaning Agent

Running low on your favorite cleaner? Save a trip to the store (and a few bucks) by using lemon juice to clean surfaces. Need to tackle sticky messes or even stains? Try adding a little vinegar and water for a stronger solvent! You can even use lemon juice to remove stains from clothes before washing.

## 3. Throat Soother

Sore throats can be eased with a cup of warm water and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add a spoon of honey for a sweeter remedy!

## 4. Keep the Ants Away

Having trouble with ants getting in the house? Squeeze a little lemon juice where they are coming in and this will keep them away.

## 5. Get Rid of Weeds

Try using a little lemon juice on those pesky weeds - it's a cheap, safe alternative to chemical sprays!

## Baked Salmon with Creamy Herb Sauce

02/26/2013

Typically, I use a lemon and soy based sauce for salmon. When I started to bake salmon last week, I realized we didn't have a lemon. This is what I came up with and it was a success!
This recipe is super easy and pretty quick. While your oven is preheating, rub the salmon with salt and pepper. Then, mix up your sauce. By the time you finish coating the salmon with sauce, your oven should be preheated.

Here are the ingredients for my
Baked Salmon with Creamy Herb Sauce
recipe:

-MAKES 4 SERVINGS-

1 pound salmon fillet
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used an olive oil infused mayo)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon oregano powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Here are the steps to creating this yummy dish!

Preheat oven at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Grease your baking dish. Glass or ceramic recommended.
Place salmon fillet in your baking dish. Dash with salt and pepper.

For the sauce:
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, low sodium soy sauce, dill, oregano and basil.
Bake, uncovered, for 18 minutes.
Remove salmon from oven.
Using a sharp knife and spatula, quarter the salmon fillet.
Tip: Use a very sharp non-serrated knife (salmon tends to be flaky and won't be too pretty if it's torn). Also, use the midline of the salmon as a guide when quartering.
Serve and enjoy!
Until next time,

## Zero Oven: A Few Ways to Cook Healthy Foods When the Oven is Broken

02/24/2013

We recently went without our stove for a few days. Here's a few tips for surviving this unthinkable catastrophe!

## 1. Take a deep breath and count to ten.

RELAX!!! You will get through this. As long as you have electricity, you still have plenty of options. If you don't have power, then you might want to scratch this and stick with step #6.

## 2. Microwave it.

I'm not talking about TV dinners here. Try frozen, steamable vegetables and microwaveable meats. Most of these meats WILL be processed, so beware...but they can help in a bind!

## 3. Toast it.

Pull out that toaster for toasted breads and bagels. You can also lightly toast your bread and then pop it in the microwave with cheese!

## 4. Use that electric grill!

Hey, no worries - even if it's been tucked away for a few years, it'll probably still work! You can use your countertop grill for meats, vegetables and breads!

## 5. Try an electric skillet.

An electric skillet can really help you out in times of need. These are fantastic for cooking anything you'd normally cook in a skillet, from scrambled eggs to ground meat!

## 6. Fire up the barbeque pit!

As long as weather permits, you can always cook out. Besides, can you really go wrong with barbeque?

## 7. Slow cook it!

Crank up your slow cooker with your favorites, like gumbo or slow cooked chicken and gravy!

Until next time,

## Confessions of a Bargain Shopper

02/20/2013

As you might know, I love saving money. Here are a few things about my coupon and money saving skills that might embarrass my hubby!

## 1. I refuse to pay full price.

There is NO sense in paying retail for anything and I refuse to pay full price on almost everything.

## 2. I will search the store until I find the deal I'm looking for.

If there was an awesome buy-one-get-one deal in this week's circular, then I intend on getting it! Sometimes I get to the store the day they're stocking this week's items and posting all the deals...I will wait. And wait. And wait. And save money!

## 3. I will buy healthy items for my family and still save money.

There is a common misconception that you can't save money on healthy foods. I save money every week on organic foods, natural foods and produce. I'll tell you a trick later - promise!

## 4. Even if it's on sale, horrifyingly unhealthy foods stay at the store.

I love to save money. LOVE IT. But if Oreos are on a 20-crate-for-2 cents sale, they aren't going home with me. My family will be very saddened to know this. Do not tell them. Bottom line, I try to stick with healthy foods!

## 5. I shop at multiple stores.

In order to get the best prices possible, I shop with at least two grocery stores per week. This helps me save at least 30% on our grocery bill. This makes me happy :)

## 6. All grocery shopping gets done on one day.

It saves gas and time if I just hop from store to store. Then, I go home and unload my bounty!

## I forgot something...

02/18/2013

Man...
Gotta love when you sit down to relax but *something* crosses your mind that you were *supposed* to do...

The move is going as good as can be expected! I'm trying to get our necessities moved before/around Thursday, with hopes of spending our first night in our new home by this weekend :)

I completely forgot to pick up a dolly today...

Oops.

Well, Caleb's not off work 'till Thursday, so I can theoretically get away with picking it up tomorrow.

I'm getting nervous ya'll...We'll be having satellite internet at the new residence.

As long as I can get online and do my work, I will be content. Of course, it would be SWEET to keep our Netflix capabilities :D

One can wish!
Until next time,
Live.Laugh.Love.

## It's a Good Day for Bean Bugs!

02/10/2013

Today was super rainy and dreary. My toddler wasn't really in the mood to be lazy and watch movies, much less snuggle up on the couch. She is far too curious and full of energy for that!

Instead, we found ourselves looking for a rainy day activity.

This is something I'd thought about doing in the past, but I held off because this project involves glue. I wasn't exactly ready to unleash glue unless Emma was able to control herself!

We found these cute little foam rectangles at the Dollar Tree. A big pack was just \$1, and you just can't beat that! We use them for flashcards and projects. They're nice and vivid, plus they're soft - the texture and color really hold Emma's attention.

I just dotted glue and let Emma put the beans in place. This seemed to really work well. Emma enjoyed this project and now we have some cute bean bugs for her artwork collection!

Of course, in the aftermath, there were beans everywhere. Hey, it's easy clean up!

So, the next time you find yourself looking for a rainy day activity (preferably if there are kids present LOL), keep the bean bug project on your radar :)

Live.Laugh.Love.

## Sick but home again :)

02/06/2013

It seems like we've all been sick since Emma went to daycare and I got a j-o-b. Emma's been non-stop sick with either a cough or runny nose, plus the occasional stomach upset. Caleb's had 3 stomach bugs and sinus yuck...and I've had colds, the flu and strep simultaneously, and now I'm finally recouping from the stomach flu...It's been rough!
Today is my first day at home again. I resigned from my clinic job yesterday. It just wasn't the right fit for me and my family. I'm super excited to be home!!!
We closed on our house on the 4th - yayyy!!!
Now it's time for moving! Lots of changes are coming, that's for sure :)
Until next time,
Live.Laugh.Love.

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