The Electric Bill That Ate My Budget

Remember how excited you were when you moved into your first house? Everything is new and exciting. How are you going to lay it out? Isn’t it great to have more space?  What memories will you make?

Then, there was the inevitable first repair. After an exhaustive search, you find the right plumber, electrician, or handyman to fix the blemish on what has become your home.  Between the time the repairman comes and he gives you the estimate, you pray – “please don’t let it be a big expense, please don’t let it be a big expense, please don’t let it be a big expense.” Then you get the estimate and either you are left relieved or muttering.

Either way, residential innocence has been lost. You now know that the house is not only a place to raise your family, have bbq’s with friends, and watch Modern Family in but is also a place that can drain all your money. Yes knowledge is power, but it can also cause fear.

Well, I am over my residential fear. Sort of, kind of. Actually, the fear is now way back in my mind and no longer overwhelming.

Unfortunately something else has taken its place.

It’s been hot in my part of the world (and many others from what I have noticed). Really hot. Hot like take off all your clothes and still hot, hot like I see the lawn browning before my eyes hot, hot like please don’t make me go out there hot.

Now, empty houses have their noises. There is the hum of the refrigerator, the ticking of a clock, the rattle of a window. And depending on the season, there are the sounds of the air conditioning or heating system.

When the central air kicks in at my house, it sounds like a gentle blowing. It is quite pleasant and those of us who are in the house are made to feel comfortable. It’s actually a beautiful thing. Very fortuitous that we live in the times of air conditioning – wouldn’t you say?

These days my air conditioner is running practically non-stop. And the noise no longer sounds like a gentle blowing. No, no, no. It sounds like Darth Vader’s harsh breathing. It sounds like a powerful vacuum cleaner sucking up everything in its path.

Image courtesy of Flicker

Image courtesy of Flicker

One of those things it is sucking up is my budget. Each Darth Vader-like breath of the central air leaves me ever more fearful of the electricity bill.  Will the massive bill forced my family and I to go on a pasta-only diet for the rest of the month?

I am going to extreme measures to combat this. I walk around my house looking for electricity to turn off like a traffic cop handing out tickets in New York City. Every light, television, and computer is turned off immediately as I silently (or not so silently) curse the family member who is guilty of this horrendous offense.

The beast that is eating my budget!

The beast that is eating my budget!

I sit and wait for the heat wave to pass and for the next PSE&G bill to arrive. I won’t underestimate the power of the dark side. May the force be with me.

P.S. Please, does anyone have any reasonable electricity saving ideas?

30 thoughts on “The Electric Bill That Ate My Budget

  1. hahahahaha – I’m right there with you! I tend to become obsessed with checking my energy dashboard and as I watch the usage climb, I really become CDO about turning things off. I have surge protectors behind all of the TV’s that will get turned off so that even the tiniest bit of power doesn’t get through (the little lights on the TV and cable box are all draining energy whilst I sleep and that is unacceptable!!) I also have a big tendency to go change the temp on the thermostat to kick the AC off! Last night it was running at 78 and T was under a blanket… so I kicked it up to 80! Which seems hot, but it is still 20 dg cooler than the outside, so it is a big difference to us!

    Sometimes I stand in the middle of the living room and just listen… T knows that is a sign he left something on in the back of the house that I can hear and he has to go turn off!

    anyway, I support you shutting everything off! I do the same thing!

    • I think an energy dashboard would not be good for my health. I would go crazy checking it.
      80 degrees – wow, I thought I set mine high at 75.
      Thanks for your support. It sounds like we are on the same page in this area.

  2. Love it!! Darth Vadar is perfect! I feel the same way about the heat in the winter. We get so few weeks where we aren’t dependent on either the A/C or the furnace. It’s like a sith lord lurking in our basement chuckling his evil laugh as we become more dependent on his weather controlling machines. The dark side is alive and well in the Madhouse.

  3. ha!ha! Darth Vader! yeah, ours has been running non-stop either, the house is cold now, but ouch! the electric bill will be too high
    Hubby is the one who keeps on eye on our consumption, I admit, I don’t but I try to listen to what hubby has to say about it! 🙂 I also have to admit that we need people like you and hubby to keep an eye on this & I also agree with you about how exciting it could be when buying the first house and then the expenses start …
    we are dealing with a couple of issues over here (bathroom, basement), they will have to wait until we save up some more! 🙂

    • I am glad you listen to hubby. I feel like the bad guy here when I remind people about turning things off.
      I hope your home expenses don’t turn out to be prohibitive.

  4. I’ll trade all y’all’s electric bill for mine right now!! I know they’re lower than mine – they just HAVE to be!

    Yes….”all y’all’s” is a word – don’t look at me like that Mister English Teacher! Just come down here to Texas and tell us it ain’t!
    😛

    • Calm down and drop the chip Ms. Texas. It’s not my fault everyone is hot under the collar. And who the heck told you to live in Texas? And another thing, what’s your heating billing in January – way less than mine I’m guessing. So you need to back off!
      Oh and have a great weekend.

      • LOL!! I was teasing! My heating bill in January is all of $150….so I definitely don’t envy you that bill!

        I hope you have a great weekend too!

  5. I don’t have any good ideas, but your thoughts did make me turn off the TV that was on with no one watching. And I think I might turn off the lights and type here in the dark. Our air is running non-stop too, but hopefully tomorrow will be the last day. I hate sleeping with the windows closed in the summer!

    But I am thankful for the air conditioning, let me be clear!

    Gotta go turn off some more lights now.

    • Well, I am glad I could help. Those extra few bucks might allow you to get take out and avoid the hated kitchen.

  6. Larry, this is sooooo good! The Darth Vader connection really grabbed me! Your writing is on fire (no connection to the heat wave!). And you’ve just given me an idea for a similar post. Thanks for that! I’m in denial over our power usage these last two weeks. When the bill comes, maybe I’ll have one of my kids pay it online without telling me the amount. I like denial.

    • Very glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for the compliment. Very cool – pun intended.
      I am happy it inspired a post. Now, you better refer to this blog and give a link.
      I’d be weary to give my kids any payment info. They may be young but they are becoming consumers.

  7. It is so hot and humid here right now too! It was so much easier dealing with the 113 degree temperatures in New Mexico than the 100% humidity in Wisconsin! We have lived in our house for 8 years without central air. We finally broke down and bought 2 window air conditioners (one for the living room and one for our bedroom upstairs) 2 years ago. For the most part I never turn them on because I can not stand the loud noise they make but they have been on almost steady for the past 2 days!

    • Are you telling me you did not have ac till 2 years ago? Wow! Is it usually cool where you are?
      Generally, the ac here is quiet and the noise I hear now is probably more of my own fears.
      113 – wow, that’s intense.

      • That’s right! Not until 2 years ago! We’re tough! That and the fact that it doesn’t get too bad here besides July and August and then it’s only a few days here and there. We finally broke down and bought it those because those few days are completely miserable without it!

  8. The A/C is cooler than the heat is in winter! Boy is that bill expensive in my house. But I agree. I hope it cools off soon.

    • Believe me, I don’t look forward to that heating bill in February either. I remember our first winter in our house and there was a heating bill that sent me into shock.

  9. Hopefully this heat wave will end in a few days! I will now be thinking of the A/C noise as Darth Vader….

    We have very good insulation in our house so we don’t have to put the a/c very low in order to get the house cool (great in the winter for the heating bill too). It was a tad expensive at first but has more than paid its way in a short time.

    In the meantime, lots of ice cream and running through the sprinklers!

    • Ice cream and sprinklers sounds like a good solution to me.
      We actually had something put in our addict a couple years back that has helped in the winters but I don’t remember it having much affect on the summer bills.

  10. Really great post, Larry. I recommend turning air up as warm as you can stand it and then turning on ceiling fans. I just saw a tip to make sure that it’s going counterclockwise in the summer. Oh, and iced tea.

    Your bill couldn’t be worse than heating in the winter. For a year or so I was managing my mom’s affairs while she was sick. She wasn’t in her house but we had to keep it warm enough so that the pipes wouldn’t freeze. My jaw dropped every time I opened a gas bill. And then one time her realtor called to tell me that she had found a door on her upper balcony had blown open. In January! I don’t know how people don’t go bankrupt every winter.

    • Glad you liked the post – thanks.
      The heating bill in Feb. is not a pleasant site either – for sure! Please don’t remind me.
      Does that turning air up deal really work? Sounds odd.
      I HATE ICED TEA!!!!

  11. Electricty bills scare me as well, especially since my husband installed air conditioning in our conservatory. I always switched everything off at the socket when I’m not using it. Why should I pay for my oven to tell me the time when I already pay my clock to do that? And the useless little light on the t.v. is certainly not worth paying for. And energy saving lightbulbs of course 🙂

    Might be worth checking your tarriff, sometimes night time usage is cheaper. Could be useful for things like washing machines and dishwashers.

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