Things have been tight for us lately, and I'm sure a lot of you can relate. People are still dealing with the recession, and that's caused a lot of changes in the way we all value our money.
We were already living with a pretty tight budget, and then we got hit with an increase on our car insurance, and major increases in our power bill, and water bill due to rate hikes. I did some comparing, and unfortunately we can't lower our car insurance much right now. Even though we're already at the lowest rate we can find right now it never hurts to get a few quotes, but all the quotes I've gotten from the other companies are actually higher than what we're paying. I was able to lower it a bit, though, by talking to our insurance agent to make sure there weren't any special discounts we were missing out on. We actually were missing out on one. We recently started a life insurance policy, and we get a 10% discount on our car insurance as well, so that will help a bit.
When it comes to the utilities our only option to control the costs is to make sure we're running as efficiently as we can, and not wasting. Hubby spent the weekend checking the house and doing some routine maintenance. He found a pipe with a slow drip under the house that he replaced, and he found 2 windows with bad seals. After replacing those we might not see a huge decrease in our bills, but every little bit helps.
I'm also trying to be more conscious of how we use things in our home. I'm constantly walking through the house turning off lights that were left on, and I discovered Hubby has not only been leaving the tv in the living room when he goes to bed at night, but he's been leaving his Playstation 3, our home theater system, and the living room lights on as well. I find myself shutting down his computer each night before bed, but he almost always goes to bed after me and wakes up before me. I had no idea he was leaving those things on at night, now I'm making it a point to make sure he turns them all off before retiring for the night. Every little bit helps, right?
I admit since having the baby I haven't been doing some of the things I used to do to conserve energy. This is the first summer since Hubby and I got married that I've primarily used my dryer. In the past I have always hung my clothes out to dry on nice summer days, but it's been hard to do that with the baby. The heat wave we've been having would be perfect for drying clothes, but it's impossible to drag her out in the heat for even a few minutes at a time. I talked to my Grandma, and since she's been wanting to keep Ellie more often through the week we worked out a deal. I'm going to save my laundry for the days she has Ellie, and I'm going to cut down on my dryer usage by taking advantage of that baby free time to hang my clothes out.
I've had many people over the years comment on the fact that I was line drying my clothes, and surprisingly most of the remarks have been negative. I was surprised by how many people were opposed to line drying for so many reasons. Those reasons include they think their clothes will be stiff, covered in pollen, and they think line drying is a hassle. I grew up with hanging out clothes and bringing them in from the line as one of my chores, so it's been a way of life more than an extra step I was taking to conserve energy.
My clothes have never come off the line stiff, and that's because I use fabric softener in my laundry (except for baby clothes) along with a bit of baking soda. I don't have any solutions for the pollen issue other than the fact that I don't hang my clothes out during those times that are really bad for pollen, but I don't think line drying is a hassle at all. Sure I've got to carry my clothes outside to hang them out, but I find it quite relaxing. I used to set aside one day each week as my laundry day, and I'd get everything done at once. As one load came out of the washer I would load another and head outside to hang out the first load. By the time I had the first load on the line the second would be ready to come out of the washer. I actually miss the way I used to do laundry because I enjoyed that time outside to myself so much, and I definitely miss the cash I was saving by doing so.