Most people who are budget conscious and living a frugal lifestyle tend to place an emphasis on the amount of money they can save by carefully watching how much electricity they consume. The less energy used the less you end up paying on your electricity bill – it makes perfect sense right?
What would you think if I told you that this isn’t always the case?
My husband and I have been extremely cautious about using too much electricity in the past and did everything possible to avoid running our bill up too high. We even followed the power company’s time of day guidelines and tried to save money by consuming electricity mostly during off-peak hours. No matter how conservative we tried to be with our usage there seemed to be no change in the cost of our electricity bill month after month. The cost would fluctuate and was never predictable even if we only used a small amount each month. My husband would continually ask me why the power bill was so high and assumed I was using a huge amount of energy during peak hours while he was away at work.
Did he think my son and I were running some kind of day time baby dance club light show with the bass pumping or something?
No, I certainly wasn’t running some energy sucking baby dance club. I was just as frustrated and confused as my husband as to why we couldn't lower our electricity bill.
What caused our electricity bill to be so high?
We did some digging and learned why it seemed we had no control over our electricity bill. We rent an apartment in a condo building and each of the tenants have their individual electricity bills for each unit, but it turns out that the entire building we live in has only five energy meters! Each unit in our building is paying a calculated average of the consumption recorded from the five energy meters!
That means that all of our previous efforts trying to save money by reducing our consumption were completely wasted and pointless! We are literally paying for someone else’s power since we consume so little! We're paying the same amount as a unit that consumes much more than us. It's frustrating and it doesn't feel fair but we have to make the best of the situation until we're ready to move elsewhere.
After learning this, there are some changes in our home which have made life much easier. Since we basically have no control over our bill we’re going to get our money’s worth for what we’re paying.
- I no longer wait until 7pm twice a week to do laundry. This saves up some of my free time and prevents me from having to do it all in one shot. I can do our laundry whenever I need to and when it’s most convenient!
- I can run the dish washer whenever I need to rather than waiting until non-peak hours to turn it on. I don’t have to worry about a huge pile of dishes waiting in the sink after I’ve done a day of LOTS of cooking.
- I can turn my my heater or air conditioner to a comfortable level without worrying about the cost.
- I don’t have to sit in the dark trying to save money! lol
In our home we use the electricity we need and when we need it. I understand that in this day and age it’s important to conserve the energy we use for environmental reasons so I definitely don’t just go nuts and use crazy amount of power. Rather than worrying about the cost we just use what we need and when we need it. The dishwasher is full before running and the washing machine is set according to how much needs to be washed, etc.
Here’s the moral of the story.
Before attempting to save money on electricity it’s important to make sure you are 100% certain about how your electricity bill is calculated. If you live in a detached home, in all probability your energy consumption is actually just yours. If you live in a multi-unit building check with the owner or property management.
On another note – from this experience I’ve come to realize that sometimes convenience is more valuable than the amount of effort one can put into trying to save just a couple bucks here and there.
Have you been in a situation before where you tried to do something frugally but it just wasn't working?
I love to hear from my readers so please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below! 🙂