Sunday, January 22, 2012

Frugal January

I've found 2 fool proof ways to lower our bills, and in January, with the holidays just over, there couldn't be a better time.

Firstly, I've misplaced my AmEx. No need to go into a panic, my identity is not about to get stolen and nobody is having a $100 shopping spree at Kohls on me. 
Although I'm organized, I am constantly misplacing my credit cards, keys, and iPhone.  Pretty much just those 3 things but repeatedly.  I stick them in a pocket* or purse or coat or book or pantry and then can't find them.  In this case, I called "New Jersey" and ordered a replacement part for my really nice but very dusty pressure cooker because I want to save money and the environment by making my own beans instead of buying them canned.  That is the last purchase.  For nearly 3
weeks, I've been without an AmEx.  I do have a debit card which I've been using for grocery store essentials but I love my AmEx.  We don't keep a balance so we use it for everything, gain the 1-3% back, and then get a nice little cash bonus once a year.  Misplacing my AmEx, could quite possibly be one of the best things that I've ever done for our cash-flow.  I'm not a big spender and I have TONS of buyers remorse, even over sensible necessities, but it is amazing how little I've been able to get by on when I have my relatively cheap discerning DH by my side for every little tiny purchase. 

Secondly, our heat is broken AGAIN.  Our furnace breaks every winter and our A/C breaks every summer.  With global warming in full effect, we have rarely turned on the furnace at all this winter.  We just use the gas fireplace (really I just like the ambiance) and then a space heater.  The other day when it was a windchill of -2, the furnace kicked on; it smelled really funny and had a strange humming sound.  I chose to spray some Febreeze and turn up the TV.  It isn't like the thing is ever quiet and it is always smells a little funky.  After all, the furnace is original with the house (60 years old) and as my DH says, "It is basically like a couple of cavemen rubbing sticks together down there." 

Back to the story, on Friday we got those 6-8" of snow, and my normally annoying 45 minute drive home from work with no traffic was almost 3 hours.  I left at 1:38 and got home just before 4:30 to a house that was 55 degrees**.   I can't bear to pay overtime right now for the furnace repair guy (and I like him so I'd rather he spent time with his family on the weekend), so currently, I am bundled up in an old college hoody with a space heater at my feet.  George (our HVAC guy who reminds me of my dad and who is faithfully nursing this poor old furnace in its last days) is scheduled to come Monday morning, yes, that is 3 days and nights with only the love of my man to keep me warm.  I know, I'm a very lucky woman.

In conclusion, although slightly unorthodox, this is a tremendously effective way to save money.  I highly recommend it to everyone.  Especially conserving natural gas with this no heat in January thing. 

*or I leave my keys hanging in the front door.  That was the worst, especially when we lived in an apartment and I'd wake up in the morning looking all over for my keys only to see that they were still in the lock, on the outside of the door, all night.

**I asked my warm-blooded kids if they were freezing and they both said that they hadn't noticed, but that is a blog for another day.

***DISCLAIMER - The lack of heat has made me (and my turtle) super unmotivated.  I've spent the entire day reading a book and wasting time on Pinterest and Words with Friends.

My artistic DF Kristina captured the top left and bottom right collage pictures.  She is so smart and talented and I LOVE that she has this lovely vagabond life without responsibility. 

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