So today I noticed that my electric bill was a lot more than usual. Usually it's about $25 a month (haha, eat your heart out McMansion owners), but today it was $37. I wondered if it was maybe a projected use instead of actual with the electric company assuming that I would use more electricity in June than I actually did. When I called, the customer service rep told me that I did indeed use more electricity last month. While we were talking, he kept asking me questions about my lifestyle because he said my usage was SO low. This reminded me of a previous, less frugal time in my life when the gas company sent me a "notice of non-usage" saying they were going to turn off the gas because I basically never used it. The only gas appliance in the house was the stove, so you can imagine how much cooking/eating at home I was doing. I think I stored clothes in the oven for a while.
Anyway, this time it's not cause I'm always out and about or travelling that my electricity bills are so low. Granted, I work all day and am only home for about 3 waking hours a day, but when I am home, I try my best to conserve energy. When I leave I do as well, unplugging those appliances that create phantom energy.
I make other "green" lifestyle choices in my house and life, for a mixture of reasons, both wanting to be environmentally responsible and frugal. So, what kind of things?
1. I minimize use of paper products -- No paper napkins, plates, paper towels and my toilet paper is made from recycled paper, not trees. I also use a handkerchief instead of tissues, which is kinda gross, but I'm used to it now.
2. I make my own cleaning supplies -- For the most part. Or I use naturally occurring compounds that are cheap and green like Borax, baking soda, corn stratch and vinegar.
3. I reuse plastic -- Both bags from the grocery (when I don't bring my own canvas) and plastic containers that food comes in to carry my lunch to work everyday.
4. I eat low on the food chain -- Beans and veggies are the mainstay of my diet. Occasionally some chicken and some small fish. When I do use chicken or fish, I use it as an accompaniment and not the main ingredient.
5. I do my laundry in cold water, I don't use fabric softener or sheets and I make my own detergent (I have sensitive skin) and I only do full loads. (not that any laundry-doing occurs in my apartmen;t sadly I have to leave for that)
6. The biggest one is not owning a car. I walk to do all my errands, or I take the subway or bus. I rarely take cabs, both because I get car sick and because they are expensive and polluting.
I think that's about all I do. I've become so used to my lifestyle (not that I'm doing anything that dramatic) that I have to stop and think about the things I do to be green/frugal. I've gotten a lot of tips from other blogs on how to live green and be frugal. I'll post more when I find some.