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Monday, October 8, 2007

Dealing with the Heat

After a sweltering Summer, we are now dealing with continued heat on into October. It is again 90+ degrees today in Alabama, as it was all weekend. While many negative things happen because of the heat, there were some lessons I learned this Summer. Some deal with finances and others with just general living.

1. The electric bill will be high; budget accordingly. We don't keep our house particularly cool, but when the temperature is constantly at 90 or more (or over 100 often as it was this Summer), the electric bill is going to spiral upward. Don't let that kill your budget. In many places, you can pay the electric bill in equal installments each month (usually called something like "budget billing"), then pay the difference in December. If you really struggle with budgeting, this may be of some help.

2. Find way to shave pennies off that high electric bill. If you don't have ceiling fans in your house, you are missing out. They can really save quite a bit of money off the bill by continually circulating air. If you have an electric water heater, don't use as much hot water when the temperature is sweltering. Leave comments on some other ways to save on the electric bill in the heat.

3. Drink tap water. While this is always a big savings over bottled water, it is especially true when you are drinking gallons of water. I try to drink at least 3 large glasses of water each day (about 16 ounces each). However, I found myself drinking 4-6 each day this Summer, and I have been drinking quite a bit over the last few days as well. If you are truly worried that tap water is unhealthy, invest in a small filter. It will still be much, much cheaper than bottled water.

4. Drink other liquids. Water is good, but if you get dehydrated (or are "on the verge"), you need something more. Gatorade (or similar drinks) really has helped me in the past, including when I did get dehydrated in the Summer of 2006. Lemonade is also a good help.

5. Learn to work outside in short bursts. While efficiency and frugality always seem to go hand-in-hand, it is never more evident than when the quicksilver is shooting up. When the temperature was over 100, and I had to weed-eat, it was amazing how efficient I got! This can carry over into saving time in the yard while still doing a good job year round.

6. As if I needed to remind you, don't forget to take care of the kids. If they are stuck in a car seat (like mine are), don't just leave them in the car, even with the engine running. Get them out of the car and into a building with air-conditioning. It is better for them to be out in the sun and heat with some air moving than in a car with "still" air.

I hope these help you. It's supposed to start cooling off later this week, and I hope it does. But, when the heat begins to rise again, we can all use these tips to help save some money...and maybe our own lives!

4 comments:

Joey said...

Regarding electric bills, I've heard they can do the budget billing throughout the year, and then adjust the following year's monthly bill to include the difference, this would avoid a large payment altogether...

almcfaughn said...

Joey,

That's a good point. It really all depends on the local company. Some do it that way.

Where my parents live, they simply pay the difference in December. Usually, they pay at the higher end of a normal bill for the first 11 months, then have a very small December bill.

The main point is to check with the company.

Adam

JHDalton said...

Here with AR Entergy, our balanced billing is calculated by adding up the last 13 bills including the current bill, and dividing by 13. Then, the carryover balance (either positive or negative) is divided by 13 and added. This means you pay a very stable amount all the time, and the carryover balance doesn't get too large either.

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