My dear hubby has become increasingly budget conscious over the past two years as he has transitioned from nine-to-five-JOB through unemployment to house hubby. Sustaining our household on one income is a challenge but we're up for it—we have learned to do more with less and been happier for it. Have you heard the comedian Bill Engvall’s joke about his family and their electronic’s addiction? He describes himself standing outside their home watching the electric meter spin out of control and yelling at the top of his lungs, “Turn something OFF you people are killin’ me!” That’s my hubby 😉

We have solar panels, we hang our laundry on a clothesline to sun dry (smells scrumptious!), we use compact florescent light bulbs, and we used fans instead of air-conditioning until late May! Still, our electric bill is one of our biggest costs. One of Jeff’s favorite gadgets is a tool called a Kill-a-WATT an electric usage meter. Here’s the layman’s explanation: you plug it into an outlet in and plug an appliance into it and press W for watts and it tells you how many watts the appliance uses. He’s geekily impressed by this tool. And it is cool. A fan might use 75 watts where a window unit air-conditioner might use 300-500 watts. But imagine this: our coffee brewer uses 900 watts whether it’s brewing coffee or keeping the urn warm.  This is equal to sixty-five compact florescent bulbs!  We still make coffee but we don’t leave it on after it’s made. Who knew?


Some of the fancier models will even project energy costs and show you used energy costs.  We also discovered that some electronics like our DVD player and TV still draw electricity even when turned off so they are now plugged into a strip that we turn off when not in use. Our little thirty buck investment has paid for itself several times over and been an illuminating experience.