Monday, October 27, 2008

My Electric Bills Are Going Even Lower, Thanks to CFLs

Last month I wrote about CFLs making a huge difference in my electric bill. Back when the house was up for sale and my ex lived in the house, he put together a list of estimated costs for utilities. He estimated the electric to be $52.40 based on a 10 month average. Here's a breakdown of my electrical bills:

  • July - $47.22
  • August - $42.81
  • September - $31.16
  • October - $24.92
My October bill is less than half of what my ex was paying! Now, I can guarantee he uses a bit more electricity than me, and that would account for the $52.40 - $47.22 difference, but the big reason my bill is dropping like a (lovely, gorgeous) stone, is due to CFLs.

Here's another thing to keep in mind - as these months have progressed, it has gotten darker and darker. In July it is light when I get up until 9:00 at night. Now it is dark when I rise and dark when I go home. If anything, I am having the lights on longer than I did in July!

To me, this just means cash in the bank. I budgeted this year for the electric bill to be at $52.40 - which means, I saved $27.48. I don't have a good way to post that - I can't really add it to my sidebar there, but it does mean that I have that much less I need to raise. Savings is just as good to me if not better, in some ways than earning more income. After all, I never get taxed on money I save by spending less!

You know, when I first saw the chart on Milk Your Money's Tools I assumed there was no way I could have that significant of an impact on my own usage. His chart has 30 light bulbs on for 5 hours a day. That might be accurate for a family of four, but I don't use anywhere near that much. I am a big believer in turning off lights when you leave a room. What's more, now If I do leave a light on, say leaving the kitchen light on when I bring out the garbage, I make sure it is always the cfl light that is left on. I still have a few incandescent lights in each room and I like those a lot. But, I use them springily like I would an expensive bottle of truffle oil. My incandescents are used when I am sitting next to them reading, or sitting with a friend over a cup of tea, but for general purpose lights, the cfls are just fine. And, here I am with a huge savings. It has been absolutely worth it!

I'm not done yet, though! I added more CFLs this past weekend - put that's a story for another post.

Learn more about my CLF experiences:

Comparing CFL Light Bulbs to Incandescents

Systematically Replacing Light Bulbs with CFLs

Bright Effect CFL Bulbs for Vanities

CFLs Making a Huge Difference in My Electrical Bill

Light bulb photo by: km6xo

And here is the rest of it.


Amber C said...

We switched to CFL's a couple of months ago. Our electric bill is on equal pay so I'm not sure if our bill has gone down. I need to check on that.

Dawn said...

Hi Amber! I am not sure if Equal Pay is the same as our "Budget Plan" where you pay the same amount each month. If it is - I know what you mean, I have that same problem on my cottage electric bill, which is on that plan. Now that I have the house pretty much cfl-ed out, I am going to move onto the cottage, but I'll have to watch the kilowatt usage to see if there is any change.

Budgets are Sexy said...

How cool!!!! Good work :)

Dawn said...

Thanks J.! I get ridiculously excited when I open my electric bill now.

Lindsay said...

It's great that you are seeing noticeable results. I usually replace dead bulbs with eco-friendly light bulbs, but I have not tracked to see how much the the lower energy lights actually save me.

passivefamilyincome said...

Dawn - That is great! You have inspired me to go out and change every single light bulb in our home. We are waiting until the current bulbs burn out and then replace them with CFLs. I almost want them to burn out quicker!

Dawn said...

Lindsay - It would be fun to go back through bills and see if they have made a difference for you.

PFI - Most studies I read says it makes more sense financially to replace working incandescent bulbs with CFLs, than wait until they burn out. Personally I am donating all my working bulbs to a nonprofit that sells home improvement items to low income homeowners.

passivefamilyincome said...

Dawn - That is actually a very good idea! Thanks for the tip.

btw - I included your post in an eHow article I wrote this morning on my 25 ways to save money on utility bills. I thought it was a great example to use. Here is the link to the article - How to Save Money on Utility Bills

Dawn said...

PFI - Thanks so much! I am so pleased you included me!

That One Caveman said...

Holy cow! We've changed out nearly every bulb in our house, but haven't seen anywhere close to the savings you have. Our electric bill is usually somewhere between $75 to $150 per month (and peaking near $200 in the hottest month). I guess the difference is the computers and deep freezer I have running constantly.

Dawn said...

That One Caveman - well, I am one person rather than a family, so it makes it easy for me to monitor my electric usage. I am also the kind of person that unplugs everything when not in use - including my computer and television. I don't have a stand alone freezer either, so I am sure that is a part of it.

Halogenica said...

As lighting is usually less than 10 percent of a household's electricity bill, switching lamps and turning lights off cannot possibly save more than part of that percentage. Unless you drastically limit the use of other electric household items at the same time.

Dawn said...

Halogenica - Well, that is what I saw happen. My bills went from around $50 to around $25. At Christmas, when I had Christmas lights on it went back up to $45ish. There aren't a lot of other appliances that I can or have changed. All I have done is put in cfls and try to be careful about usage. Perhaps I am not a standard user, but I think most people can see a difference in their bills by making changes.

Halogenica said...

I guess lighting must be a bigger part of your electric bill than normal then. Or rather, that your overall bill is smaller than normal to start with due to not having a freezer and using an abundance of other electric gadgets or leaving them on needlessly.

May I recommend LED Christmas lights next time? They come in all colours including warm-white, and use only a fraction of what incandescent Christmas lights use (and no, I'm not selling them).

For general lighting I still prefer incandescent light as I find CFL light rather harsh and unpleasant, so I use halogen energy saver reflector lamps, don't turn on more lights than I absolutely need to see and, like you, I turn lights off when leaving the room. I've bought a neat remote switch with which I can turn off all lights in my kitchen with just one click.