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Go green and save on your water bill

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BF and I have been in our new apartment just over two months and I’m still learning about how to save money on hydro without taking cold showers and living in the dark.  This is the first time in 34 years we’ve had to pay hydro; not only are we learning how to fit this variable payment into our monthly budget but we’re also learning to be more conscious about how much energy we consume.

We already received our first hydro bill.  It was $65 from October 1 to 16.  We moved in Oct 1 and I guess the cut off is mid month so that’s why we already received a bill.  This means our hydro bill, which includes electricity and hot water, should be around $130 each month.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad but it seems like a lot since we haven’t even turned on our heat yet for the winter or our air conditioning for the summer.  Does that sound reasonable for an 1100 sq. ft. apartment?

4 ways we are trying to cut down our water bill:

Turn off the water.  I know this seems like common sense but it’s not as easy as it sounds.  I never noticed how much water I used to waste because I never had to pay attention to it.  I would turn on the shower and let the water run for a few minutes until it was hot and I am notorious for leaving the water running while I brush my teeth.  Let me tell you that all this has stopped, but old habits are hard to break.  I’m also trying not leave the water running while I’m cleaning because not only is it a waste of useful resources, it’s also letting money run down the drain – literally.

Make sure your appliances are full.  For six years we had to wash dishes by hand so having a brand new dishwasher is amazing, however it’s also a very expensive luxury.   We would love to run the dishwasher whenever we needed to use a dirty dish, but that’s just not smart.  BF and I tend to always eat the same things which means we always use the same dishes and cookware, but we don’t want to run our dishwasher until it’s absolutely full.  This means we still end up washing some dishes by hand but it’s better than wasting water and our money.

Wash in cold water.   This is probably the best money saver tip I can give.  Cold water is free so if you run the dishwasher and laundry machine on cold water it only costs electricity not electricity AND hot water.  That’s a great money saving tip.  Of course it doesn’t mean we should all start doing a load of laundry every time we need one pair of socks cleaned because that would be a waste.  Just be cautious with your water temperatures because it could save you a lot of money.  It also saves water because if you’re washing dishes by hand no one wants to linger their body parts in cold water.  I for one always wash faster when the water is cold.

How do you save money on your water bill?

Photo from Flickr

MOVING

6 things I learned from moving

MOVINGIt’s been almost two months since BF and I moved into our new apartment and for some reason I still don’t feel 100% comfortable in our new place.  How long should it take before the new place feels like ours?   Every morning I get up and walk my new route to work.  Every night I come home and enjoy our new space, but for some reason it still doesn’t seem real.  I think it’s because we lived on so little for so long that this big new modern apartment just seems so good to be true.

Moving was definitely an experience for me – in a good way.  The last time we moved was six years ago and it was a complete nightmare.  Two of the movers got into a fight in the middle of the day and one of them left, then they held our TV hostage until we paid the bill in full.  Total Nightmare.

This time our move was very smooth (sorry for the rhyming)  and it was more of a personal growth experience than anything else.  Does that sound weird?  Yes even though I’m 34 years old I learned a lot about myself over the last 30 days.

1. I’m a mini hoarder.  We have a lot of stuff.  For two people who lived in under 600 sq ft we have A LOT of stuff.  I went back to U-Haul twice to buy more boxes because we kept running out.

2. I’m in a good relationship.  Stressful times really test your relationship and packing up your entire life into boxes is stressful.  There’s a lot of logistics that go into moving and trying to coordinate everything can be very stressful.  BF and I got through it as a team and that’s a good feeling.

3. I’m kind of lazy.  When I tell you that I didn’t want to do anything during this move it’s true.  BF kept trying to motivate me to work but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I even wanted to hire people to pack our boxes, but he convinced me that would be a waste of money.

4. We can live with just the essentials.  I donated and threw out a lot of stuff.  We’re talking bags of clothes and boxes of things I haven’t seen or used in years.  Why I ever had so many things is beyond me but my rule for moving was if I didn’t use it in the last six months then I don’t need it.

5. I don’t hate change as much as I thought I did.  I like having a routine, it’s comforting and it keeps me calm.  Moving into a new apartment in a neighborhood we’ve never lived in and barely ever visited was giving me panic attacks.  However now that we’re here my anxiety has calmed down and I’m actually starting to sleep better at night – without pills.

6. I’m not 22 anymore.  Last month I turned 34 years old and my age has really started to show – especially when it comes to labour intensive work.  We started moving at 10 am, we finished by 5 pm and I was exhausted…and we had movers!  It’s not like BF and I actually did much work other than watch the moving truck to make sure nothing got stolen and directing the movers where to put boxes in the new place, yet I was very tired.  I think I passed out cold by 9 pm.   When I was 22 I had two jobs and went out with friends four days a week, now I can’t even stay awake until 9 pm – YIKES!

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How I’m dealing with change

IMG_1162I will be the first to admit I hate change.  Over the last two months a lot has changed in my life: BF and I moved to a new apartment in a new neighbourhood that we’ve never lived in and my company announced it’s being sold to a competitor.  That’s a lot of change.

PS that’s a pic of me relaxing on an airplane.  I haven’t been doing much relaxing lately, but as we get settled hopefully that will change (pun intended). 

I’ve been dealing with the news OK and by OK I mean I’ve only had two emotional breakdowns in the last two months.  As I get settled into my new life one of the things I learned was that I don’t hate change as much as I thought I did.  This surprised me more than anyone because usually just the thought of something changing makes me sick to my stomach.

To my surprise (and to the surprise of BF and my mother) I am adjusting quite well to our new living situation.  I’m not exactly sure what’s makes me so adverse to change but something as simple as a last minute meeting being called at work can send me into a frenzy.  It’s always made me feel uncomfortable because other people around me seem to go with the flow and I can’t do that.  If you’ve ever met me in person or seen me at a conference you know this is true.  My entire trip is planned before I even begin to pack my suitcase.

After I wrote Monday’s post I received an email from a reader (let’s call her Sam) who told me she’s been trying to adapt well to change her entire life.  It turns out that a lot of people out there don’t like change just as much as me, but why?  Is it because we are set in our ways? Or maybe it’s because we like things the way they are.

4 ways I’m adapting to all the changes in my life:

Make a list.  I am famous for my lists.  I have an agenda at home and at the office as well as countless other notebooks where I write down everything in my life.  From potential shopping lists for my next vacation to all the things I need to do tomorrow – I always make a list.

Realize I can’t do everything in one day.  This is probably the biggest challenge I have with change.  When change happens I just want it all to be done so I can get settled into my new routine, but it takes time for me to be comfortable.  I can’t unpack all my boxes in one day just like I can’t learn an entire new system at work in one day either.

Try to keep as much similarity as I can.  Let’s take my move as an example.  Even though I take a new route to walk to work in the morning I make sure to always stop at the same coffee shop to buy my morning breakfast bagel.  It’s a different location but knowing that I have a similarity in my morning routine despite all the recent changes makes me feel as if everything didn’t change.

Keep a common factor in all of my days.  This is going to sound completely weird but I am extremely uncomfortable in new situations and surroundings.  I feel awkward and usually avoid them at all costs.  Whenever I have to go to an unfamiliar setting – like my Dad’s cousins wedding – I bring my own drinks.  I like iced tea and bringing my own is kind of like my security blanket.  Even though I’m still uncomfortable and extremely awkward it gives me a sense of calm in an extremely panicked atmosphere.