Record Temperatures Call for Resourcefulness

This summer has brought record breaking temperatures to much of the country. That’s no exception for Texas where, in Houston alone, we have topped 100 degrees more than a few times this summer – a record that hasn’t been broken since 1980. Although we’re quite used to the heat, these higher than average temperatures have brought higher than average energy bills along with them. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and high electricity bills coupled with a down economy has many resorting to clever ways to save money.

That’s exactly what my mother-in-law did when she received an electric bill for more than $500 last month. First anger set in, and then came the ingenuity and resourcefulness her mother had used in the 1940’s when clothes dryers, television and dishwashers weren’t commonplace appliances. My mother-in-law challenged herself to discontinue the use of the clothes dryer and the dishwasher and unplug any unused appliances for the month of August, just to see how much it would reduce her bill.

She strung up a clothesline in the back yard and hand washed dishes every night. She unplugged other appliances immediately after using it. We’ll see if her efforts pay off at the end of the month when she receives the electric bill.
Times are tough, and most can’t afford to upgrade appliances to newer, energy efficient models. My mother-in-law’s efforts aren’t new fangled ideas, by any means. However, her actions speak to a timeless question – is it time to revert back to the ideas of generations past where people were thrifty, where you didn’t spend more than you made and you made do with what you had?

Makes you think twice about putting that load of laundry in the dryer, doesn’t it?

Update as of August 25:
As a follow-up, my MIL’s experiment worked. Her electric bill went from a whopping $550 to a more reasonable $350. What actions have you taken to reduce your bills? Did it work?


Courtney Velek is a former marketing manager at MMI.

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