Survival in the Garret—15 Energy Saving Tips for Frugal Students

Survival in the Garret—15 Energy Saving Tips for Frugal Students

Nobody wakes up in the morning deciding to use as much electricity as they can that day, but let’s face it, there are three main reasons why we overconsume to our own demise: laziness, ignorance, and status consciousness.

Your buds on the alternative side of the tracks can’t help you with your laziness, but they can pooh-pooh your status consciousness and help dispel your ignorance in an effort to help you get through university without a lot of debt.  Part of frugal living is, of course, limiting energy consumption.  You might have heard some of this advice from your mom, but you’ll no doubt find some of it a little “out there;” well, “out there” is our middle name.  Here’s today’s advice:

  1. When you use the oven prepare to cook several things at once to take advantage of the heat. Turn off the heat 5-10 minutes before the food is scheduled to be done cooking.  If it’s cold out leave the oven door open afterwards for extra heat.
  2. If you’re single consider getting a toaster oven to accommodate your smaller meals.
  3. When you need to reheat food or drinks, use the microwave instead of the stove. This cuts electricity use by up to half.
  4. Don’t leave water running when you brush your teeth, wash your hands, or shower, and when you wash be thorough but fast (save those long soaks in a hot tub for when you’re really stressed).
  5. Unless the water is bone-chillingly cold, wash and rinse your dishes in cold water. Hot water really provides no advantage for cleanliness except to remove grease, so just use it for that.  The same goes for clothes.
  6. Do you really need a dishwasher? They’re massive power-guzzlers, and there really is something to be said for getting people together to wash the dishes and tidy the kitchen together after a meal. Some of the best conversations happen that way.
  7. The clothes dryer is another power-hog. It also shortens the life of fabric, takes up space, and makes noise.  Granted, driers are great for removing wrinkles, lint, and animal hair from clothes, but if you need this feature consider hanging your clothes until they’re nearly dry, then finishing the drying process in the dryer.
  8. Putting on a sweater is always cheaper than turning up the thermostat.
  9. Try to get used to sleeping in an unheated bedroom, wearing warm jammies and piling up the duvets. If it’s not too cold out crack your window a little.  You’ll find you sleep better and feel sharper the next day.
  10. Turn down the heat and turn off the lights in uninhabitated rooms. If you’re gone all day leave the heat off. When you return just leave your coat on until the place warms up.
  11. Keep your freezer full to cut down on how much electricity is used to freeze the empty space. If it’s not full place bottles of water inside (this way you can also have ice water handy).
  12. Don’t wash your clothes just to wash them. If you’ve worn a clothing item and it’s still clean, hang it on a hanger to air out.  You can keep it fresh for future wearing by giving it a light spray with diluted alcohol or fragrance.
  13. If you have a vehicle look for excuses not to use it. Use public transportation, a bicycle, or your feet as much as possible.
  14. Make sure the car is a fuel-efficient model and maintain it well.
  15. Drive within the speed limit no matter what the schmucks around you are doing.

In addition to saving money another great thing about cutting energy consumption is that environmentalist mystique, that self-righteous superiority that alternative types love to cultivate.  So go ahead and brag to your friends about it.  The smugness’ll look good on ya.

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