Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Penny Pincher

"She's so frugal, her pennies will forever show her thumb and finger prints." My family didn't make up the phrase, but did oft apply it to me. I thought economy long before I thought green.

About five years ago, I read the Tightwad Gazette and Cheapskate Monthly issue for issue. I was fascinated with tips such as recycling paper coffee filters and even tried it with success. I calculated the cost of everything I did, but mostly purchases of consumer goods. I was on a mission and completely blissful.

These thoughts (d)evolved leaving me now lost in figures relating to my water, gas, and electrical use. I read my bills; I've figured my meters; and I compare month to month behavior. As Jesse points out, it's still about money. For example, I knew we had a gas leak in our water heater, but lived with it until the gas company hiked their rate by 30%. Nevermind how it may have impacted the health and safety of my family.

One of the largest energy users for residential domiciles is the refrigerator. Last week, I pulled mine back from the wall and saw a huge wad of Boris hair mucking things up. Being a good housekeeper, I swept it up, but didn't think much of it except that it satisfied my fear that someone might someday want to look behind my refrigerator. I mean I knew, but I didn't really think about it. But guess what! Cleaning refrigerator coils makes a HUGE impact on energy use and there is a right way to do it.

I guess I'm not all that green. At my core I just don't like waste but do like manipulating the numbers. I do it while driving too. If I'm headed to Oklahoma at 80 mph and it's 1000 miles away and I'm held up by icy road conditions, how long before I yell at my kids to quit touching each other?

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