Response to Kaleva (Original post)
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:58 PM
Kaleva (15,521 posts)
11. An update
My gas bill came in and not including the standard charge just to have gas to the house, it was $4.16 which is a little over a dollar less the then last month's bill. As I've had the water heater on pilot only for some time now, I don't think I can get the gas bill down any lower then it is right now although I can't recall exactly when I stopped using warm water to wash clothes and set the water heater gas valve to pilot only.
I think my utility bills are about as low as they can be. Even if I cut my water consumption in half, that's a saving of $8.00 a month. Then with winter coming, the gas and electric bills will go up as the lights will be on more with fewer hours of daylight and the furnace will be running.
There is an old woodstove in the basement and today I cleaned that out. I cleared out an area by the property line which overgrown with wild grape vines and lilac shoots from the nearby lilac tree. There's a pile of wood scraps in the garage from when I remodeled the kitchen which I began today to cut into pieces that will fit the woodstove. I don't know how much wood I'll get from the scraps but I have enough from to pile maybe 2/3 of a cord. There is an old shower curtain in the garage too which I'll use to cover the pile to keep the rain and snow off the pile. That's not much wood but I'll only use it for very cold stretches of days so the furnace doesn't run near steady during those times.
In the previous two days, I used some of that scrap wood to build a compost bin which I put in the area I cleared out and the woodpile will be right next to it. The dimensions of the compost bin is 4' wide by 3' deep by 3' high which is pretty close to the what is recommended by various sites discussing compost bins.
For the compost bin I first put in a layer of cut up cardboard and paper that had filled a big cardboard box down in the basement. Cardboard and paper that I had spent alot of time cutting up with scissors for just such a purpose and also to provide bedding and food for the indoor worm composter later on. I still have another big box still in the basement half full of such cuttings. After putting in the cardboard and paper into the bin, i dumped in two ice cream pails of coffee grounds and kitchen scraps and covered that with leaves I had raked up out of the cleared area and chopped up fine with my mulching lawn mower. Then I dampened the pile with about 5 gallons of grey water mixed with a gallon of my urine.
I've been saving my urine everyday (I produce close to a gallon of it daily) and in the evening I mix it about 50/50 and apply it to the lawn. This has also cut down the number of times I have needed to flush the toilet and the grey water I save after taking a shower has been plenty enough to flush the toilet. I haven't had to use fresh water for the commode for about a week now.
The food bill is averaging about $4.50 a day and it's possible I could cut that down but even if I do, I'd like to spend that savings on more varieties of food. I'm getting a wee bit tired of potatoes, cabbage, carrots, rice, and beans. Last night I was so tired after walking to the hospital to have my blood thickness checked and back (my scooter has a flat tire) and spending the rest of the day working outside, I just made toast for dinner and that's all I had for the day. I was too tired and sore to even wash, cut up and boil a potato and cabbage dinner.
As I've stated in a previous post, my costs weren't that high to begin with before I started doing all of this so I can never achieve a dramatic savings. But I am enjoying it and it is keeping me active.
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