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What have you done to cope with high energy costs?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by sylvestermcmonkey, May 30, 2008.

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  1. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

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    Assuming that you're paying more for energy - and who isn't - logically more of your otherwise disposable income is now going to pay for all sorts of things that cost more - gas, food, etc. There are many ways of adjusting to this. I'm curious - how have you adjusted? Where does the money come from? More debt? "Government stimulus?" Have you even adjusted at all?

    Reducing consumption is one way to cope. If you have, what have you done, specifically? Trading your Chevy Suburban for a Smart ForTwo, assuming you drive the same number of miles, counts as "reducing consumption" but going from oil to wood or pellets doesn't - that's a different answer.

    If your consumption has remained relatively constant how have you re-allocated your expenses to offset energy's higher cost?

    For me, I've completely eliminated going to restaurants. That means no eating out - no McDonald's no Starbucks, nothing. No movies (but I do have Netflix). Haven't had TV for years but that predated energy's recent rise so it doesn't really count. Have had small fuel efficient cars for years too. Never did much frivolous driving but I'm making a concerted effort to combine necessary trips. Sold my airplane :down: but with avgas over $6.00 a gallon I wasn't flying much any more. No magazine or newspaper subscriptions - no need as long as my dialup works. I'm going to the local library more than ever, no book purchases necessary. Ammo purchases are down to about nothing due to its high cost. Already have a bunch of CFLs and dimmers on what aren't. Planted a small vegetable garden. The pellet stove will reduce my heating oil consumption. Next on the chopping block for me is my cell phone and Netflix - I lived without them for years and can do it again. After that... well I really don't know. There's not much else to cut. Maybe I'll stop cutting the grass.

    Speaking of cutting my barber says his business is down - he says people simply go longer without a haircut. I suppose I'd just shave my head if necessary. Save on shampoo also.

    So what have you done? What WILL you do if gas goes to $10.00 a gallon or simply unavailable at any price?

    Be specific!

    I'd put this in the form of a poll but the answers would be too constraining.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There is a huge difference between gas at $10/gal and not available. They are very different scenarios.

    For us the answer is simple, you make do with less. We've already anticipated this happening and will continue to tighten up the house, drive less in fuel sipping car and truck, and grow our own. The greenhouse should be going up this year. Other than that we will likely see what we can do in our community to help others. This may be carpooling for the elderly, growing extra crops, helping out at the food bank. I already cut my kid's hair and I don't have enough left to worry about :).

    If I was back east I would also likely be planning to close off parts of the house in winter to further reduce heating load.

    Interesting to note that this Memorial Day with the high gas prices there was a huge difference in traffic on the holiday. What normally would be bumper to bumper from Canada to Seattle was a fairly light load.
  3. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    Verndale, MN
    Upgraded my small stove which was meant to take the chill out of the basement to a larger stove that is meant to heat the house.
    Had the outside of my basement insulated along with having the blocks covered so there is no longer any exposure.
    I can anything and everything that the deer don't get out of the garden.
    I even can the deer when one happens to appear during hunting season.
    I changed my driving habits, slow and steady instead of fast and furious.
    Cut my beer consumption down, instead of a six pack a week, a can every 2 months. :down:
    Instead of buying my morning granola bar I make them instead.
    I cut my dish package 150 with locals down to the dish family with locals.
    Instead of driving the 480 mile round trip to vist my parents over Memorial Day I stayed home instead.
    I shop locally instead of driving to the bigger towns.
    When making purchases I research them more before I make them and if I have to travel to pick the purchase up I include the cost of gas in the purchase.
    I encourage the wife to take the 4 wheeler to drive the 1/4 mile to her parents house instead of taking the car.
    All trips to town are combined with other trips, aka I need to go shopping, I wait until there are other reasons to go to town.
    When I am in town and the stores are close to each other and my life is not in jeopardy I walk instead of driving.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Keep on keeping on. I have been so tight I squeak my whole life, raised by depression era parents as I was. In fact I am thinking about ramping up spending. The calculator says I have maybe 11 years left so what the hell.
  5. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    "Speaking of cutting my barber says his business is down - he says people simply go longer without a haircut. I suppose I’d just shave my head if necessary. Save on shampoo also. "

    Bought a set of clippers for $14.99 - they paid for themselves after the first haircut! That was one thing. Enlarged garden, put in berry bushes, being smarter about driving (consolidating trips out).
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    "Cut my beer consumption down, instead of a six pack a week, a can every 2 months."

    When they pry the twelve pack from my cold dead hands...
  7. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    As stated by another, I squeak too. I have seriously considered throwing my Sierra into the sea as discussed in another thread but came find out that another owner with a Colorado 5cyl got the same mileage shis sone got with a Silverado 5.3. Even went so far as looking at a 2003 Sonoma(S10) with a 2.2, now yer makin' a dent. But the change over cost wouldn't justify any droplets of savings as I live 2.1 miles from work. But I did blow out the pilot lite on the furnace and I eat generic beefaroni..........
  8. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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    I decided to increase my earning potential by getting an MBA. Company paid for it so really couldn't go wrong (other than taking up a lot of my "free" time). I currently invest about 15-20% of my income so if things ever get really bad I can back off on that for a while. The only debt I have is my mortgage so my expenses are relatively small and my wife stays home with our three girls and I live less than 10 minutes from my work so gas prices aren't really an issue (fill up a few times a month).
  9. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Arrow Bridge,NY
    Bought an S-10 for a grocery and parts getter and selling the camaro
    Only use the F-350 when I'm making money with it.
    Online banking-cut out the stamps and envelopes.
    Stop at grocery store when out making the deliveries if I'm going right by the store anyway.
    Cut out all advertising and now direct call off of customer list.
    Recycling everything.
    Fixing everything myself instead of taking it to the shop.
    Got rid of second cell
    Greenhouse in the works before fall and root cellar.
    Bigger garden and bigger rain water storage for watering the garden
    Cut out the local dinor in the morning.
    Been watching the sales on meat , buying and freezing alot when it's on sale.
    I too have also been known to squeak and lately it's getting very loud !
  10. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah- almost forgot. I have noticed an improvement is gas mileage since cleaning the air filter. I have a FRAM Air Hog................
  11. TboneMan

    TboneMan Member

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    Loc:
    Central NY
    Wow some of those measures are pretty drastic.

    My diesel pickup stays parked unless needed. My wife and I have carpooled for years. I've drive the speed limit, and have for years. I now heat with a pellet stove instead of my forced air propane furnace. My 14 year hot water heater died two weeks ago, I replaced it with an tankless on-demand system (propane).


    I hate to say it, but we all cant' just STOP spending money on things. If we all did that, no one would have a job. I'm an advocate of smart spending. Yes, I still go out to eat --- only mom/pop restaurants -- I avoid chains. Support you're local vendors when every possible.

    I refuse to become a hermit or take a doom and gloom view of things.
  12. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't gotten a haircut in almost 9 years. I rarely bathe. As soon as I can afford some propane, I'm going to grill both of wife's cats. And maybe her dog. Rick
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My wife puts my hair up in dreadlocks, we threw the water heater out to make room for more wood in the basement, we now start our seedlings in what used to be the bath tubs and since my wife guards her cat we cooked the neighbors Golden on the spit over a wood fire over the holiday.

    The still out back is almost finished and we drink dandelion wine with our beans and cornbread. We buy the torn bags of beans and cornmeal in the basket up in the front of the grocery store.
  14. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    Man how original. Why can't I think of anything like this? I'd be rich by now just doin the dadelion wine deal...................
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I know this is somewhat of a cop-out, but so much of the problem is societal.....you and I could go homeless or eat rice from 50 lb bags and it is not likely to make the difference that we need. Yes, each of us will react (to some degree) to ECONOMIC circumstances, but that can be over quickly - if the government prints more money, or if oil prices come down, we get a better job, inheritance, etc.

    But none of those things will expand our rail systems, up our CAFE standards, etc.

    The "green revolution" strikes me as mostly fad and fake, and while that may sound harsh I think it is somewhat true. As an example, we have radio commercials on regularly saying that one of the best ways to "save the planet" is to make certain we bring our reusable shopping bags to the grocery store! I have to laugh when I hear these....and I say to Martha "Heck, it's not the BAGS that are the problem, IT'S WHAT WE PUT INTO THEM!

    Obvious? Doesn't seem so, but for someone to afford commercials on the radio, they have to be selling something (in this case it is a waste disposal outlet....plenty of business there!).

    The hippies and gurus had one thing right (well, more than one thing)....and that is that "we are all one", meaning there is a relationship between all people and the systems that sustain the earth, life, etc. - As long as we are willing to bury our collective heads in the sand (the status quo), we are unlikely to see real change on a macro level. But the good news is that a lot of the best minds in the world are at work right now looking for revolutionary solutions. And example is google.org, which wants to create solar energy cheaper than coal (among other things) - with no government subsidy. So while engineers may have done their part in helping destroy the world (war, cars, pollution, etc.), in the end I predict that brains will end up saving it! The transition to smaller houses, smaller cars, more efficient processes, etc. will take decades - but I think it will happen.
  16. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Engineers, for the most part, design, build, operate and maintain what the customers want. When the customers really want more energy efficient ways of living, and a cleaner environment, etc., the engineers will respond (as many already are responding). The market, and all its implications, are driven by the end users. Some intelligent government involvement would certainly speed the process...hope to see us get some one day. Rick (Mechanical Engineer)
  17. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    I hear ya Craig, each one of us induvidually prolly won't make a drop in the bucket's worth of a difference, the Iraninians will hate us wither way. But it won't be comming out of our pocket's(those of us that are cutting back/ down). You can only control what you do and use, nothing about the yahoo in the other lane.............
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    What the OP is talking about is what does the house at 2727 Bluebonnet Lane do to deal with this while society as a whole either fixes it or screws it up worse. And I have no faith in my societal brethren to fix it. Society may cause it and the individual may or may not have participated in causing it but when the rubber meets the proverbial road the individual has the kids to feed and clothe. Or in the case of our household eat, heat and pay the medical bills.

    If any spot in history was the turning point to this mess it was the 1980s. About that time the boomers did a mental disconnect from the depression era parents raising them and said "Let's go for it.". Turning that around isn't going to happen without major fiscal pain.

    And I don't have time left for pain of any variety. Just wait until your conversations turn one of these days to "I know we are going to be able to eat. How the hell are we going to get up and down the stairs?'.

    I have been heating with wood most of my adult life. I want my back carbon credits that I can use to pay for a stairlift.
  19. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    Call up AL Goron in his McMansion, I'm sure he can help you out................
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Stop with the US or them. The Iranians are hurting too. I read today that Iran is the world's second largest importer of gasoline. It's just us, we're all in this experiment called life together. The sooner we get down to the table and talk about it the better.
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Al has him one of them REAL mansions. Hell if the Supreme Court screwed me out of being able to move into something like the White House with servants around the clock, a monster private jet and my own standing Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corp I would go build a block long house too.

    I don't blame John Edwards for doing it either. As long as they send the butlers to take their plastic bags back to the grocery store. In the limo.

    Here is a pic of Al with the 20th Engineer Brigade out of Bien Hoa:

    Attached Files:

  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I stopped buying beef. Strange but true. My family of four is still working on consuming the deer that I harvested last year as hamburger but rather than a steak at 15$ per pound I find almost equal joy in eating bone and skin chicken breasts at 1.50$ per lb or pork loin steaks at 3$ per lb.

    Drink lower quality whiskey with juice or pop vs. expensive dark beer or nice bourbon. Regular drinking of course. Special occasions still require good stuff and plenty of it. Even cans of cheap beer add up in cost compared to appropriate mixtures of proper hard alchohol.

    Always drip coffee made at home and put in thermos. 10 cups per day for me.

    Cleaned out my refrigerator coils. That bugger was running longer and longer to keep the fridge cold. Very dirty before and now lots of air flow.

    I use a scangauge meter that actually calculates the amount of money I spent in fuel per trip, day, tank, etc. as well as instantaneous mpg. Knowing my fuel consumption really helps me reduce it. Combining trips is good too. Shopping for cheaper gas along my normal routes, the differential among stations is bigger than ever.

    My single pane, aluminum frame windows are being replaced any day now with e-star windows. My power company just announced a 500$ incentive that will just sweeten the deal for me!!!

    Blown in attic insulation this summer on top of my existing 3" of fiberglass.

    Note that you need to spend money to save money. If it gets real bad then we won't have the money to spend on saving. Now's the time to make these investments and not the time to just stop buying to save short term money.

    Civil engineer here. So long as I have my job I will be fine. We live within our means by a healthy margin so by the time I have a hard time feeding the family there will be chaos. Yes, we have guns and ammo.
  23. Turbozcs2003

    Turbozcs2003 New Member

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    southernMaine
    Dont worry president Tom has all his Engineers hard at work on their centrifuges for heavy water so they can "Peacefully" develope nuclear power for their plug in cars, they dont need gasoline ;)

    Per the original post, myself I just put 6 more inches of insulation in my attic, sealed some of the penetrations in the attic while I was up there. Will be buying a pellet stove and insulating my basement. May also purchase some window blinds to help there.

    As far as lifestyle, I am already a cheap bastard. Bag my lunch, thermos of coffee and rarely go out to eat. Havent been on a real vacation in years and will probably stay home and do some local day trips this year. On the other hand, paid off the house this January so no more mortgage. Agree with the post above, people today do not know how to manage money and get themselves into a pickle. They shouldnt be freaking out over 4$ a gallon gas or oil but should start figuring out how to adapt, and that means dont depend on the Gov to do anything, they only screw it up worse.
  24. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Well for next summer, next to the everbearing raised strawberry bed is going a veggie bed. But like brother bart I ain`t cutting back on my beer or t-bones for the bbq. Only so many years left, damn well gonna enjoy them. I think it depends a lot on your age about what you are or are not going to do.

    At present we are subsidizing our youngest (daughter) to the tune of about $400 a month. while she goes to college. and when I suggest she stop shopping till she drops- guess what? she said bye and cut me off of messenger. :roll: No question that there is a big difference between generations.the younger think it is their right to shop and shop and spend on nightclubs and entertainment,etc. wheras most of us older people have seen and worked thru the hard times. and know that money doesn`t grow on trees.

    Personally I think a lot more pain has to come before the younger generation "wakes up"..
  25. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking of collecting my farts in old empty 5 gallon Ernest Gallo red wine bottles. And replacing my propane stove cooking gas with the bottled butt gas.
    Course dinners might have a bit of a tangy taste.

    If I could get rid of the ol lady & her kids, that would cut all energy usage here by at least 3/4. Hmmmm, gonna keep thinking on this one.
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