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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. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Blame those who are responsible. Time may heal all wounds, but it does NOT negate responsibility for actions taken. By that thinking, we should be holding Angela Merkel responsible for exterminating the Jews in 1945, and giving Hitler a free pass. After all, that was about 70 years ago, why are we still blaming Hitler? The reason is, he was responsible for it. If Carter was responsible for ending federal research into spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, then he would be responsible for the current state of nuclear waste. Those who did nothing would be accomplices to this state, but Carter is ultimately responsible for it. Same way Clinton can be held responsible for 9/11 by cutting funding to the CIA which resulted in us not having anyone in place to at least warn of it. Same way Bush Sr can be blamed for the current state of Iraq by stopping at the edge of Baghdad and leaving Saddam in power. Iraq would be 10 years further along had Bush Sr finished the job. This resulted in GW Bush being handed Iraq as a major problem with 8 years of no action by Clinton. Then GW made his own mistakes by not executing the conclusion of the Iraq war properly. Even Reagan had his problems in the middle east, and can probably be held responsible for some of the problems.

    The idea that current messes are the fault of current peoples, and not the fault of bad decisions by past peoples is short sighted, and forgets history. By laying blame where it should lie, then the whole problem can be seen and resolved. By laying blame for past mistakes on the current office holder, nothing gets done because the current office holder is going to be spending more time fighting erroneous charges than will be spent on the problem. If McCain wins, I hope he follows through on his nuclear power proposals, AND reverses Carter's policy on nuke fuel reprocessing. If we can build on what the French have done with breeder reactors, perhaps we can devise a way to use current nuclear waste as fuel which would end the problem of nuclear waste. And if THAT takes place, then we can replace fossil fuel plants with nuclear plants. This would go a long way towards both solving our need for more electricity, and cutting fossil fuel usage.

    Tessa - Excellent, you've done the research already then. Since you already need a new place to live then, might still consider finding a place where he can walk to work, then sell the gas guzzler and just use your car. Saving that 14MPG and the insurance that goes with it would more than pay for an increase in your commute time.

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Learning from history is something we never do. Each President and Congress makes tens of thousands of decisions and any of them could be blown up to show why they are to blame to everything! For some reason you are not telling us how if Carters solar programs and conservation programs were not scrapped by Reagan, then we might actually have vastly reduced our energy use. You are not talking about how the "ME" generational charge, led by Reagan - and fueled by cheap oil and resources, is to blame for many of our woes. You are not talking about Mideast policy....of which Carter did some vast good with - and which Reagan 100% cut and ran from (Lebanon)...

    There are sins of commission and sins of omission and we are guilty of many of both. But I completely disagree with your method for solving problems by looking back to different times and places. This goes against the idea of "it's not what you have, it's what you do with what you have".....and GW definitely did not do much with all the political capital he claimed he had. He squandered it on war. He used it to reward his friends.

    Certainly you cannot blame all worldwide problem on a sitting President. But you CAN ask them to do the best with the hands they are dealt. IMHO, we could not have done worse in that regard with the current guy.......on top of all his bad decision (well, to him and his friends they were good), he presided over a deep rift in American politics - AFTER claiming that he was going to bring honor and unity to the office.

    But I suppose we will never agree on that stuff. My opinion only, but I consider the man immoral, unethical, corrupt and a war criminal. In addition to that, I consider him incapable of thinking deeply about the levels of policy needed to be a successful statesman. Maybe worse that all of these, I consider his attack on our constitution to be treacherous and un-American. I will watch history along with you, but I'll bet only the profiteers will be championing his legacy!

    Other than that, he seems like a good guy to have a beer with and tell fart jokes.
  3. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Tessa,
    I realize that in Texas the income level is lower then here in MA. Your rent sounds cheap to us on the east coast. Rents are $1000. to $3000. very rarely do you see heat included. It's hard to understand why people would rent vs. buy your own property at average rent for a two bedroom @ $1500. Homes are much cheaper in Texas, maybe it might be worth purchasing a home instead of renting, or at least shoot for that goal.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Now we are really going OT........kids and all.

    Funny thing, and probably showing my age (or my religion).....but we gave absolutely no thought to finances before we had children! If we did, we may have never had them. Not saying that financial planning is not good, but just that sometimes things work the other way around. In our case, we had kids and that probably caused me to seek out higher wages and more skills and work my butt off. Not saying that was good - we joke around here sometimes that I am a Beast of Burden.

    At the same time, I watch some of these reality TV shows (super-nanny) with these folks popping out 4 rug rats, and say to myself "why the heck did they do that - wouldn't one or two have made things simpler?"

    Well, I would not have had it any other way...no regrets. If it wasn't for love and lust (if we had to use our minds to think), we'd probably never have any kids.
  5. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I gotta agree with modemgirl: The sooner you get out of your rental situation and into something you can start building equity in, the better off you will be. Even a condo is a step up from endless rent payments that get you nowhere. There's got to be something you can afford out there...

    Chris
  6. Tessa

    Tessa New Member

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    We're waiting for the housing market to stabilize a bit. I've read a few articles saying that lenders are tightening up on requirements for mortgage loans. B and I are in our early 20s and have never taken out a large loan before (my car was 15k, that's the most extensive loan). We're both concerned that trying to get a loan right now would result in an interest rate far beyond "fair and reasonable" and would be out of luck.

    We also need to do more research. Property values in south DFW are stagnating or (in some cases) declining more than they are increasing. In the northern parts of DFW the values are holding steady or increasing slightly. We don't want to get into a mortgage and end up upside down because of instabilities.

    On another note, Texas is kind of like the middle ground for COL. We're a lot lower than the east and west coasts, but a big higher than the midwest (especially now that they've become a temporary lake, I'd imagine). It's been that way for awhile, but in some areas we're seeing a lot of the newly "rich" investing in cookie-cutter mini-mansions and creating towns that cater solely to those with 6 or 7 figure incomes....and they're mixing in with the "middle class" towns and burbs. If you go into some parts of DFW you'll find that the COL is almost equal to that of say, Boston, while 10 miles down the road you're looking at somebody more relative to Indiana.

    I don't know how it works in other areas, but in DFW we have people that will live in an outlying suburb who commute upwards of 100 miles or more a day to and from a high-paying job in the city.....even though there are similar jobs closer to home. This area is pretty materialistic. Dallas has always kind of been known for that.
  7. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    One does not build equity if home prices stabilize or go down. Many people have made the foolish assumption that buying a house is a smart financial move. Millions have been proven wrong.

    A home is NOT an investment, it's a place to live, with a lot of expenses. Sometimes it makes economical sense to purchase a house, sometimes it makes more sense to rent.

    I'm not against homeownership at all, I've owned my own home most of the last 40 years. But we did it with a good percentage down and fixed payments we could afford.

    Ken
  8. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    I just found a new way to save on gas----- I spend time on this forum instead of going out driving around! lol
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't laugh, modemgirl.......

    A lot of the energy we all burn up is to go to the mall, the town square, starbucks, etc. so that we can be part of the "social scene". A lot of additional energy is used up in actual meetings, face to face, etc.

    So, yes, the net is part of the solution.......even shopping on the net is less energy intensive.....a truck delivering UPS packages is more efficient than the same package going from the dist center to the stove - sitting on the shelf - and then hauled home in your car.
  10. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Tessa,
    The closer you are to a city the property value increases. The banks have tightened up and they should, they can let you know what mortgage you qualify for, they still do have first time buyer programs out there. The interest rates are low, (even though they have been going up little by little) they are still fairly low. I think you are going to see the rental market keep climbing for awhile, until the housing market stablizes. I just think renting only benefits the landlord.

    Ken,

    Owning a home has for the most part, always been a good investment. The AVERAGE home value doubles in ten years. Some home values won't increase at this rate. Although most people will have equity build over time. You don't just buy a home for an investment, you buy what you can afford and because you love it. For most Americans their home is their largest investment. Another asset is, your fixed mortgage won't keep going up. My mortgage & taxes don't even come close to what they want for rent today and my home has twice the square feet as the average rental. The downside is, yes you have maintenance and repairs to consider & some of these expenses can be high. It's all a matter of choice and what you want. Tessa was complaining about how the rentals are charging 6% a month increases, she has three choices, pay the increases, move ( that has moving cost involved) or try to purchase a home, I was just suggesting that option. :)
  11. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Craig,
    I wasn't laughing to make fun of saving energy. I was laughing just to make lite of the fact that I am spending way too much time on this computer and this forum, instead of doing things that need to be done! So I thought, hey I am saving energy by not using my car ( good excuse not to get things done) lol
    BTW, I don't do much driving for leisure anymore! Only for errands, work and the necessities of life. Craig, I get upset at how things are today but I also need to laugh and have fun so you will find I like to throw in a few jokes from time to time! Life is too short not to laugh and have fun :) Laughter is great for the soul and what bothers us :) I also like to make others laugh and I would never say anything to offend others or make fun of what others believe in.

    Btw, this is a great place to socialize and read other peoples info and insight :) Thanks again to you and all that give your time for us to be here :)
  12. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    It's only a good "investment" if you can afford it and buy at a reasonable price. I think your expectation of doubling in ten years only applies to overpriced markets, which are now coming back down to earth (and in many places, they still have a good distance to drop). Long term, home prices only rise equal to people's take home pay and that hasn't been doubling in ten years.

    Ken
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Varies from region to region. From the severe 70's recession, until now, the house we had in Seattle more than doubled in price every 10 years. During the dot com boom that became 5 years. Now it's back to maybe 10 years. And ironically, as gas hit over $4, while there is a major decrease in suburban home prices, it's not happening in the city. People are migrating to reduce commute time and expenses. At this rate if I had to wait for the long term I'd be pushing up daisies.

    1972 - $33K
    1984 - $83K
    1994 - $212K
    2001 - $640K (new room added, new roof and deck, updated kitchen and bath)
    current estimated price ~800K
  14. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Ken,

    I agree that not every home is going to be a good buy right now, but many areas especially the more desireable ones have stopped dropping. Those are the ones you want to be looking at. You know, location, location, location!

    I live about 2 miles outside the Beltway and our area (a mix of McMansions and older tract housing) hasn't really seen the sharp drop in value that has affected other areas. I guess I was smart enough to buy a smaller home in a stable area before the bottom fell out. The dreamers moved way out to the countryside and bought huge "estates" and now have an hour commute, unless there is an accident on the interstate. I wave at them as I get off at the first exit!

    I don't want to sound too smug, but I have never been a follower of the "traditional" American dream. All my contemporaries have moved out and are now complaining about it. Right now, I can see some of our older neighbors are seriously considering selling that empty 3-4 bedroom house and moving to a condo or retirement community. The families are slowly moving back in and this has helped keep our ZIP code stable. I suspect the situation here may be mirrored in other large metropolises like DFW. The savvy buyer should keep their eyes open, do the research and already have a good idea on where the financing is going to come from. Condominiums were in serious decline about 10 years ago when the market was hot, but would be an excellent buy right now, IMHO. I'm seeing nice ones going for around $150K. Just make sure you find one that allows wood stoves! :cheese:

    The city of Baltimore is actually seeing a resurgence of new homebuyers as our properties are significantly cheaper than those around DC. The professionals are moving in and discovering that it's only a short train ride into Washington. Even Jenna Bush just bought a house down there! The city of Frederick, to our west has had such a population boom of late that they have moratoriums on new houses as there isn't enough water for everyone.

    I gotta go to work now to pay for my palatial "estate". Headed to the office and then on a call to DC (yes, it's a federal job). Probably another 100 miles on the 'ol Cavalier, but it's a living...

    Chris
  15. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Some areas haven't dropped at all. According to Zillow.com my McMansion has been steadily increasing in value over the last 4 years, since I bought it new. This was right before Katrina hit, which drove the cost of new housing in the Tulsa area up by about 10 grand due to increased materials cost. In 4 years, value has climbed from 130000 to 160000, and all I've done to it is add an exterior building and a dryer vent booster. Got a "Make Me Move" price on it of 200,000, which I think it'll be worth in a couple more years as the economy recovers.
  16. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    Why not take the Metro when you can. Used it when I was there a couple months ago and only wish I had something 1/2 as convenient out here.
  17. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Funny you should mention that! There was an article in this morning's paper that said the MARC stations are becoming stressed for parking spaces. Seems that people ARE looking at alternatives, but I suspect that some of this traffic might be from people that have moved here from DC.

    I understand DC has a very good Metro system and there is a regional system called MARC that connects Baltimore to DC and all the way out to Martinsburg WV. It also connects to AMTRAK and BWI Airport. Baltimore's system isn't nearly as widespread as DC's, but it is possible to get on the bus or subway or light rail in your neighborhood and go to New York or Boston (or anywhere) without ever getting in a car. I've used the Light Rail to go to baseball games at Camden Yards (named after the train station, BTW) and AMTRAK to go to NYC on business. I know people that do this to see a show on Broadway or go to Times Square on New Years eve. It's very convenient and anything that keeps cars off of I-95 is a good thing, IMHO. As well connected as we are, it wouldn't work for me in my line of business. I run service and never know where I'll be and what I'll need to have with me in the way of tools and equipment. I'm still trying to figure out how to run service calls on a motorcycle!

    My sister used to live in Gaithersburg west of DC and commuted to Georgetown in a Chevette. After hearing yet another story about the traffic jams that result from an accident or bad weather, I asked her why she didn't just take the Metro? She said that after paying to park (yeah, they charge for that!) and the monthly pass, the Chevette was actually cheaper! This was about 15 years ago and I suspect the situation has probably changed a lot, but you have to be able to put a price on the convenience of not having to deal with traffic. The traffic around here can be a nightmare!

    I hear BART is a very good system. Are there any plans on expanding it in the works? Unfortunately, the State of MD, in their infinite wisdom has decided to invest in more highways, rather than more public transportation. Nobody wants a subway going throught their neighborhood and Lexus lanes from rich bedroom communities are easier to get past the voters. Is $4/gal gas enough to get people out of their cars? I suspect not...

    Chris
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Metro is now full service. Yesterday they busted a station manager and custodian for prostitution. The manager was the pimper and the custodian was the pimpee.
  19. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Well, I made two changes this week:

    1. My deep freeze took a crap on me. Luckily it happened the week BEFORE I went to the meat market and not the week AFTER, so I only lost a couple of bags of fries and some old meat that really needed tossing anyway. Yesterday I ordered a new Energy Star deep freeze to replace it. The new unit is smaller than the old unit as well, as we really weren't using the old one to capacity. Should not be a problem with the new one, which is about 4 cu ft smaller. I'll be drilling a couple of holes in the old one with a wood bit so nobody will be able to suffocate in it, and will pull the door off to boot.

    2. Visited my aunt last week, who was cooking some cornbread with a toaster oven. She said that she normally cooks with propane, but uses the toaster oven most of the time as it costs less to bake small things with it than the big oven. Promptly went out and bought a convection toaster oven, and it's great. Last night I cooked a small pizza from frozen to done faster than it normally takes the big oven to just heat up. You put the food in, turn the oven on, and it's at 400 degrees in just a few seconds. It's also big enough to cook 90 percent of the stuff we normally need an oven for, and can even cook a whole chicken rotisserie-style. We're also going to use the convection oven to replace the deep fryer, so far fries cooked in it have a better taste than the deep fried ones. If everything we cook in the deep fryer comes out better, then the deep fryer will disappear too.
  20. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

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    I have started to mix etahnol in my car tank. 50% gasoline and 50% etahnol.
    The gasoline costs over 8 $ gallon :-(

    And I have install energy saving light bulbs
  21. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Here we go again ! HORN dog. LOL LOL
  22. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    We stumbled onto a simple energy saver. We had an unused, reasonably new, chest freezer. We need more refrig space to hold the beer. I bought a line voltage probe thermostat (the kind with a capillary tube/probe) off of ebay for about $10, wired an outlet so that the thermostat would turn on-off the freezer when it is plugged into this outlet, inserted the probe into the freezer, set the temp at 40, and now the freezer cycles between 32-40 and uses a pittance of electricity to keep lots of beer cold. And all that cold stays put when we open the door to grab a cold one.
  23. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    You would save even more energy if you drank your beer warm like the Europeans do ;-)

    Ken
  24. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    But OUR beer tastes like crap when it's warm. We could buy imported beer, but I suppose it's cheaper to keep the crap beer cold...

    Chris
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's cheaper to learn to brew your own high quality beer. As far as keeping it cold... well we have Puget Sound, 48-50 degrees year round.
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