How to Save Money on Your Electric and Water

I’m sure most of you often wonder how you too could save money on your electric and water bill, and it has taken me some research and trial and error, to come up with my complete list of money-saving tips. The list I’m about to share with you can be easily done in an apartment or a house (so renters not excluded)! Shall we begin?

Electric

1) Replace all light bulbs with low watt, energy-efficient ones, or remove excess lights

When I moved in to my apartment, I no longer had a need for my lamps (my previous apartment had no overhead lights). My current rental has more than one light option in every room. For example, I have a set of track lights in my living room which has three bulbs, and a ceiling light that also has three bulbs. Six bulbs are a bit overkill, so I’ve removed the lights from the ceiling and replaced the track lights with these: Philips LED Bulb 16 Pack 40 Watt I’ve used this method in all rooms of my apartment with more than one set of lights.

2)  Unplug everything when you’re not using it

If you’re like me, you don’t think about what is plugged in and what’s not. I usually just leave chargers in the wall at all times. However, leaving things plugged in even when you’re not using them is still creating and using energy. I went around my apartment and unplugged everything that I don’t use on a regular basis (my stereo, my salt lamp, the electric piano, etc.)

3) Turn off ceiling fans and lights when not in use

This goes with the above… if you’re not using it, turn it off! My husband has a bad habit of leaving the fan on when we’re not in the room or gone all day… think about the money you could save if you just flip the switch OFF. It’s a hard to habit to break, as many of us probably don’t think about these things on a daily basis. The more you remind yourself to turn it off, you’ll be in a better habit of saving money and energy.

Water

1) Create a water displacement for your toilet

I watch YouTube a lot, and I learned this method from there. I had an old apple cider half-gallon bottle, and I filled the bottom with pebbles for a weight, and filled the rest with water. I put it in the back of my toilet, and it has displaced the water by nearly half. What this does is allows you to not use as much water when flushing the toilet. This can save you on average about $7.00 a year! You don’t have to use a half-gallon, if you have a 2 liter or gallon jug, that would work too. You can use anything to fill up the bottom, so long as it acts as a weight. I think this method is perfect, because it’s simple and easy to use, and it stays out of sight and out of mind. You can save water without even knowing remembering it!

2) Flushing methods

WARNING: This is not for the faint of heart. We have a saying around here that states, “if it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow“. With that being said, I think you get the point. By not flushing often or when not necessary, allows you to conserve water. There can be exceptions to the rule, as I’m sure this wouldn’t fly with everyone, especially in larger families. However, it’s just my husband and I, and it really allows us to discipline ourselves, and to be actively conscious about how much water we’re saving.

3) Toothbrush habits

How many of you just turn on the water when you’re brushing your teeth and leave it on? Maybe you don’t, good for you. Here’s what I do… get a spray bottle and fill it with water. Spray your toothbrush with water, instead of turning on the faucet. You can also set out a *small* glass of water so that you can rinse your mouth, and then your toothbrush when you’re finished. Don’t throw that water down the sink though! If your toothpaste is biodegradable like mine (Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste), you can use this to water your plants.

4) Consider an aerator for your sink

I’ve looked into this option, but I’m not confident on buying something that may or may not fit my sink, so I would do some more research before a purchase like this. However, buying an aerator for your sink is cheap. This will help aerate the water, providing a smaller output than normal. I can’t use one on my kitchen sink, as I currently have a Brita water filter on it, but I am considering one for my bathroom, as long as I can get the right measurements.

5) Buy a low pressure shower head

I recently purchased a low pressure shower head that uses 1.5 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) instead of the traditional 2.2. I love this new shower head, it looks nice and it feels great, I don’t even notice a difference.

6) Shower habits

Yes, I know I’m a dirty hippie by admitting this, but consider how frequent you’re showering. It is not necessary to shower on a daily basis. If you’re someone who showers daily, think about changing it up to every other day and see how it feels. If you’re not comfortable with the idea, then try to set a time limit for your showers, the shorter, the better!

7) Fill up your kitchen sink

I only have a basin sink, and I miss having a dual basin. If you’re stuck with a single basin, you can buy a plastic basin as an alternative. If you have a dual basin, or are using a plastic one, fill up both basins with water, one soapy, and one not. By washing your dishes this way, you’re using less water than if you left the sink running. Just for fun, wash dishes one evening and try plugging the sink, you’ll be amazed at how fast it fills up. Think about how much water you’re wasting down the sink by leaving it running! If you have a dishwasher, that’s awesome (I call that my husband). I do strongly recommend washing dishes by hand though. We have a dishwasher and don’t use it. You use less water washing by hand, and it leaves your hands silky smooth. Again, if you’re using a biodegradable dish detergent, you can use your extra water to water the plants. If you don’t have any plants, you can use this water to flush your toilet.

Those are my money-saving tips for saving electric and water. If you enjoyed this article and think it can help someone out, please be sure to share! If you have any ideas on how to save money on electric and water, please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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Vacationland

Hi Everyone!

I have been so busy this week that I forgot to post my vacation video! If you didn’t know, my husband and I went to Maine for a week. We’re back to reality now, but still living in the memory of vacation and hoping we can go back soon.

HOW IT ALL STARTED:

It has been a dream of mine to rent a cabin in the woods and see the eastern seaboard. When my husband and I got married last year, we didn’t go on a honeymoon. Originally, I wanted to elope on a mountaintop, and honeymoon in the woods. It didn’t work out even close to that! So here’s where we makeup for it. We came across this adorable cabin for just $50.00 a night on airbnb. I was a little skeptical, since this was our first time using airbnb. The whole time I was thinking “what am I getting myself into?” The cabin was essentially “off grid” with solar power, but only two lights, a chemical toilet, a bed, a sink, an outdoor shower, and a grill. Turns out, I’m more of a camper than I realized.

THE EXPERIENCE:  

Once we arrived in Western Maine, we were on the hunt for the dirt road that led us to our cabin. I knew we had to drive 3 miles to get to our cabin, but I didn’t realize that the 3 miles it took, was up a mountain! The drive to our cabin took us nearly 20 minutes due to the drive uphill. Our cabin was on the summit on a small mountain likely 1,000 ish feet above sea level. The views were incredible. Although we were a bit far from the border of New Hampshire, we could see the White Mountains from our cabin.

Our cabin was nestled in mountain community, a private drive that held other campsites and campers from out-of-state. Although there were others on the mountain, it felt like we had it to ourselves because the campsites are huge and people were spread few and far between. At times it was eerily quiet, but also peaceful because for once I felt that I could truly be alone with my thoughts without further distraction and disruption. The owners of the cabin made their own trails on the property. One day we took the trails to a spot they dubbed “The Lookout” and we sat on the rocks and meditated in the silence and soaked up what we could of “The Maine Woods.”

It was beautiful to actually see the stars every night. Living here in Cleveland, there is so much light pollution that you have to go to Geauga county if you want to see stars. My husband and I did the cliché thing and had smore’s and a campfire – worth it despite the mess and the bugs. It was refreshing to drink a beer and just chat my husbands ears off. We had zero cellular coverage, so without our phones, computer, tv, or internet, I felt that we could connect to one another like we are supposed to. Too often we find ourselves too busy for one other or distracted, and it can become a real problem if you don’t set out some ground rules.

Aside from basking in the beauty of our cabin retreat, we did venture out a bit. We went to the White Mountains and drove the 7.6 miles up to the summit of Mt. Washington (6,289 feet above sea level)! It was the most terrifying thing I have done. For some reason, it was scarier than the time I went up Pikes Peak and that is more than double the size! There were no guardrails, and I just keep looking over, and looking down… ugh my stomach was in knots. The views were so worth it though once you’re at the top. Unfortunately, at the summit there were clouds that would not clear! Known for the “worst weather in the world” and it is so true. On a clear day you can see the ocean! All I saw that day, was fog, fog and more fog. I felt validated though once I received the bumper sticker that says “this car climbed mt. washington.” So glad I have a Jeep.

We went to Step Falls Preserve after our Mt. Washington trip to soak in the natural pools. The falls (which are actually shaped like stairs that you can climb) had a pool at the bottom of each “stair.” The water was freezing, but you get used to it. It wasn’t as cold as the glacial waters I have been in before, so theres’ that. The water at Step Falls does flow from a mountain, but it’s not snow melt, it’s spring water. Each step you climb, you’re closer to an even more incredible view of the mountains in front of you.

While we spent the week in Western Maine, our very last day we went to Rockland and spent some time on the coast. I was dying to try a Maine lobster roll, and we ended up at Claws where I ordered the flatlandah special, a lobstah roll and a Maine blueberry soda. It was so delicious that now I’m on the hunt for good lobster rolls in Cleveland. Had we went to Rockland a little later in the year, we would’ve caught the lobster festival, which is a big deal. I didn’t realize when we were out on the water that all the buoys were lobster traps! The ocean is just filled with them in the Rockland harbor.

We went sailing while in Rockland on the Bufflehead sailing charter, a 51-year-old Schooner. We booked a 3 hour sunset sail, our first time being on a sailboat. We went out past the breakwall of the Rockland harbor and near the Owl’s Head Lighthouse. Still short of seeing a whale, but I did see some seals and porpoises. The sunset wasn’t the greatest that night and it was a bit chilly, but I still managed to enjoy the sail without getting seasick. The ocean was surprisingly calm that day.

Returning home wasn’t easy. Although we booked a hotel for Friday night, we arrived after the office closed and had no way of getting to our room. We had to call hotwire to return our money while scrambling after midnight for a new hotel. Finding rooms that late at night is really hard, especially on a weekend in the summer, on the east coast. Every hotel we called was full. We drove from Rockland, ME to somewhere in Massachusetts before we finally found a motel that would take us. I think we ended up driving for six hours and didn’t get a room until 3 am. We slept a few hours then headed back out. We would’ve just slept in our car, but it’s really nice to have a bed to sleep in when you’re making a long drive.

We’re so sad to be back in Ohio, and constantly dreaming of Maine, hoping we can return again next year. Until then, hope you enjoy our vacation video.

Happy in Maine from Rachael Brady on Vimeo.

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If We Had Coffee

I stole borrowed this idea from Greatest Escapist <- thanks!

If we had coffee…

  • I would probably tell you that I don’t even like coffee, and begin to wonder why we’re meeting at coffee shop anyway, but I guess there’s always tea (except I don’t like tea either, so water it is).
  • I would likely ramble on about how obsessed I am with Broad City at the moment. I would really like to think I’m more of an Abbi, but it’s almost scary how much my social awkwardness results in the behaviors of Ilana.
  • I might disclose that meeting people is something I rarely do but need to do more often. I’m an introvert and usually enjoy my alone time to recharge my emotional batteries.
  • You might be guessing at this point that I’m a bit of couch potato and I won’t argue that. If my husband were there, he would vouch for me. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but I’m basically in my pajamas as soon I’m off of work.
  • I sound incredibly selfish, so after I finish talking your ear off, I would probably ask how you’re doing (I don’t know why I wouldn’t open with that).

Blogging is something I’m new at. I’ve had this webpage for a year now and I haven’t made much progress. I need to get on the horse couch, and start writing again. It’s therapeutic don’t you think? If we had coffee, what would you tell me? 

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Guess Who’s Back?

Hi all!

It’s been a while since my last post. I’m now a married woman! I was so busy planning my wedding that my hobbies took the backseat for a while. I’ve been married for almost two months now, and it still doesn’t feel real. Everyone always ask’s “how’s married life” but honestly, nothing has changed. We were both pretty happy to just ‘get it over with’. Planning a wedding and having a wedding creates a huge amount of stress that I never wanted in the first place, but for personal reasons we opted to have a wedding. It’s not to say that I didn’t want to get married, but if it were up to me, we would’ve eloped. We have chosen to renew our vows next year as a redo and have it the way we intended – intimate, and private (and somewhere fun)!

More importantly, everyone always ask’s how the wedding was and it’s an embarrassment to say that I didn’t enjoy it. My husband loved every bit of it, but so many people wanted my attention, that I just couldn’t relax and have any fun. I had one drink at my entire wedding, and the by the end of the night I was in tears. “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore is my anthem. I had a relative who shall remain anon push people in front of me forcing them to dance so that the photographer could catch it… This said relative also yelled at me on my wedding day and was angry that I didn’t have a dinner prayer and tried to force another relative to initiate a prayer before our cake cutting – which was not in the program (tbh, husband and I don’t practice). It’s just frustrating when people can’t let you have your moment. This relative thought they were doing what I wanted, but they don’t actually know me that well. It’s strange to think someone can show up at your wedding and try to take it hostage, that’s just inappropriate and rude.

By the end of the night, my new husband and I were dealing with the whirlwind of emotions that happened in what felt like the blink of an eye. We ended up inviting our wedding party and our siblings back to our honeymoon suite. We had the groomsman bring our leftover kegs to the hotel, and how they managed to sneak them past security is beyond me. They rode the kegs in like a horse after they put it on a luggage cart and were racing down the hallway with them and into our room. We enjoyed the company of our friends as we drank what we could until we passed out (we still couldn’t polish off those kegs). The next morning our hotel room smelled like stale beer. Oops! We did our best to clean up and luckily we weren’t the ones footing the bill. Apologies to my dad, if there were some additional charges for cleanup fees.

My photographer however, was able to catch some of the more memorable moments, which is exactly what I had asked for. Believe it or not, my photographer had never photographed a wedding before, but he did a phenomenal job. At the last minute, the person we hired for our wedding video told us he couldn’t do photos and video, so we had to hire a friend. We trusted our photographer because he has photographed events before, and his photos were excellent. He also cut us a sweet deal because of the chaos our videographers had put us through. In the end, I’m happy to at least have photos to look back on with happy memories, and I’m super excited for the wedding video!

Brady Wedding Ceremony 2016 (32).JPGThis is one of my favorite photos of my dad walking me down the aisle.

Brady Wedding Ceremony 2016 (62).jpgThis is my favorite of us as we were just pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Brady

Brady Wedding Intermission 2016 (48).JPGWe had our wedding in Akron, OH – our hometown. We really wanted our photos to capture ‘urban’

Brady Wedding Reception (65).JPGProbably my favorite part of the whole shindig – Swensons! 

Brady Wedding Reception (209).JPGWe had our guests take selfies with polaroids – this was our form of a ‘guest book’

Brady Wedding Reception (40).JPG…and that’s a wrap, cheers!

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