Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Gettin' Hot in Here

Last year, I lived in the most freezing cold apartment you can imagine. I could literally see my breath in my room at times. The heater was useless, and though my aunt gave me a space heater, I used it sparingly in my cheapness. I slept with several blankets, knee socks, flannel pants, and a hoodie.

This year, my apartment is a lot better, though obviously it still gets cold at night. Since I don't live alone and boyfriend is not down with being freezing to, "save five cents a day or whatever" we have been setting the space heater to sixty-five and leaving it on for the night. It's a good balance, since it doesn't run constantly, but keeps us from waking up to a bedroom in the low fifties.

Normally, our electric bill is about $21. I pay it, and boyfriend pays the city bill (gas, water, trash). This month, our bill was $31.

I had a moment of well-behaved PF blogger reaction: "What! Ten more bucks! I'm going to run around the house and unplug everything that could be using electricity! No more space heater!"

Then I thought for a second and changed my reaction. "Well, it's winter, and it makes sense we'd spend a little more to stay warm. Ten bucks is not the end of the world."

Guys, I'm changing. With my Christmas splurges and shopping for myself this month, I feel it. And I'm okay with it.

In order to get out of $20,000 of debt in two years, I got serious. I banned clothes shopping. I regifted like crazy. I made my own birthday cards. I tried to convince friends NOT to exchange gifts to save money. I unplugged everything, all the time. I sold tons of stuff on Ebay and Amazon. I took on any extra paid duties at work that I could get my hands on. And I'm proud of those actions. It felt good to be aggressive in getting out of debt, since I was certainly not passive in getting into it.

But now, I think I'm striving to find balance. I'm still paying ahead on my student loan, and I have some ambitious goals for 2012. But I'm okay with buying myself some new clothes now and then. I want to be able to surprise friends with thoughtful gifts from time to time. I don't want to freeze all winter to save ten bucks a month.

I'm still budgeting each month, and tracking my spending. But I think 2012 is going to be the year of balance. How can I save and make good financial choices that are sustainable in the long-term? Yes, I will go without luxuries in order to reach the goals, but what are the extras that are worth it to me? What are the things I can spend on that will bring happiness to myself and to others?

That, along with my specific financial goals, is what I want to focus on this year.


  1. Balance is good. And I wish my bill was that low!

  2. I think finding a balance is key--just like everything in life.

    and dude, space heater is totally worth it!! my husband wakes up before i do, so he turns it on in the morning so that it's toasty when i roll out of bed at 6 am. then i turn it off. it works for me, and he doesn't get as cold as i do.

  3. Balance is key - I really enjoy your blog and have linked up to you with the Liebster Award on mine.

  4. I think that the $10 is totally worth it not to wake up to low 50's. It is about balance and finding that is key to being happy with your money management.

  5. Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blog award. Just posted about it.

  6. I love the change in your attitude, it embraces your new financial position. Earlier in the year when my husband and I had well paid off our debts and were in a good savings plan he told me off for trying to still live like a person on an unemployment benefit. The way he sees it, we work hard so we can turn the heater on or buy a new sweater.

    Best of luck for your 2012 plans, I'll be reading with great interest.