411 Focus

Comfort and economy can coexist in the New Year. Take the time to intelligently consider your finances

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

Happy New... Reality

The clock strikes… the ball drops… and confetti flies all over the place! It’s called celebration – but a mess for whoever has to clean it up! But, we won’t dwell on the mess… There’s a party to be had!

New Year’s here, and it’s time for celebrating… and a zillion resolutions we’ll keep – for a good eight days… maybe! The first on most folks’ lists will likely involve a visit to that place to which you pledged allegiance 365 days ago. If the gym were a bride, someone would be consoling her right now. But the gym’s not a person, so the almost for certain “breakup” won’t be a public affair.

Resolutions are so hard to keep, most of the time because we do them alone. There’s no oversight! You’re just “out there” – friendless, all by yourself, with no one to notice when you start slipping… and fall face-first – finally – off the wagon!

What if you made a different resolution this year – one which didn’t require leaving the house… one that didn’t require a monthly membership fee… one that had absolutely no money tacked onto it – EVER? What if you just went on your merry way, month after month, following the routine you’ve followed since you first shouldered the responsibilities you shouldered at the end of 2017, but with a bit of tweaking? Are you on board? Then let’s go!

Today we look at, not expending, but a shorter word – spending! Maybe you haven’t thought of it, but that’s where our money goes: We spend it! Much of the time, we spend it – and we don’t even have it! I know, spending is unavoidable, but we can plug a few holes. Let’s start with energy.

Nipsco’s energy audit is discontinued, but visit https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/assessYourHome for useful info to help you save. Adjust your thermostat. Turn it down 2 or 3 degrees and, if it’s a bit chilly, wear a sweater. Cover your windows with plastic and use heavier drapes in the winter. I live in an older home, so after I felt the inside of my back door, I made it a “coat,” complete with a plastic window!

Buy a programmable thermostat (Don’t fret the cost: It’ll pay for itself!), and set it to warm your house 15 minutes before you get up, down 15 minutes before you leave. Shut off rooms you won’t use at night, and use extra covers, which are healthier for breathing than too-warm air.

Turn off lights not in use. Turn off/unplug chargers, extensions, “power sticks,” etc., not being used.

Really use the water you use! For showering, I encourage “L & L” – loosen and leave: Loosen the dirt. Let it leave. That’s all you want. You want whatever has taken an “unappreciated liking to you” to leave. Remember when somebody you couldn’t stand had a crush on you? Do it to dirt. Do it to odor. You loosen it with moisture, soap, and friction, a process that doesn’t take forever. You don’t need a “forever flush”… Just rinse and dry. You haven’t been hog-wrestling! Letting the water run for just 10 minutes can use over 15 gallons of water (http://www.atsecosolutions.com/saveonshowering.html). That doesn’t take into consideration the energy used to heat the water – all of which goes on your utility bill!

It’s time for families – adults and children, especially teens – to together consider how to save money that can be used in other ways; for every dime or dollar you spend unnecessarily can be used for something you want or need – or, it can be saved.

Comfort and economy can coexist. Take the time to intelligently consider your finances, and include your children. While they may not appreciate it now, they will later.

Don’t drop the ball. Who knows what “mess” will be “on the other side of the calendar” when the pages are flipped, as Ray Charles sang, “Further on up the road…”?

Story Posted:12/30/2017

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