Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How low can you go?

Something I love about budgeting is pushing myself to do things more cheaply or efficiently. I think part of the reason I agreed to move to the middle of nowhere was to see how just cheaply we could live!

As I've said before, the Bushmans haven't always been so cheap. It has a been a process--a journey of thrift.

Take heating our home for example. Long, long ago we (like normal people) used to keep our house thermostat set at a comfortable 74 degrees. Sometimes, when I got cold, I would even turn it up beyond that! Imagine!

When we decided we wanted to start cutting back financially, we turned the thermostat down to 70 degrees, then moved quickly down to 68 degrees. We held at 68 as our standard temperature for a couple of winters. Then three Christmases ago everyone got sweatshirts and sweaters as gifts (used, of course) and we baby stepped our way down to 60 degrees. That was our standard winter temperature setting until we moved mainly because, well, our thermostat was a digital one and literally wouldn't allow us to set it any lower.

When we moved to our current home we found it has one of those old non-digital thermostats. Here's a picture of it:

I was SO excited for two reasons.
1. We don't need batteries to make the thermostat work (unlike the digital thermostat in our old house) which means money saved on batteries and less battery changing hassle.
2. Our new thermostat goes down to 50 degrees!

So, of course, our new standard has been 50 degrees! Its so exciting! Think of all we'll save! I know you are thinking: 50 degrees, that's crazy! And you are probably right. However, it doesn't really feel too bad to us because our house is so much smaller and also because we baby stepped our way here. Also, the weather is not so cold yet and our house has been naturally hovering around 60 degrees except at night when we are tucked snugly into bed (at which point it drops closer to 50).

I'm not suggesting that you keep your house at 50 degrees, but I challenge you to put on an extra layer of clothes and turn down your thermostat a couple of degrees this winter. You may be surprised at how much you save AND how little it really affects you after you get used to it.

By the way, this 50 degree extreme is quite temporary as we will soon be getting a NEW WOOD STOVE!!!! I can't wait!


  1. My husband grew up in a house with no central heat, only wood stoves. So when I met him he was pretty much clueless as to the relation between the thermostat and the monthly utilities bill. He would have that thing set on 80 degrees, blegh! We're inching our way down, too. But it's slow. We now keep it on 68 most of the time, and I have it go much lower during the day and at night. But it's still a contentious issue in our house. A wood stove is on my wish list, that would solve a lot of problems!

  2. my dad's standard when i was growing up was thermostat at 65... and then he'd have us haul wood for a big fire.

    my mom's current standard is 55 in winter, and she and my stepdad hang out mostly in one room and maybe have a space heater going while they're in there.

    i stayed in their attic last winter, and am comfortable without heat down to the mid 20s, but i need someplace warmer than that during the day.

    my goal for my house is ground temperature, which is about 50 if you go deep enough. we'll see how that works out in a year or two!



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