Monday, June 30, 2008

A Month of Green

Today brings an end to the month of June and also to the month that I was focusing on being more green in a few areas.

The first area I focused on was simply not using plastic bags. I had hoped not to bring one single bag into the house this month, and although I failed to meet that goal, I didn't fail miserably. We brought less than 10 plastic bags into the house this month, which was WAY less than our regular average. We managed to use reusable bags for almost all purchases. The bags that we did get will be used for purchases at our garage sale.

Which brings me to the second area I focused on - purging. I lost count of the things going out, but I can assure you that we have at least 300 items less than we started the month with.

This is just a portion of the stuff we have sifted through for our garage sale (all of the boxes are full). The garage sale will be sometime next week, and it's going to be a barn burner, that's for sure.

Finally, I vowed to really pay attention to our electricity usage and the hourly rates in an effort to reduce our energy bill. This is probably the area where we had the best success, and it certainly wasn't because of mild weather. We had a lot of very hot weather this past month and had to run our air conditioner because it was simply unbearable. I did, however, check the hourly rates before running the dishwasher and doing laundry, and it was a real eye opener. Our billing cycle runs from mid month to mid month so it's a little deceptive as to savings during the entire month of June, but nevertheless, we managed to save $48 over what the bill would have been on the flat rate plan. That was a 21% savings. It's really an accomplishment because most people are only saving a small percentage on the hourly plan and even less in the summer. Our average total savings over the last year has been $331, which was about 16% less than it would have been on the flat rate plan.

I plan to continue with the good things we started this month. I'm going to make a few more reusable bags so that it's more enticing to use them; I'll definitely be watching the hourly rates (that was a real eye opener for me), and although our garage sale may be over and done with next week, I still plan to keep a ongoing box of items for a future sale or donation.

So what's up for the month of July? I have a couple of ideas, although at least one of them is sort of a dirty little secret that I usually prefer to keep to myself. However, I may just shame myself into forward motion by sharing here. I'll have to sleep on that one, so check back on July 1 to see what the project of the month will be.