Just one short week ago, you were all treated to the greatest post in the history of all time. Go back and relive the greatness that can only be delivered by stomping on someone else’s hard work. Yes, I’m talking about the one and only Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar, which just might be the greatest personal finance blog of all… yeah, I just can’t type that with a straight face.
Trent is on the Twitter, where he “update(s) with interesting links and thoughts a couple times a day – and no boring conversation you don’t care about!” Well, thank God. Nobody likes boring conversation, least of all Trent. I mean, have you looked at his blog? Wait, don’t answer that.
Anyway, how’s that updating Twitter a couple times a day thing going Trent? A quick glance at his Twitter profile shows he hasn’t tweeted since October 28th. He must be pacing himself for an onslaught of interesting tweets in about 2014. So, you know, stay tuned for that.
Meanwhile, back to the 365 days of living cheap series. As an aside, you should really read the whole series. Not for the posts themselves, but for the comments. They’re pretty funny. Honestly.
Anyway, let’s do this thing. First up, refrigerator temperatures.
Let’s cut straight to the chase.
In Trent’s 5 plus year writing career, he has never done that.
The sweet spot for any refrigerator is between 39 and 40 F. This is the temperature at which bacterial growth is inhibited but the difference between your refrigerator and the ambient temperature outside of your refrigerator is minimized.
In other words, keeping your refrigerator’s internal temperature at about 39 F will keep your food safe while minimizing your energy costs.
Simple, right? Well, not quite so simple.
Trent goes on to explain that you could save $10 per year by just adjusting the temperature. He doesn’t actually bother to do the math or anything (this isn’t such a bad thing) he just pulls the number out of his ass.
A fridge cools down air from room temperature (70 degrees F or so) to approximately 37 degrees, which is freezing. My water doesn’t freeze in my fridge, so I’m assuming it’s set at around 37 or 38 degrees, since there’s only one person on this earth who cares about refrigerator temperatures.
Trent actually thinks that adjusting the temperature knob by a couple of degrees is going to lower the energy usage by 20%. I’m not going to argue that it doesn’t make a difference, of course it will. But the appliance is lowering the temperature of 70 degree air. The difference between 38 degrees and 40 isn’t going to be much.
Apparently a full fridge will cool more efficiently than an empty one. Most people’s fridges are full. Problem solved! Next!
Another useful tactic is to thaw frozen foods in the fridge instead of on the counter. As frozen foods thaw, they cool the air around them. This is a good thing in a refrigerator that you want to keep cool internally. It’s a bad thing most of the time outside of the refrigerator, as it’s not going to provide a significant enough effect to keep your air conditioner from running any significant amount and it’s going to work in a small way against your furnace.
So that’s why my heat bill is so much. I thought it was because I lived in cold, cold Canada. Silly me.
Stained items of clothing are pre-treated to make the stain easy to remove. Soiled clothes are often washed outside with the hose over the garden (so that the extra water just waters the garden) before they ever come inside.
Yep, taking the clothes outside and washing them off with the hose is definitely a better use of your time than just putting them in the machine with some Spray n Wash. What’s a bottle of that stuff run these days, like 6 bucks?
Trent lives in Iowa. Does he do this in the winter too? I think that may be my favorite piece of “advice” Trent has ever given. Water is expensive, people!
An outdoor clothesline lets you capture the power of the wind to dry your clothes. The wind billows through, gently drying your clothes and making them smell fresh in a way that a dryer just can’t quite recapture.
How much does this actually save? Mr. Electricity reports that if you run 7.5 dryer loads per week and have a $0.15 per kWh rate from your electric company, you’ll save just shy of $200 per year by air-drying your clothes. Given how quickly I can hang up and take down clothes (remember, there’s no loading or unloading of the dryer if you do it this way), it’s worth it for me to do this most of the time.
Ah, once again Trent is using the worst case scenario to prove his point. I do one load of laundry a week. Yes, I’m a single guy, so logic would dictate a family of 4 would do… 4 loads of laundry a week. (Math is hard) Yes, kids do dirty clothes faster than grown ups. But those clothes are also smaller, hence more would fit into a load.
Also, I call BS on the argument that Trent can take the clothes from the washer, hang them/drape them over things, and then go back and then unhang them/fold them/put them away faster than a normal person’s wash/dry/fold/put away routine. He’s got an extra step in there.
Besides, we live in North America, the land of affluence. We have cell phones and cable TV and Netflix subscriptions. Spend like $8 a month to use the dryer. It’ll be okay.
Let’s say that I would spend $25 on a six quart pot from the local store versus $200 (!) for an enameled cast iron 5.5 quart pot from Le Creuset. The six quart pot comes with a three year warranty, while the enameled cast iron pot comes with a 101 year warranty.
Apparently there are no pots between $25 and $200.
Also, I’d be impressed if Trent could still find the receipt like 74 years after he bought his pot. Assuming the Le Creuset pot company is still in existence. Am I the only one who hopes Trent bought it at Stoner’s Pot Palace?
Hey, how many Feedburner subscribers does Trent have? (Check’s site, sees over 90k subscribers) (Goes to find one of those $200 pans to smash into my forehead)