Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Article to help you "Combat the Cost of Gas"

An articl
e from Leslie - I will post a new article here tomorrow and Friday early am before the start of the seminar so check back each day and check out the seminar if you need more help. It should be a great one and timely with the rising cost of EVERYTHING!!

Combat the Cost of Gas
By Leslie Valeska

Think the cost of gas is high? Me too! Today I heard a news report that predicted gas would reach $5/gallon before summer's end. The same report included information about a raise in electricity prices as well. Although it wasn't included in the reports, this will directly affect the cost of other items, especially groceries and other necessities. With all these prices rising and our paychecks remaining constant, how can a family stay within their budget?

One way to combat prices is to take a stern approach to re-evaluating your gas usage. If gas is your main source of heat and cooking energy, you are going to do a bit of number crunching as the prices continue to rise. The good news is that the winter is behind us, so there won't be heating costs. But summer is around the bend. For those of living in the south, we already have been running our air conditioners for the last few weeks.

With home cooling costs, think just inside the comfort zone. By turning your thermostat up to 78-79 degrees, your a/c will run less. If you have an automated thermostat, use the day night settings. This can really be an energy saver. If your home is cooled by means of window units, only run them when you are home during the mid season. As the hotter months come around, keep the units at a constant temperature; preferably at the warmest you can tolerate. If you still have need of a heat source and you have some type of wood burning element (stove, fireplace, soapstone insert) consider using it exclusively.

Cooking is another issue. I have spent time today trying to forecast the most efficient method of cooking with the estimated rise in cost of energy. As best I can figure with "ghost" numbers, small electric appliances will be the best methods of cooking with the least amount of money spent on gas and electric. The small appliances I evaluated and found to be the best were the crock-pot, electric skillet, counter-top grill, and microwave.

I have never cooked in a microwave (ours is nothing more than a bread box). However, using the energy sticker (your appliances will either have a sticker or an imprint of wattage on them) I was able to calculate that it would be less expensive to use the microwave to roast a chicken than either a gas or electric oven. The crock-pot yielded an even higher energy savings for roasting the same chicken. The good news for us is that spring is here and summer is fast approaching. This means that we are less inclined to want to heat up our kitchens by using the oven and stove top. Small electric appliances are an excellent resource for the homemaker to help cut energy costs.

A much over looked resource for energy efficient cooking today, is the old fashioned charcoal grill. Gas grills are wonderful (we have one). They are quick to light and heat up. However, with the cost of gas today, it can be costly. Even if you already own a gas grill, consider purchasing a charcoal grill. They can be very inexpensive for a bare bones model. Either way, grilling keeps household energy costs down.

One more food preparation option that will help with slashing home energy costs is "uncooked" dinners. These are meals that are comprised mostly, if not solely of uncooked or previously cooked ingredients. For example, salads can be made in abundance and with a great variety. Left over meat from another meal will make a great protein topping. Sandwiches are another wonderful option to use leftovers. Sandwiches can be simple or complex, you choose. Planning ahead for these types of meals is the way to go. When you are making chicken for dinner one night be sure to cook enough to stretch for another two or three simple uncooked meals. In this way you are using the energy source and heating up your kitchen only once.

These are some tips to get you thinking about how you can change a few methods you may be more accustomed to that will help you to reduce your energy costs. The next post will focus on ways to cut back on vehicle energy costs.


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