In the old days, there was a popular vaudeville skit where one actor made a remark about the hot weather, and the other replied, “only fools and strangers talk about the weather in Texas.” Then, the punch line, “Yep, because that is all there is in Texas, fools and strangers.”
No reflection on the old folks in Texas, talking about the weather in Alabama isn’t very constructive either, and now that we have had the hottest temperature (94 degrees) ever recorded here in April, and last summer was the hottest summer recorded since 1895 when we began record keeping, we cringe thinking about what the really hot summer months will bring us.
The good news from the weather people is that La Nina (the cause of all this bad weather for the past two years) is sputtering out and we should go back to what we call a normal weather pattern.
Even if this is true, one thing we can be reasonably sure of is that we are going to have a long hot summer, which brings to mind air conditioning, which brings to mind the electric bill.
We all want to be comfortable and it is important that we not get over heated. Deaths caused by excessive heat are common here in the South. Make some plans now to try to handle this heat problem and how you are going to pay that electric bill.
Carefully check what you call your summer clothing. Wear the garments that allow you to feel cooler and put the slightly heavier or closer-knit garments aside for cooler weather.
Check your home. Check everything now that can save you money so you will have funds when the obsessive heat strikes.
You know that all appliances should be unplugged when not being used. Usually only the refrigerator and freezer remain plugged, but do unplug that freezer if it is not being utilized. Lights should be turned off when not needed.
Prepare your meals without heating up the kitchen. Use the microwave and unplug it when you finish. A salad and sandwich meal can be as nutritious as a hot meal. Always use any leftover food.
Strictly follow the basic energy-saving rules: caulk where needed, add insulation if appropriate, change filters, use cold water detergent and cold water for washing, line dry instead of using the dryer, use fans including ceiling fans, buy clothing that requires no ironing, close off unused portions of your house or business and be sensible about setting the thermostat.
Close blinds and pull drapes to keep the heat of the sun out of your home.
If practical, make use of vines and deciduous trees to shade windows.
While it is important that you try to determine ways you can save on electricity, this is a time when you should become extra frugal in other areas.
Food prices continue to rise and this is a category that allows you some leeway. Be certain every ounce of food purchased is used. Give this your undivided attention and you will be surprised and pleased to see the little ways you can cut your food budget.
Eating out is detrimental to your budget. This includes lunch. Take a sandwich and when it is made from last night’s supper left-overs, you are ahead of the game — plus you know what you are eating.
Practice ‘Frugality 101’. Be aware of every opportunity to save every penny. If it makes it any easier for you, give yourself a time limit; a month would be a good choice. See how much you can save in that month.
Thinking ahead should cushion the shock of receiving that big electric bill. Believe me, it is coming — so do everything you can to be prepared.