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shortfatbalduglyman
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08 Feb 2024, 1:28 pm

According to an article, the utility companies where I live, recently raised the costs and are planning to keep raising them.

My worthless corpse only earns minimum wage.

Plenty of my coworkers earn minimum wage and some of them pay utilities, rent, five children, vacations, boxing lessons, gym membership, cars, and et cetera.

What is the correct method of paying for utilities (and other expenses listed in the third paragraph, or any other expenses not listed in the post), while earning only minimum wage?



Dear_one
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08 Feb 2024, 3:11 pm

I read my meter every day, and by being aware of what I did on the days of higher consumption, I've reduced it about 20%. Unfortunately, the demand for economical housing far exceeds the supply, but people do keep finding niches.



rse92
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08 Feb 2024, 3:33 pm

Work overtime?



IsabellaLinton
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08 Feb 2024, 3:36 pm

I live almost exclusively by candlelight, or battery-operated fairy lights.
I keep everything unplugged when I'm not using it.
I don't listen to radios or watch TV.
I don't have a microwave.
About the only thing I plug in regularly is my laptop.


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Dear_one
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08 Feb 2024, 3:58 pm

If you want to save on energy, it helps to know where to focus, and what's trivial. Things that can run for a long time on a small battery, such as radios, draw very little power. Things that quietly make heat are usually the biggest draws. LED lights are about a hundred times more efficient than candles, unless you need the heat as well. Everything that plugs in has the power use listed along with the serial number, etc, and it is easy to read. If it does not give watts directly, just multiply volts by amps. Rechargeable batteries make a lot less waste than single-use cells, but a lot more than an AC adapter, sometimes called a wall wart.



Last edited by Dear_one on 08 Feb 2024, 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

IsabellaLinton
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08 Feb 2024, 4:00 pm

I can't stand LED lights, personally.
I have sensory issues with all lighting but LED is worse than fluorescent, even.


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Dear_one
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08 Feb 2024, 4:04 pm

LED IS fluorescent, just energized differently. You just have to shop for the right mix of phosphors. Ott lights are the best for simulating daylight. There are LEDs that produce pure red, green, and blue, with a very narrow spectrum, and these can be combined to approximate white for a computer screen, but lighting devices usually use phosphors to produce more wavelengths.
I never liked fluorescent, and was not happy about going to work in a sign shop using them. After a couple of weeks, I realized they were fine, so I grabbed a ladder to read the labels, and they were premium-price Daylight tubes. We were doing colour matching, so we needed them.



Last edited by Dear_one on 08 Feb 2024, 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

IsabellaLinton
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08 Feb 2024, 4:09 pm

I can only do electric light if it's coloured (red, blue, green, maybe a bit of soft gold).
I have "regular" bulbs in the ceiling lights but don't put them on ever.
Daylight or sunlight sound like hell to me.
I can't even tolerate real daylight or sun.
I wear blue tinted glasses in the house even if there are no lights on.

Sorry to derail the topic but I have profound sensory issues.
It's certainly been one way to cut down on the leccy bills.
If only my kids would learn to shut lights off in their rooms.


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ToughDiamond
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08 Feb 2024, 4:57 pm

I don't know how anybody manages to live on the minimum wage. Maybe you could ask them how they do it. They might feel flattered by your admiration for their achievement and thus willing to explain.

Beyond that, I suppose living on a tiny income is a matter of making every dollar count, of thinking before you spend or consume anything. Do you really need it? Is there a cheaper way? Can you make / repair stuff instead of buying it new? Maybe there's a food pantry, assuming you're not already using one. I've heard of church charities that will pay an overdue electricity bill when the user gets a shutoff notice for non-payment, but it seems a risky strategy and if you're as secular as I am, you won't like the bit where they get you to pray with them, if they do that.

The hippies I knew were often good at finding ways of doing things without spending much money. I wish I could remember more of their tricks. I used to have a book called Alternative London which was full of ideas for getting stuff for nothing.

At one time I got obsessed with reducing my grocery bills to the absolute minumum. I went round every shop and took notes on the prices, and was surprised how much I could save by using that information. I took it to extreme levels, and people were surprised how low my food bills were. But it was a lot of work, and I had the advantage of coming from a family who'd always had to be very thrifty, so it was already in my nature to be a cheapskate. I was also lucky enough to have something like a reasonable income, so I had the spare money to bulk buy stuff while it was cheap. They didn't have central heating for ages. My parents just heated the living room with a gas fire, and if they really wanted to heat another room, they'd use a small paraffin heater which didn't make it very warm but was very cheap to run.



y-pod
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08 Feb 2024, 5:06 pm

Maybe look into some utility subsidy for low income people in your state or city? Last time I looked the price of electricity in the US shocked me.

I know people who bought gym membership and goes everyday to take shower and keep warm (and fit). Then they save a lot of water and heat. :) Hmm now I think about it I think there might be discounts for low-income people, too. You just have to apply.

Another option is spending a lot of time in public facilities like library, community centers. Read their stuff or your own device until close time. Go home and get to bed early. You'll hardly use any electricity. :) When I was a student I stayed in computer labs until security guards tell me to go at night. :D


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Last edited by y-pod on 08 Feb 2024, 5:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

colliegrace
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08 Feb 2024, 5:06 pm

Usually households that can live on that have multiple incomes. I earn above minimum wage, but not exactly a living wage. I live with my mom and we both tackle the bills with our combined income. My mom probably makes about as much as I do.


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Dear_one
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08 Feb 2024, 5:16 pm

One thing that astonishes me is all the moaning about the price of a one-bedroom apartment. I was quite content with one room and a shared kitchen and/or bathroom.
One time, I rented a whole house and sublet the upstairs, living almost free in the basement.
Another friend with a cheap travel trailer that was not welcome many places was gladly received as an on-site watchman at a remote site. Most other people would not have liked the isolation.



ToughDiamond
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08 Feb 2024, 5:35 pm

y-pod wrote:
Maybe look into some utility subsidy for low income people in your state or city? Last time I looked the price of electricity in the US shocked me.

Yes it's bad, but it was even worse in the UK. The gov had to send out relief payments to avoid a huge public health crisis. Doesn't help that the companies charge more for the first x units than they do for additional units. That means the poor and frugal are paying relatively more than the rich, and it encourages the rich to waste energy.

At least in the USA heat pumps are pretty commonplace. Said to be 3 to 6 times more efficient than traditional electric space heating, but few people have heat pumps in the UK.



autisticelders
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09 Feb 2024, 8:24 am

in the USA you can apply for help paying utilities if you meet the test for low income. Social services offices are in every county in the USA, and you can ask 211 online or on the phone about resources for help in your area. (USA) If you can get help from food banks, get on food stamps/link/ etc more of your budget can be used for paying utilities and rent.
balancing the budget is really a struggle, in many places there might be a little help available. It could be worth checking out to see what programs you might qualify for.


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QuantumChemist
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09 Feb 2024, 8:56 am

One trick to reduce your electric bill is to shop for items that use less energy than the ones you are currently using. For example, old tube TVs require a lot more electricity than efficient led TVs. You can find the energy efficient stuff at thrift stores if you look hard enough. The cheapest way is to forgo those items altogether. However most people still want certain modern luxuries in their lifestyles.



shortfatbalduglyman
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16 Feb 2024, 9:23 pm

autisticelders wrote:
in the USA you can apply for help paying utilities if you meet the test for low income. Social services offices are in every county in the USA, and you can ask 211 online or on the phone about resources for help in your area. (USA) If you can get help from food banks, get on food stamps/link/ etc more of your budget can be used for paying utilities and rent.
balancing the budget is really a struggle, in many places there might be a little help available. It could be worth checking out to see what programs you might qualify for.

____________________________________________________________________________

the utilities are under my sister's name, not mine. she is not low income.