Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beatin’ the heat and saving money

Strangely enough, in the midst of this long dry stretch of hot weather, I have increased my thermostat setting for reasons of comfort not economics. It really is hot with each day exceeding 100 degrees and only “cooling off” in the evenings to the 80’s. How is it possible to reduce the A/C in times like this? Well, today while mowing my yard in sunny 103 degree weather, I wondered the same thing. How is that I have become so acclimated to these hot temperatures that it doesn’t bother me to spend 1 ½ hours mowing in the heat of the afternoon?

After some reflection over what is different now than in the past, I attribute this higher tolerance to walking my dog. Every day, no matter what the weather, I walk with my dog for at least 40 minutes and sometimes up to an hour. I occasionally miss a day or two in a row, so I am not fanatical about this, but even so the miles really do add up quickly. Would you believe that by the middle of this month I expect to complete two million steps for the year? That’s 1000 miles on foot.

How does this relate to personal finance. Well, first of all, I have increased my home thermostat by one degree. It was just too cool in the house – I would sometimes feel a chill! I don’t have the evidence to back this up, yet, but I have read that setting a thermostat one degree warmer in the summer will save 5% on the utility bill.

When discussing my walking routine with people, one of the comments or excuses that I hear most as to why they don’t walk is - weather. “It’s too hot, too windy, too cold, etc”. I always respond that that is one of the reasons I enjoy walking so much. I want to experience the outdoors, the breeze, the weather, the stars, the full moon and everything else about it. Its not like I am camping out there, its only for a short time and if the weather is bad, when you return you will have a new appreciation for your comfortable home environment.

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