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Five ways Divas can reduce utility bills

Thank you! This week marks the one-year anniversary writing this column for the Pahrump Valley Times. Thanks for reading and for your support as we grow Divas into a series of books and a TV/Internet show. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

So you’ve put a lock box over your thermostat and have the key guarded by traps that would make Indiana Jones shudder. Your doors and windows are hermetically sealed, your fans are turned to high, and you barbecue everything but oatmeal. If you still gasp when those power bills come, there are more things you can do to bring down energy usage without living by candlelight.

1. Use your stovetop and microwave more than your oven. Your oven uses oodles more energy than the stove top. Microwave a frozen casserole instead of warming it in the oven. According to the Energy Star Program you could save up to 80 percent on your energy usage. Also, don’t let pots go topless! Think modesty when it comes to heating things up … in the kitchen. Food cooks faster with the lid on.

2. When you use your crock pot, consider placing it outside in a protected area so you won’t heat up your kitchen. I say protected because you need to consider animals that may be attracted by the aroma of your Diva-licious food. On the other hand, using a crock pot can help heat your kitchen in the winter. Make some soup!

3. Divas aren’t all wet. Saving water saves money. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth or wash your hands. Use a timer for watering your landscaping and don’t over water your plants. Take shorter showers instead of baths. Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge to keep from having to let the water “run cold” for a drink. If you have a pool, use a cover to slow evaporation.

4. Cook meats from room temperature. The same goes for casseroles, eggs and other refrigerated dishes. I’m NOT telling you to leave your steak on the counter for hours, just take the chill off. Your meat will cook better too because setting cold meat on a hot cooking surface shocks the meat and it will cook unevenly. If you’ve pre-made a casserole, take it out of the fridge at least 45 minutes before cooking. Not only will your food be tastier but you save a couple of dimes in energy costs, and by dimes I mean dollars.

5. Keep in touch with your old flame. Have the pilot for your stove, oven, water heater and fireplace adjusted. If the pilot is incorrectly adjusted you’ll waste a lot of gas. Call your local gas company for help. Some gas companies even offer free service calls to do it for you!

Frugal Financial Fodder contributed by Patti Diamond author of Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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