Habits can be tricky things. Sometimes they’re easy to establish and stick to. Other times, it seems like no matter how hard you try, they just don’t take.
And that’s when it’s time to call in the experts.
In best-selling author Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better than Before” Gretchen gives practical tips to make changes last.
“Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat about 40% of our behavior almost daily, so if we change our habits, we change our lives,” Rubin explained.
Here are a few ways you can apply some strategies from her habits manifesto to help save money in 2020.
Make it easy to do right and hard to do wrong
The classic example of this technique is to put the cookies on the top shelf in the back of the pantry, and the fruit out on the counter, washed and ready to eat. Similarly, you can make saving energy the easy option by setting your programmable thermostat. The Department of Energy recommends setting it for 68 degrees while you’re awake, and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. Once set, the thermostat does the work of changing the temp throughout the day for you.
It’s easier to change our surroundings than ourselves.
Put a sweater on, they say. A good blanket will keep you warm, they insist. Try explaining that to my five-year-old daughter who just wants to wear her Princess Elsa costume all day. That’s where this principle comes in. Instead of trying to change the will of your little princess, keep the warm in and the cold out by making sure your home is properly insulated with these guidelines. I’m also going to try to save on heating and cooling costs by checking for air leaks in these common trouble spots in our home. Because let’s face it – there’s no way any self-respecting princess is going to cover her gowns with a bulky sweater.
What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while
The little stuff really adds up when it comes to saving energy. Turn off appliances when not using them (like computer monitors and printers). Use Smart Power Strips to cut all power to equipment like DVD players, TVs, stereos, computers and kitchen appliances. Many electronics go into standby mode when you turn them off and will continue to draw a small amount of power.
By giving something up, you may gain.
If you give up smoking, you’ll gain improved health. Similarly, you could try giving up the stress of unexpected costs and hassles of appliance repair and gain peace-of-mind by signing up for Service Guard. Keeping your home’s appliances in good working order means they’ll also be in peak performance to save energy.
Things often get harder before they get easier.
Yes, this is a lot of information. It might even involve a trip to the hardware store this weekend to get started. But once you figure it all out, it will be second nature. Don’t get discouraged in the process.