Shomer Shekalim

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sweating the small things; sweating the big things

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A while ago, I was a guest at a home where the hostess was very strict about using water.  The hostess made sure her family was careful with every single drop of water with only one exception, showers.  “I cut back on water in every way possible, so I earned my nice long American showers,” she reasoned.

But the numbers disagree.  The shower is a huge chunk of the water bill and with a large family, cutting back on the showers would probably have done more than everything else combined.

Economically speaking, certain things we do just have a bigger impact than others.  A gain is not correlated to a specific pain; rather, it can be the result of a carefully chosen tactic.  While it is important to focus on the small stuff (small stuff adds up quickly), to make a huge difference in a short amount of time, there must be a focus on the big stuff as well.

The following is a list of some of the small and big things to consider:

Cutting back on water:

Small things:

– look for leaks

– use the small handle for a half a flush (when applicable)

– when washing dishes: close the tap to soap all the dishes together (or as much as can fit on your counter), then open the tap and clean them all off

Big things:

– Take a short shower (this also means turning off the water when soaping up)

– If you have a garden, water at night or in the morning and when there is the least amount of wind

Cutting back on electricity:

Small things:

– unplug appliances

– turn off lights

– change to energy efficient light bulbs

Big things:

– cut back on heating and air conditioning

– use your dryer less

–  if you have an electric heater for your water (דוד חשמל), take shorter showers

Making more money:

Small things:

– get a second job

– cut back on household expenses

Big things:

– change your career to something that pays more

– have both spouses work


What are some of the decisions or steps that you took that made the biggest difference in the shortest time?

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