This month, I have been converting my whole house to LED lighting. It’s like a revelation! I can’t recommend them highly enough.
The old energy saving bulbs affected my epilepsy but they have been criticised for emitting a grey light that causes headaches and possibly even mood problems. So LEDs…could be a really good solution for a lot of people.
All my rooms are lit from corner lamps. And because of my photosensitivity, I used halogen bulbs as an alternative. The thing is, I am nocturnal and I have a lot of lighting! I didn’t ever stop and work out the costs though. Until now!
LEDs use v little electricity and give out a full spectrum white light that doesn’t mess with my epilepsy. These miraculous lights use so little electricity, they don’t get hot. You can touch them and they are barely warm. It’s almost bizarre.
To illustrate how much less they cost…a 16w LED bulb gives out equivalent light of a 100w bulb. My halogen bulbs for equivalent of 100w were about 70w.
The initial outlay was high due to the number of lights I have. But also because I’ve fallen in love with remote control colour changing bulbs! So every room now can change colour at the push of a button – literally. And every room can be lit with white light too. No compromise. Total versatility. Nothing bad I can say about them apart from at the moment they are still expensive to buy…so if you have a lot of lights or want a lot of lighting options, total conversion can be a bit expensive.
However, the initial cost really must be looked at as an investment. I’m a total nerd so I bothered to do the maths – to see how much my lighting costs in actual electricity use and excluding the cost of replacement bulbs was. And I could only be approximate but it was at least £500 a year. Might actually closer to £600 because being nocturnal does mean my costs are probably way higher than most. Probably closer to £700 if you consider the replacement bulbs over the year. Possibly more. I really have never kept track of it. Like if someone asked you much you spend on rolls in a year…most people would have no idea. It is necessity so we don’t think about it. I have no idea much I spend on loo rolls or light bulbs.
But in terms of electricity use, the new bulbs will cut the electricity for just lighting by two thirds. That’s a massive amount…saving £50 or £60 every month! It really adds up.
So…feeling the warm glow (no pun intended) of cool lighting (no pun intended), I bothered to check that my household accounts in detail.
It was enlightening (no pun intended!). In overpaid direct debits and overpayment of tax I got a big windfall (about £4000) and reduced my monthly bills by £180.
I have run my own household for over 20 years and was really surprised it could mount up like that. I do the accounts for my business. It’s nothing new. So how could I end up owed so much and with outgoing that could be reduced by a third with a couple of phone calls?
The last time I even worked out my household accounts were when my brother lived here and paid half of them. But of course a lot of bills are higher if there are other people in the house…more hot water, more lighting, more heating and the council tax is higher.
My (no-good, freeloading) ex didn’t work when he lived here but he was a massive expense while he did – over doubled my food bill for a start! So my cost of living did drop pretty quickly! (The emotional and practical side of living with someone who (claims) he is mentally ill (I say “claims” because he also claimed his parents manipulated him into moving back with them…and claimed he was having emergency psychiatric help…his family denied it so I think he was just a freeloader but on a number of levels in retrospect).
Anyway, the gist is…it was a long time since I sat down and did my household accounts in detail and last time I did, my living costs were inflated because I was paying for his living costs too.
I think the reason outgoings can slip by unnoticed is partly complacency – and partly because banking has changed a lot since I first bought my home. In the old days of paper statements, I would naturally pay more attention to my bank account because at the end of every month I would be writing cheques for bills. But now I bank online and all those bills are on direct debit so I don’t have a reason to scrutinise my accounts.
So not only do I want to recommend LED bulbs…but for those who don’t scrutinise their bank account, if you want to save money, have a proper look. Go through your direct debits and standing orders. And you might find similar to me!
First step in organising your finances should be checking your accounts…but if I am a total geek about these things and my complacency was costing me hundreds of pounds a year, I am sure I’m not the only one!
Anna Louise May (Maya) | Mystic Muse & Artist
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