Monday, May 14, 2012

Electricity as an Entertainment Expense

Gingerbread House Details, Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA

Many things we use today for recreation are run with electricity. We watch television, DVDs, play video games, listen to stereos, and use computers. In many homes, there is more than one television set in use at the same time!

We also tend to (unknowingly) be more wasteful. We leave too many lights on, overuse the clothes dryer, and use far more water than necessary.

There was a time when electricity was only considered possible for those who had money to spare. Air conditioners, fans and even electric refrigeration was foreign to many struggling families up until the mid 1940's.

There were other ways to entertain oneself before the days of excess electricity consumption.  My childhood home had a large piano in the living room.  We children had such fun with it, even though none of us had formal lessons.  We also spent many hours outdoors - playing, running, riding bikes, having get-togethers, doing yard work, dreaming, visiting and enjoying the fresh air.

When someone, in my childhood home, was ill, a small portable television set was brought in for their use while they were bedridden for a day or two. This helped keep them comfortable and entertained while they recovered.  But it was not normal to watch lots of television, or have more than one unit running, in everyday life.

Something that might contribute to overuse of electricity is the lack of hard work being done in, and around, the home. Years ago, we would see mother sweeping the porch, hanging laundry on the line, gardening and cleaning, or decorating the home. She would wash windows (both inside and out), polish patio furniture and clean out the car. Dad would be seen playing ball with the kids, mowing the lawn, doing house repairs, and taking pride in the way his house and yard looked.   Parents found joy in taking care of the house, which made the short time of evening recreation more valuable.

I wonder what would happen if we limited the use of electricity during daylight hours.  We could use those hours to be productive and creative.  When the sun sets, we could use the unnecessary types of electricity that we all enjoy - for computers, television and the like.  This would seriously reduce our electric bills!  But most of all, it would simplify our lives and make it more rewarding.

Mrs. White

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Anonymous said...

I quite agree, Mrs. White, and believe it or not this is something that has been taking up a considerable amount of my thinking-time lately. I find myself unplugging the television (which has the DVD player, digital box, and Wii attached to it) on a regular basis; it's amazing how long it's staying unplugged anymore. We are starting to turn away from modern conveniences when we can; the radio is a "luxury" I keep, however. :) As for the computer, I think it's time it was turned off for days at a time as well. It's our last challenge.

Thank you for reinforcing what I have been contemplating for quite awhile. I'm on the lookout for a hand-crank coffee bean mill and for a stove-top coffee percolator. Time to begin replacing electric items. Or at least have a back-up for when the power goes out, right?

Off to begin my day as a happy homemaker; thank you for your posts. They encourage me regularly. Knowing someone else out there is striving to do what I do is tremendously uplifting. May you be uplifted this day!!
God bless you and yours,
Mrs. Skutt

Joy said...

I think that's an interesting idea! I'm always looking for ways to be more "unplugged," and also to save money.

The one electrical item that I have difficulty doing without is the air conditioner. Where we live it is very hot and extremely humid for much of the year. And it doesn't cool down at night, as it does in other parts of the country. I find myself unable to work well without air conditioning, and I'm very thankful for it in the summer months!

Katrinka said...

I think this is a good idea!

Emily Fay said...

This is so true! We turn off everything during the day and only use things at night. We hope to eventually (when we are on land) to use solar power and to also be electric free. What a wonderful post! Have a lovely week ahead ~

Noelle the dreamer said...

Excellent post and one to inspire many to think twice about carelessly using energy! A 'Back to Basics, attitude might just be the thing to diffuse 'family estrangement, obesity, recklessness, apathy, abuses and so on...'.
Living on an island with no amenities has taught me never to depend on it (we loose power weekly if not daily). Once that ferry is dock (7pm), that's it!
I loved the 'uplifting, feeling you mentioned, so true!
Blessings to you and yours,

Martina said...

Ouch, this one hit home, its very very true i am only 29 but i have a hard time find stuff to do, to keep myself and my kids entertained without turning on the TV or such, i was raised watching TV, now my husband and i have to make choices to not turn on our entertainment out of the box

LeAnn said...

I enjoyed this post. I agree with you; I wish myself that we were in the times of less TV and more creativity.
Thanks for the thoughts.

Marnita said...

Hi, Just wanted to say that I agree. we are limiting the TV to only sick or too many snow days. Where I am from winter gets very long.
Love you blog I have ben reading it for a while now.

Anonymous said...

I too have been doing this! Using oil lamps for light helps a lot too. We sit and talk more.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of trying to do this more often. I always tend to turn on my PC for music or use the tv as entertainment. I am a childless married woman and I get quite lonely without the noise in the background from the tv set.
I guess if I had kids it would be different. My tv and pc are my companions at times.
I need to change my habits and ways.
Say a prayer for me because this is even harder for me to do.

Cornerstone Confessions said...

This is a great idea. While focusing on something physical aka electricity you are also helping to put your finances, family, and home in proper priority/order. I would love it if you would link this up to Titus 2 Tuesdays. This would be very inspirational for some of my readers.

Hopping over from The Better Mom.


Laura O in AK said...

The boys often will leave the room with the TV or lights left on as well as laptops plugged in all night drawing a charge. I'm really trying to unplug when I can and hope it also drops the expense some. We need to do something with gas at almost $4.50 a gallon up here.

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