Well last Saturday night I had a very interesting evening. My wife was reading about Earth Hour and thought it would be a fun time. I personally thought it would be a joke, don’t turn your lights on for an hour? Come on I’ve already hack down my energy bills to the bone. So I thought let’s try for something a little more interesting. So we decided to try to do an Earth Evening where we would avoid turning on the lights for the entire evening.
I have to admit I was surprised to learn a few things about myself during that evening. First off I’m really in the habit of turning on lights. Even with candles going in the house I still had the reflex to reach for a light switch a few times.
The second thing I learned was that our two times where we did turn on a light could have been avoid with a little more planning. The first was during a diaper change, where a flash light could have made due. The second was just before we were going to bed where my wife turned on a light because she blew out one of the last candles down stairs and didn’t have a light with her to come up.
I think the part of the evening I enjoyed most was reading to our son his stories by flashlight. He keep waving the light around so trying to read the actual story was much more challenging than normal.
So what does all this have to do with personal finance? Well it’s about discussing the value of social experiments. Despite the fact I didn’t think I would learn all that much from this little experiment I did learn I can live without power for my lights. So even if the parameters are artificial like not spending any more for a week where you remember to stock up the fridge before you start. It still can be useful to teach you about your own habits. Only by breaking out of your normal routine do you really see what you are doing and are forced to ask yourself “Did I really miss that?” By playing these little mind games with yourself you can determine what really is important to you and reduce or remove the unnecessary spending and complications from your life.
So here are a few ideas of experiments your might what to try yourself:
- How low can you go? Take any bill you get monthly and try to see in a month how low of a bill you can get. Ideas include: water, power, or natural gas.
- What can I live without? Try removing an activity from your life for a set period of time, such as eating out for a month. Then find out where did you miss it and why? What do you like about eating a home or what did you dislike?
If you have another idea of something to try or you have done please leave a comment and share.