This is only my first apartment, so obviously I’m no expert, but these are the things I do to keep down my utility bills and save money:
Use as much natural light as possible. I have three windows in my apartment and unless I’m naked, I keep the blinds open and the lights off. Besides, natural light is prettier.
I turn off any lights I’m not using.
Turn down/off the heat at night and when I leave the apartment. No point in heating an empty apartment and at night I load up on blankets and clothes to keep me warm. Plus my heater heats up the room so quickly that it’s better to just throw off a blanket if I get hot than to get up 5 times during the night to fiddle with the thermostat.
I keep most of the kitchen appliances unplugged since I only use them every few days.
Reach for a sweater before you reach for the thermostat. I opt for warmer clothes before changing the settings on my heater.
I use the dishwasher over hand washing dishes. It actually uses only a few gallons of water. I put it on the energy saver dry setting so the dishes will air dry.
My electricity bill is usually between $40-$50 in the winter. The last one was $18 (used almost no heat). I think that’s pretty good. The power company has quoted me bills in this apartment and others during winter as much as $150! The water and gas bills are pretty constant. Now I’m researching how to keep down AC bills as the Hotlanta summer comes. Got any tips?
After several months of living in panic- I hate my job! Now I don’t have one! Where am I going to live?! Am I wearing out my welcome?! Am I going to have to go back to Kentucky?! What the hell am I going to do?!- things have finally settled down. I have my own apartment, a steady(ish) stream of income, and the confidence that everything is going to be ok. Now that I’ve gotten the basics of food and shelter out of the way and I’m not an emotional wreck, I can move onto other concerns.
My original purpose for quitting college and moving to Atlanta was to discover what I wanted to do with my life. That process was set aside while I got back on my feet, and now I’m ready to go after it again. Here are my interests and possible options at the moment:
American Sign Language: I love ASL. I love the energy and emotion of the language. I love interacting with deaf people and I ache to sign more. (Especially since moving because I don’t know anyone here who signs.) Of all the subjects I’ve studied in school, ASL was my favorite. I never missed class and I would frequent as many extra-curricular signing events as possible. I was a deaf camp counselor and I became great friends my ASL professor and my classmates. (Team Awesome!) I constantly sign without realizing it and I’m eager to get back to signing regularly. And although I enjoy trying to interpret songs, I don’t think I want to be an interpreter. I’m more interested in the language than playing communication middle-man.
Photography/Video: Photography has been a long-time passion for me. I started sophomore year in high school and by senior year was known as “the girl with the camera”. I was Miss Journalism, spending half the day (and many evenings) in the newsroom working on the newspaper and yearbook. I was absolutely sure that I was going to be a photojournalist and work for a newspaper. I went to Western Kentucky University, which boasts one of the best PJ programs in the nation. It was in the program that I realized I wanted nothing to do with journalism (I hate hunting and invading people’s personal lives). I did however love my studio and multimedia classes. I often dream up portrait and video ideas. I realized I wanted to work the business side of photography, using the craft to promote businesses. I’m still pretty new to video, but I’m just bursting with ideas.
Working with Kids/Teaching: This one is a bit more vague. I like kids, but it seems I can only work with other people’s children in certain capacities or my brain melts. Nannying? No way. Teaching at a homeschool co-op? Totally! Chaperoning high schoolers? Oh god. Shooting photos with high schoolers and helping their technique? Completely satisfying. Herding a large group of deaf kids through their camp schedule? Oh dear. Interacting with deaf kids one on one about their interests? Love it! I think I like talking and interacting with kids, even teaching and guiding them, but I absolutely loathe disciplining kids. That’s the mommy’s job! (Especially because I feel closer in maturity to the kids sometime more so than the adults.) I’d much prefer to hang out with a kid and talk about awesome stuff.
Pretty Things: I like pretty clothes. And pretty decorations. And pretty knitting patterns. And pretty crafts. And pretty photos. And pretty page design. I notice a large bulk of my free time is spent looking at pretty things on the internet, in thrift shops, in knitting books, and just imagining things in my head. I have no idea how that translates into a career path, but damn do I think about pretty stuff a lot.
Blogging: I really enjoy blogging. There are slumps and dry spells, but I do enjoy thinking up posts and the pride I get from publishing them. It’s been a great way to track progress in my life over the years and to meet new people. In fact, blogging is what led me to Atlanta. (That is reading Jenn’s blog, meeting her and the Atlanta people, then deciding this was the place to be.) I really want to devote more time to it so I can produce more creative and consistent material. I’m constantly inspired by the fashion/decorating blogs I read and I want to be as successful as they are.
Art Modeling: I’m coming to really enjoy it. I love meeting the artists, seeing the artworks progress, and knowing I had a part in it. Modeling is also revolutionizing the way I view my body. And the pay is great.
So, I’ve got a lot on my plate. Having too many options was one of the reasons I left school. Now it’s time to dig through them and see which ones work best for me. At the moment, this is the plan for each:
American Sign Language: Take classes at Georgia Perimeter College and possibly get the interpreting certificate there. It’s not a degree and it doesn’t qualify me as an interpreter, but I don’t think I want to be one. It’s a great way to keep up with ASL, meet other signers, make contacts in the deaf community, and test the waters in ASL-related fields. If at the end of the certificate I do want to interpret, I can always transfer the credits and finish up a bachelors, which is what I’d have to do anyways to be a nationally certified terp.
Photography/Video: I hope to push myself creatively by working on a personal project relating to Atlas Shrugged and doing promotions for the Atlanta Objectivist Society. I might try doing some regular videos fro the blog too, if I have time. I also want to get out of the motivational rut I’ve been in since college and start taking pictures regularly again. Not sure how to do it yet, but there’s a post in the making about it.
Working with Kids/Teaching: I’ve been teaching ASL and photography at a local homeschool co-op. I don’t know if I’ll be teaching again next year, but I hope to offer more classes in the future after working on the curriculum a bit. I’m also interested in doing some baby-sign classes with local mommies. That’s more of a long term goal. I plan to do deaf camp again, but hopefully more as a photographer and less of a counselor.
Pretty Things: I’m going to focus on prettying up the apartment, working on my various knitting projects, and my photography. I also want to work on honing my style, so lots of visits to the thrift store!
Blogging: I hope to be working from home soon, which will allow me the flexibility to blog when the mood strikes, as opposed to having to wait till work is over. I plan to try to expand my readership, create more in depth posts, and post more of my photography. I hope one day to get sponsors and monetize the blog a bit. I have no idea how that would work, since most of the blogs I see making money are fashion blogs with accompanying online shops. I have nothing to sell and I have no desire to post pictures of my daily outfits. But I figure that working hard to create a better blog will lead to the solution of creating wealth from it.
Art Modeling: Working from home will also give me the flexibility to book more modeling gigs. I’ve been pretty successful so far and next year looks promising. Till then I plan to network among local artists and possibly set up a website for myself once there are more finished paintings of me.
That’s the plan. There’s a lot in the works and I’m very excited. I’ll update as things progress. Please leave any suggestions for the blog or pursuing my interests in the comments. I’d love to hear from my readers and get a dialogue going.
While I was away from my blog I was having a spectacular time. Here are some highlights from my break:
Travis and Colleen’s wedding! There was dancing, amazing food, new people to meet, and all my friends were all prettied up! It was a beautiful event with a view of the skyline. After the reception we all went to a nearby bar and celebrated Jenn’s 40th birthday at midnight!
My boyfriend visited from Texas. It was great to get some quality time with him. We watched a ton of movies, cooked, hung out with friends, and generally lounged about.
I got to show off my apartment to my friends and we toasted with champagne. I can’t wait to whip the place into shape for more socializing. Game night!
I cooked a paleo(ish) Thanksgiving dinner all by myself! I made duck, roasted grape tomatoes, and potatoes cooked in duck fat with Ben and Jerry’s for dessert. It was a nice little meal, given that it was just for two and I am working with limited kitchen ware. We ate everything in one go and I made stock with the leftover bones.
Kelly had a small read aloud at her house. It was so much fun! There was a fire and drinks and I felt like we were in a modern day salon! I didn’t read, but Morgan and I did perform “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in sign language. I hope to do it again soon.
I got started on Christmas decorations. I love Christmas. It’s so sparkly and benevolent. I’m making my own decorations out of paper, yarn, and a few knick-knacks from the craft store. I’ll be sure to post more about that later.
I’m really excited about everything going on in my life at the moment. I’ve finally gotten past most of the yuckiness of trying secure a job and roof over my head. I’m back on my feet and working towards new goals for the future. (That’s another post to come.) All in all I am super happy and plan to continue kicking ass.
Hooray for me! I am FINALLY in my apartment. It took a lot of bouncing around to get here, but it’s all been worth it to get my own place. Thank you so much to everyone who’s given me support. A BIG thanks to Michael and Jessica Stone, who took me in for a month and a half after my nanny gig. Without they’re help and generosity I’d be back in Kentucky for sure.
My place isn’t much yet. No real furniture or anything. Just bare walls and a pile of boxes in the corner. I’ve gone thrift store shopping for some kitchen ware, but not much else. Hopefully I can get my stuff moved down from Kentucky soon and it will start to feel more home-like. And then maybe I can have a house-warming party.
So far my biggest excitements have been grocery shopping and the subsequent cooking. I really look forward to cooking m own meals and experimenting. I’m also excited for the challenge of trying to make delicious food on a shoestring budget.
I really want to get this place in shape by Thanksgiving. We’ll see if my budget will allow. Stay tuned for updates.
I move into my very first apartment on Monday! It’s an itty bitty little studio in a cute apartment complex. I really like and I’m SO looking forward to living on my own. After bouncing around from dorms to home to living with my boss to living with friends, the chance to have my own place sounds like paradise (despite not having my furniture and TV for a few weeks).
I can’t wait to go shopping for kitchen stuff and start decorating the place. My life in Atlanta is FINALLY coming together. Yay!