Happy Fourth of July to our US contingent! I was trying to think of an extremely clever way to weave our nation’s independence into a post about financial independence (working title: The Fireworks of Financial Independence) but, well, that didn’t so much pan out. Although in honor of the day I do–of course–have this photo of Frugal Hound in her July 4th regalia (thanks goes to my mom and dad for her stunning little visor):

She didn't want to stand up so we had to do Greyhound-In-Repose
She didn’t want to stand up so we had to do Greyhound-In-Repose

And now, I give you a summer-themed Woot with a companion Grumble on the oh-so-cool topic of: air-conditioning.


This week’s woot, as foreshadowed in our June expense report (I’m sure you’ve simply been on edge wondering if I would remember, right?!) is an ode to the AC; or rather, the absence of it. I am thrilled to announce that we made it to June 30th before turning on our AC unit! We only had one slightly-hot dinner party with friends and some excessive sweating, but we persevered!

Our submission to the AC machine is due largely to Princess Frugal Hound who decided this year to become rather heat sensitive. There was a lot of tongue-lolling panting and moping going on and we can’t stand to see her uncomfortable. I should add it to her tab… ;). Our last night sans AC was a steamy affair during which we all woke up multiple times from the heat. Turns out, 85-90 degrees inside is not so much conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. I’m quite pleased with our fortitude this year and am certain we pushed it as long as we could before succumbing.

The only AC unit--it's on our first floor and it's built into the wall...not our doing
Our sole AC unit is built into the wall on our 1st floor…not our doing

Since I was on AC Alert this year (maybe I should have a badge made?), I was shocked at how many of our neighbors turned their units on in May, when it was still in the clement 60s and 70s. Mr. F-woods (can I make that abbreviation? not sure…) and I reflected that this seems like a prime example of unconscious spending and waste. I truly doubt anyone was HOT in their home in May and yet, ACs up and down the block blazed away day and night.

As we endeavor to bring greater focus and intention to every dollar we spend, I’ve started to notice the money drains folks fall victim to. I don’t even think it’s a conscious realization of the money they’re wasting. Rather, I think it may be behaviorally conditioned societal pressure and an assumption that since things have always been done a given way, there’s no need to change.

Ok I really have two Woots this week (I made the rules so I can break them):

Woot #2: Brief update on my personal bike boot camp (led by Mr. Frugalwoods)

We biked 4 miles in traffic yesterday, which is my farthest distance yet! I’m very pleased with myself and Mr. Frugalwoods is relieved that I didn’t capsize into a car. He said it was about 2/3 his normal biking speed, so I think I’m improving. I’m also thankful I have a patient husband (you’d have to be to stay married to me). Go bikes!


The only grumble with avoiding the AC for so long (other than sweaty dinner guests) is that one of our neighbors has two very spirited, very yappy little doggies. And, since we opened all our doors and windows every morning and evening to take advantage of the coolest parts of the day, we were incessantly serenaded by these charming little barkers. But, this is really just an aspect of life in the city.

The density is so great in our neighborhood that we’ve become accustomed to living on top of our neighbors. We are extremely fortunate (thanks to extensive research and a crazy dip in the market) that our house itself is larger than average for the area, so I don’t feel I can complain toooo much about the proximity of our neighbors. Maybe just a little bit.

Where have you observed unconscious spending? Is there such a thing? Also, aren’t you proud of me on my bike?!?

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  1. I’m a bit of a “scary” biker… I don’t know how I went over the handle bars so much when I was in my teens, but I’ve scarred myself (actually, and psychologically) that I don’t want to jump back on. But kudos to you for not getting into it with a car 😉

    We started the AC the same day because our place is old and not well insulated for the hot weather. Also, it’s better for the cats. You know it’s bad when a cat is panting upstairs! And they won’t bring themselves downstairs to the cool living room where the AC is… what’s up with that?!

    1. I know, right?! Frugal Hound is the same way–she was snuggling under her blankets and panting. I’ve since removed all blankets from her beds, but you’d think these little animals would figure out which rooms are cooler!

      Funniest part of the hot weather is that the Hound has taken to sleeping on her back with all four legs in the air, which must be cooler for her and has the bonus of looking ridiculous.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I’m impressed that you rode your bike in traffic, but I’m really impressed that you made it so long without AC. We turned ours on almost two months ago. Ah, the joys of living in the sweaty armpit of the south. But we do get lucky in the fall and winter and can go without heat, so there’s a trade-off I guess.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, we really luck out in the late spring and early fall with a few months that don’t require heating or cooling—soooo nice on the budget. But then we have to keep the heat on all winter to make sure our pipes don’t freeze (we’ve only had 1 partially frozen pipe to date…). I’ll be jealous of your low/no heat come late fall!

  3. I try to survive without AC in the summer as long as possible. Not only because to cut utility cost, but also because I want to reduce my carbon footprint. I turn it on when it gets too uncomfortable for a couple of days.

    1. So smart, I totally agree! We’ve been turning it off every chance we get and opening up the windows.

  4. I see unconscious spending all the time. The other day at work some guys offer to wash the car of some of my coworkers. I asked how much it was and they said $25 dollars just to do the outside of the car. Most of my coworkers went for it. I mentioned how crazy that was and how I could do it myself or at the very least pay $5 dollars. One of my co workers got mad at me and said that paying that amount at least once in a while for a detail wash was ok. The funny thing is that it rain the next day and the day after that. Crazy right and sad. I can go on but I won’t 🙂

    1. Oh wow–$25 for a car wash sounds exorbitant! I think most people don’t consider the cost of decisions like that over time. You’re wise to just do it yourself. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing 🙂

  5. We are a family that turns the AC on in May in Massachusetts. My husband is allergic to the oak pollen, so we keep the house buttoned up from April to late June to keep from having allergic reactions to trapped pollen year round. That makes the house mighty warm.

    So glad we can finally open the house up in July!

    1. Allergies are such a bummer! Gotta do what works to avoid the pollen. That’s great you can open up in July–hopefully we’ll have some cool days here!

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