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If you’re the person who pays the electricity bills at home, you’d know electricity tariffs rose months ago by 9%. And with a good majority of us still working-from-home, that means more energy consumption in the household.
Truth be told, ‘not turning the lights off’ was one of my greatest sins as a child (the other was consistently failing Math throughout secondary school).
It was only up till I rented a place that I realised why my parents were so annoyed with me all those years ago. Turns out, my dad was right. You don’t feel the pain unless you pay for yourself.
These days, I spend a lot of time convincing the people I live with why they should do their part to keep the electricity bills low. Here are three of the strongest arguments I can think of.
The cost argument
The first one is the most straightforward and is probably what will appeal most to the readers of this blog. Some of my friends can comfortably keep their bills under $50 per month. Others – notably those who blast air-conditioning all the time, have bills that easily exceed $300 for a four-room flat.
But let’s assume you’re not a top tier, S-rank power waster. Just $50 wasted a month would be $600 a year, which could be return tickets to Tokyo (pre COVID days).
Of course, if you’re an investor, this would hurt even more.
Assuming you had invested this money at 6% p.a, you’d get $22,671.93 after 20 years. (You can do the math here)
|Amount wasted per month||After 20 years at 6% p.a|
That said, I get that not everyone will be impressed with their potential savings. I’ve heard my fair share of people going “who cares, I can afford it.”
Which brings me to the next point…
The environmental argument
Now, I’m sure our content isn’t read by climate change deniers, so I’m going to assume you know the basic relationship between electricity usage and carbon emissions.
Of course, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Singapore is so small, why bother?’
But hear me out:
If Singapore can say, halve its carbon emissions, then it’s more likely the countries around us will try.
In this part of the world, if there’s any country who can put a priority in sustainability, it’s us – not to mention we’ve a lot to lose from climate change:
- Singapore being a low-lying island means that we’ll be heavily affected by rising sea levels. (Imagine the Great Southern Waterfront just being the Great Southern Water)
- We also import all our food (and quite a lot of our water) – and climate change could mean decreased food and water, which will in turn, lead to higher prices.
- Singapore has spent a lot of money protecting ourselves from climate change, but it’s no long term solution.
- As one activist rightly puts it: “Singapore talks a lot about emissions intensity and about our mitigation efforts and about $100 billion going into our climate adaptation plans. But the $100 billion is not going to address the crisis. We are not stopping the rain, we are buying a $100 billion umbrella.”
“The small things matter” argument
‘If you never do the small things right, you’ll never do the big things right’ – U.S Admiral William McRaven in his epic 2014 speech.
The Power of Habit is also well documented; as the saying goes: we are what we do repeatedly; excellence is not an act, but a habit.
How you do anything is how you do everything. Life is a constant barrage of problems to solve; the dishes will always continue to pile, the laundry basket will always fill up and dust will always settle.
In this way, it’s helpful to see the small things in life as opportunities to practice sorting things out on a safer, more trivial level, a stepping stone to greater things.
If we had to contextualise this in personal finance terms, it’d be something like this:
If you can make the effort to turn off the lights to reduce your bill, you’d be encouraged to make the effort to track your expenses. You’d save maybe $50 a month.
Not much, but a start.
But if you make the effort to track your expenses, you’d be encouraged to cut those expenses and save more money.
If you manage to save more money – for example – having $10,000 in your bank account for the first time – you’d be encouraged to earn more money.
And if you can save $10,000, you can sure as hell save $100,000.
So if you want to change your life, start by switching off your lights.
Stay woke, Salaryman
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