finding the balance between frugality and comfort

December 10th, 2007

Finding the Balance Between Frugality and Comfort

Some parts of frugality are really not too big of a struggle for us once they are started, and I wonder why I didn’t think of them earlier. But some drive me completely batty day after day after day. I like to give things a chance to work which is why I have been pretty mellow about it until this point, but there is a fine line between sacrificing comfort to be frugal, and driving oneself insane. Which is why I am considering making a change to one of my frugal choices.

I miss hot baths.

Our water heater is set to 120 degrees F for two reasons. One is for the safety of our small children – it is what is recommended to prevent kids from scalding themselves. The other is because it saves money on our natural gas bill, since the water heater is not heating the water as hot. Safety is of course paramount, so I will not be turning up our water heater to absolutely scorching temperatures, but, again…

I miss hot baths. A lot.

I am thinking of raising the temperature just a tad. Maybe to 130 degrees F. As it is, when I want to take a bath, I turn on the hot water, come downstairs, fill a big pot with scorching hot water from my kitchen tap (the kitchen has its own small under-counter water heater set much higher and that faucet is well out of reach of the kids), carry it upstairs, dump it in the tub, go back downstairs, repeat, and then take a bath. It makes it warmer but not really… hot. I really like a nice HOT bath. It is one of the small simple pleasures I really enjoy in life.

We all have to find a balance between frugality and livability or comfort. As we incorporate more and more frugal practices into our lives, sometimes, we need to know when to say when. Some comforts are worth the extra costs.

Now I need to learn how to change the water heater temperature. I will admit, this frugal measure has an element of apathy to it – when we bought the house, the water heater was set this way. ;)

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10 Responses to “Finding the Balance Between Frugality and Comfort”

  1. Crank up that heat! Pursuing every possible penny to save is a never ending job. You have to draw a line somewhere.

  2. I can’t imagine life without a hot shower–maybe not every day, but sometimes. (Baths do seem more effective, though.) It doesn’t sound like your solution is very livable or comfortable…

  3. The way I see it, if your kids are young enough for you to always give them baths, you can control the temp before putting them in.

    If they’re old enough to bathe themselves without help, then they are old enough to learn how to regulate the temperature without burning themselves.

    If you figure out how to increase the temperature, do it a smidgen.

  4. The showers actually seem reasonably hot, it is baths that stink. Heh.

  5. Craaa-zy. I just wrote an entry on the same exact thing. How weird is that?

    We’re not willing to give up everything. Maybe we’re not as focused as some…but you gotta live, too. I would go nuts without my relaxing bath time. :)

  6. Oh, I can SO relate. I love my hot baths and when I’m in the middle of a Fibromyalgia flare-up, a hot bath does wonders — even if very temporarily. My hot water heater temp got lowered early this year when a bathroom was remodeled and I keep forgetting to turn it back up. I never remember until I’m lying in a tepid bath :-( I say turn it up. I’m writing myself a note right now to remember to turn it up tomorrow. Then I’m going to clean the tub and soak tomorrow night :-)

  7. Depending on how difficult it is to access your hot water heater, I used to turn up the hot water about half an hour before my bath, then turn it down again afterwards.

    It’s not so convenient now, and my son is old enough not to scald himself, so I just leave it to where I can fill the bath with hot water now. I found where it fills the tub, but starts running cold right when the tub fills up. By the time the water needs warmed up, the hot water heater has, too.

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