Paying the Price

While I could write about tiny success on a day-to-day basis, in the great battle against my own Anxieties, today I’ve chosen to reflect upon a significant change that’s taken place over a period of weeks.

This improvement began back in November…

I live alone in a ground floor flat with the bare-minimal of windows and a limited exposure to sunlight, even through the warmer months. Windows are single-glazed, the ceiling is high and thin while the building appears to be scarcely insulated, if even at all.

I’m attempting to paint a picture of a property that needs heat in the winter. Certainly, more than some other homes.

As there is no gas in this building, everything is electric. This includes hot water as well as heating. As you’ll often find in ‘basic’ flats without gas, I have storage heaters to raise the temperature in each room. If you’ve ever had to encounter night storage heaters yourself then, you’ll no doubt have your own opinion.

‘Experts’ claim they’re the most efficient way to heat a home using electricity (unless they’re trying to sell you something else). I’ve always been open-minded towards them as I don’t feel it’s fair to criticise something that does work. Because, like all things; however well it does work, there is always the potential for it to work better, right?

With lighting, heating, hot water, phone-charging, kettle-boiling and laptop-running among other things; this puts a significant demand on my electricity supply, which is provided by a pre-pay meter.

At any time of year, there’s a fear and anxiety of the meter running out; potentially leaving me in the dark, beneath cold drips of water, midway through a shower. Or waking up on a winter’s morning to find my credit ran out several hours ago and every surface I happen to come across is ice cold (not to mention an inability to boil the kettle or see where I’m going).

When I first moved here and began to understand this meter, I would check it cautiously, perhaps every couple of days. Over time, I’ve been able to reduce that to weekly checks but the anxiety and fear that it could run out is largely present. I topped it up again yesterday, with an amount that should last a fortnight. Already, I’m calculating that it might be wise to check it again in nine-days time… In moments like this – of which, there are many – I practice being mindful so that I can allow myself to feel less overwhelmed.

Another way is to look at what and how much I’m spending.

In the winter, I’m averaging between £40-50 for a fortnight (even though you can only add a maximum of £49 for a single transaction). £90-100 a month sounds like a lot. But when I reaffirm myself that I’m not paying for gas on top of that and that my electric bill accounts for just about every source of power within my home; it’s not actually that bad a deal.

Now, to the point of this post and my most recent self-improvement…

For the past two-years, I’d been viewing that ‘potential £100 per month‘ as a very big thing. One-hundred of anything can be daunting and intimidating. For the previous two winters, I have deliberately run my heaters at around half of their full capacity in the name of saving money.

But since October/November, I’ve altered my view to question the significance of currency to me. For one, I decided that extra warmth in my home is more important than an extra £10 in the bank each month. Living in a cold home can affect you physically as well as psychologically. I decided to ‘start paying more’ as it would only be for three or four months at best.

So, I’ve challenged one of my fears about spending too much money and potentially, more money than I could afford, based on my average earnings.

As it happens though, I’m actually spending LESS than I was by trying to save money – at times when I would often supplement my lack of heat by using alternative plug-heaters for instant and direct sources of warmth!

Question your fears, challenge yourself and you may reap the rewards in double! 😉

Thank you for reading.

This entry was posted in Anxiety.

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