the green machine [day 223]

I’m really not sure exactly how much money I’ve saved doing this challenge, as I haven’t tracked it, however I know it’s a substantial amount.  I have no debt, I’m not always broke and comparing my finances to last year, I’ve spent way less.  I attribute the savings to these:

  • No retail. Buying things from eBay, craigslist, thrift stores and yard sales saves 75% or more off retail prices.
  • No impulse buys. Staying out of retail stores and practicing the 24 hour rule with my kids (day 140) works great!
  • Smart shopping. For the groceries and toiletries stuff I have to buy, I price shop shop in stores where I know the prices are generally lower.  I try and buy some generic brands and buy things with minimal packaging.
  • Usage. Will I really use this?  Is it something I’ve wanted for a while or something that just popped into my head?  If I haven’t been looking at something for a while, I wait.  If I really want or need it, it will stay in my mind.
  • Trading & sharing. I make trades with friends and share things like tools, yard equipment and things not used frequently.  This minimizes the amount of stuff I have, making cleaning and organizing much easier.
  • Counterculture. We didn’t do Christmas like the rest of society.  No Christmas bills!  It was still a very good Christmas, just different than the rest of the USA.
  • Look ahead. How long will this item last?  What’s the maintenance and upkeep cost?  Is it green?

Looking at all of this, my kids and I made a recent large item purchase.  It’s something we had in our old house and used quite a bit, all year long.  We’ve been wanting one for four years now, since we moved into this house.  The used market on the item has good availability, but difficult to find certain models.  Many are in working order, many are not.  Some require lots of extra money for set up, installation and transportation.  So what is it?  A hot tub. 

Actually, it’s a Softub spa.  Certainly, we did not need this, but after doing a lot of research on hot tubs, this was a great find.  And as opposed to all my friends who commented on Facebook that it looks like a birthing pool or a baptismal, it’s a not, it’s a real hot tub.  Check this out.

  • $$$. I paid less than 20% of the original purchase price for the Softub 300+ by buying it on craigslist.
  • It’s green. No, really, the color is green.  (we’ve nicknamed it the green machine)  Okay, the exterior color is green, which would not be my first choice, but what I really mean is that it’s environmentally green.  This tub, kept hot for a month and used once a day during that month, in our recent colder temperatures, will cost me approximately $10-$15 per month on my electric bill.  In doing my ‘homework’, I found some people with hot tubs that are spending $80-$175 per month.  Ouch!
  • It’s portable. No, I didn’t say inflatable, I said portable.  The tub itself weighs only 75 pounds and is designed to ‘roll’ into a space.  It fits through standard door openings so you can put it in any place that’s water friendly.  The soft fabric on the outside is marine vinyl, similar to what they use on boats.
  • No installation. Roll it, flip it, fill it, plug it, heat it, then get in.  It runs on a standard household plug outlet, no 220 addition needed.
  • It has no heater. “What?!?” you say?  That’s what I said when I first read that info.  This is a great design, as it uses heat from the filtration motor to heat the tub.  What this means is less maintenance, less parts, less power usage, although it does take a little longer to heat up the tub.  That’s really only an issue on the initial set up.  We added hot water from the sink so we could use it the next day.  The cover is sealed and it’s well insulated so it holds the temperature nicely.
  • What do others think? Besides that it looks like a birthing tub?  I’ve never seen one so I don’t know if it does or not.  I did some research on blogs and other forums to see what people say about these tubs.  There were very few bad comments.  As a matter of fact, the first bad comment I found is that a guy had one, loved it, but his HOA was giving him a hard time about having it on his condo patio.  (Don’t get me started on HOA’s)

Now we didn’t need this, although it’s great for my back, as it doesn’t bother the metal rods I have or my spine, which bruises on any hard surface.  This is a great thing for family time and friend time.  We paid cash for this with all of the money we saved on not buying lots of stuff at retail stores and by being diligent about saving money.  And no, I didn’t make my kids pay for any of it.  😉

You can see they quickly left the trampoline to hit the tub.  I hope Tanya is wrong that Joe is looking for a way to jump from the trampoline into the hot tub…

About jody wissing

I'm a person just trying to matter in a crazy world.
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2 Responses to the green machine [day 223]

  1. Peter Raulstein says:

    I really enjoyed this post but think a cost savings analysis – comparing your spending prior to doing this challenge – would be a meaningful and tangible motivation for people following your posts. Perhaps it’s a bit too late now but you could probably go back and at least make generalizations around your spending habits….just to further the point that having common sense, being pragmatic and being green when spending money go hand in hand!

    I am curious about the hot tub, though. It looks fun, I love the name and like all its “green” features, but have you considered noise pollution? Curious if that HOA complaint you mentioned involved noise? They are cutting something out if it only weighs 75lbs…less insulation and parts mean more noise. Finally, (and you can probably tell by now I am into crunching numbers) I wonder if the significant savings you have realized would be better put into other things…a savings account or a college fund for your kids, for example? Who knows, you might already have one and if the tub brings you all closer together then who am I to judge.

    Keep up the good work!

    • embracechaos says:

      Thanks for your feedback, you bring up some really good points.

      The cost analysis, although a great idea, was not my reason for doing this challenge. I wish I had tracked more of the cost savings, and that might be part of a future thing, but here why, as stated in the description of my challenge:

      I want to live differently, meaning finding creative ways to not buy stuff I really don’t need, to share stuff with others, to not be wasteful and to be more environmentally friendly.

      As for the hot tub, I’m curious too, now that I own it. It’s only been 4 days now. 🙂 The “humming” sound from the motor unit is a little louder than I expected, but not horrible. I’ve heard hot tubs way louder than this one. My last one was attached to a pool and the equipment was very loud, but just on the other side of the yard… next to the neighbors house. I couldn’t find anything of the reason on the other guys post, but I assumed it was the visibility of it. This unit seems to be very well insulated. I’ll let you know in a month or so, after I get my utility bill.

      Finally, the money, without a doubt, could have been better spent in many ways. With that being said, I pay all of my bills, no debt, my kids have college funds, I have retirement funds, I tithe and I donate regularly to several charities… all on a single mom budget. 🙂 I’m a little freakish about crunching numbers too.

      Maybe I should blog more of the benefits, not only financial ones, but the humanitarian and ecological ones as well.

      Thanks again for your feedback.

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