The tech hobby vs the cost of living crisis.


Staff member
Dec 28, 2019
Here in the UK, electricity prices have completely shot up. For context I was paying around £0.12p/kwh around 5 years ago, now it's around £0.50 and due to increase. Plus you pay close to £30 a month now just for the luxury of having a power and gas connection before you even turn anything on.

Combine that with wages hardly moving, at least in my line of work, and food, rent, petrol etc and things are looking quite grim.

This is somewhat at odds with my tech hobby. I moved fairly recently and I have had to really think about how to cut back:-

My TV is now hardly on, and if I am watching TV I use the smaller bedroom one which is fairly new and power efficient vs my 10 year old 55 inch in the lounge.

I stick to using my 7 year old laptop rather than more modern desktop as it is far less power hungry. If I'm just browsing the web or shopping I'll use my phone which uses even less power, pulling the laptop out for Youtube or typing stuff, like this post.

I work in the office a lot more now purely to use their power/heat/air con/water instead of my own.

I used to be a smart home enthusiast. But all of the hubs, servers, soon add up. I've completely cut back on this and where possible only turn a single lamp on in a room.

I'd quite like to run a server at home for storing files and VMs, but at around £15 a month for even a power efficient model this is no longer worth considering for the benefit.

My robot vacuum cleaner went back to Amazon when it could no longer navigate my property, and I have now binned my 'modern' 1200 watt vacuum cleaner with a Hoover from the 1970s. Despite being nearly 50 years old this uses about 300 watts of power and does a better job.

I've fitted timer plugs and remote control 'dumb' plugs to cut back on standby power usage (you always think that stuff uses a neglible amount of power. I bought a Kill-a-watt clone and calculated that standby power was costing me £15-20 a month alone on the new prices, on the old prices it was about a fiver so less of a concern.

I haven't upgraded to smart meters yet and it's unlikely I will be able to due to my gas and electric meter being on opposite sides of my home. So I've invested in a little sensor meter that keeps an eye on my electricity use by watching the flashing light on my dumb meter.

Is anyone else cutting back? How are you affected by what appears to be a global squeeze on living?
I'm retired so on a fixed income. So far, we haven't made any real changes or cut backs other than we don't go out to eat as often as we used to.
It sounds like you're taking proactive steps to manage your electricity usage and reduce costs in response to the rising prices. Many people are indeed feeling the impact of increasing utility costs and stagnant wages, which can put a strain on household budgets.

Cutting back on unnecessary energy usage, switching to more power-efficient devices, and finding alternative ways to reduce expenses are all sensible strategies in this situation. It's also understandable that you're reevaluating your smart home setup and considering the cost-effectiveness of running certain appliances.

You're not alone in facing these challenges, and many individuals and families are finding creative ways to adapt to the changing economic landscape. Sharing experiences and strategies for managing costs can be helpful for others who may be in similar situations.

If you're looking for further tips or advice on managing energy usage and reducing expenses, there are likely community forums or online resources where you can find support and guidance from others facing similar challenges. Additionally, some government or local organizations may offer assistance programs or resources for households struggling with utility costs.