Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

The Scrimper and Cold Showers

December 2022. It was an afternoon when Hanna and I were cooking in the kitchen. I was preparing a rice dish while Hanna was making carrot soup. Suddenly, we heard Claudia coming from the hallway.

"Hello," she greeted us, sitting down with a letter on a chair.

We returned the greeting and waited eagerly to hear what Claudia had to say.

"We received the annual electricity bill," Claudia announced, starting to study the contents of the letter.

I paused my cooking and turned to her with a spatula in hand. "And? Do we have to pay extra?"

There was a brief silence as Claudia seemed to search for the exact numbers.

"On the contrary, we even get a refund," Claudia replied with a joyful tone.

Those were definitely good news, I thought.

"That's great!" Hanna exclaimed.

I let the zucchini fry in the pan and tilted my head to look over Claudia's shoulder at the electricity bill. On the page Claudia had in front of her, the average annual consumption for different household sizes was depicted in the form of bar charts, along with our own annual consumption next to it.

"Wow, we've even used less energy than a two-person household!" I remarked as I looked at the bar charts on the illustration.

This feeling that we were below average spurred me on to become even more energy-efficient. After dinner, I sat down at my desk and started researching ways to save even more energy. I noted my findings in the Notion app on my PC and planned to implement them at the next opportunity. First, I turned off the unnecessary Wi-Fi repeater in my room, which was right next to the router. I even considered setting the router's Wi-Fi to automatically turn off at night or unplugging the router from the socket if Claudia wasn't a night owl. I lowered both of my radiators to level two and wiped the dust off them to enable better heat conduction. Additionally, I moved my laundry rack away from the heater.

While I was briefly in the kitchen making myself a cup of tea, I thought about how someone in the flat regularly heated two liters of water in the kettle and then left it standing without using it completely. To change that, I wrote a message in our "Everything's Over" flatmates' group on WhatsApp and politely asked my flatmates to be mindful next time not to heat too much water unnecessarily. I even added a calculation of how much energy and money we could save by doing so to better convince them.

In my room, I unplugged the television, which I had hardly used so far, and began to always switch off the power strip of my PC setup when I didn't need it. In the kitchen, I adjusted the water heater, which was located under the sink, to a lower temperature so that the tap water was not unnecessarily heated too hot. Additionally, I turned on all the taps to cold to always use cold water when washing my hands or brushing my teeth.

The next time I did my laundry, I decided to experiment with washing all my clothes at forty degrees Celsius. Although my mother had recommended washing underwear and socks at sixty degrees for hygiene reasons, I still tried washing them at forty degrees. This allowed me to fill the drum more fully by washing the underwear and socks together with other clothes.

After successfully implementing the researched tips, I lay down on my bed and continued to think about how I could change my habits further to save energy. My powerful PC certainly consumed a lot of electricity, I thought as I stared at the ceiling. I got up and created two shortcuts on my desktop that could change the power modes of my PC. A double-click on one shortcut activated the turbo mode, in which neither the processor nor other components of the PC were throttled. I used this mode when working on a new YouTube video. The other shortcut was intended for the most extreme power-saving mode, which I had configured in the settings. By default, I used this mode, for example, when just browsing the internet.

As I tried out my new shortcuts, I urgently needed to use the bathroom. In the bathroom, I noticed once again that the toilet paper roll was empty. Our consumption of toilet paper was enormous. I had never experienced anything like this before. If I hung up a new roll of toilet paper in the morning, it would be empty by the evening of the next day. With disbelief, I wondered what my flatmates used so much toilet paper for.

I sat down on the toilet seat and began to think about how I could save toilet paper. Already, I used as few sheets as possible to wipe myself. But then I noticed a habit I always had before a big business. I tore off two sheets of toilet paper and placed them on the water in the toilet to prevent splashing. From that moment on, I decided to give up this habit and instead make sure not to aim directly into the water to prevent splashing. Although this meant that I occasionally had to clean the toilet bowl with a brush, I could save toilet paper.

It was already past midnight, yet my motivation was unbroken. I really enjoyed looking for ways to save energy and reduce my costs. While the oats soaked in hot water and the blueberries thawed for my breakfast in the kitchen, I brushed my teeth and went to bed. There, I continued my search for more advanced energy-saving tips on my phone. Around two o'clock in the morning, I placed the phone next to me on the bed and finally fell asleep a little later.

Life upgrade: Turn off power strips, use power-saving mode for the PC, deactivate router or at least WLAN at night. Set faucets to cold by default. Set heaters to maximum level two in winter and dress warmer if it's too cold. After washing my hair, I refrain from using a hairdryer and instead let my hair air dry. Remove dust from heaters and do not place anything in front of them. Heat only the required amount of water in the kettle. Of course, I have implemented other small changes. These small measures add up and result in noticeable energy savings.

Cold showers

December 2022. My alarm went off at ten o'clock. I lay in bed for a few more minutes, letting my thoughts wander to see if any more ideas for saving energy would come to mind. But nothing came to mind. I spent about an hour swiping through the Bumble app, checking my portfolio in the Trade Republic app, reviewing my bank balance in the banking app, and briefly checking WhatsApp. Only then did I get up – this had become my typical morning ritual since moving into the new apartment.

In the kitchen, I poured oat milk over my soaked oats, added thawed blueberries, and mixed everything. While eating my breakfast, I sat at the kitchen table and continued to swipe attractive women in the dating app to the right. Women with whom I will never have a match, as probably all men swipe them to the right.

At this time, Hanna was already at the university, while Claudia was probably still asleep, as she had stayed up all night. At least I had heard her go to the bathroom around half past one.

After breakfast, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a shower. Before stepping into the shower, I wanted to quickly use the toilet. But before I started to pee, the thought occurred to me to make it a habit to pee in the shower. After all, I was planning to shower anyway and thought it could save water. I stepped into the shower.

As I frustratingly tried to adjust the perfect water temperature – a task that almost never went smoothly – and peed at the same time, another great idea came to mind: Why not take a cold shower? I decided to try it immediately. I turned the tap to cold and felt the cold water flow over my body. However, the shock of the cold quickly made me discard the idea. I need to think about this some more, I thought, and turned the tap to warm. I took the shampoo bottle in my hand, squeezed some out, turned the running shower head away from my body, and began to lather my hair. Then I reached for my shower gel and lathered my upper body and intimate area. Afterwards, I turned the shower head back towards me and rinsed off. After I stepped out of the shower and was about to reach for Hanna's hairdryer, another thought occurred to me: "Why not just let my hair air dry? That might even be better for my persistently dry scalp…"

This back-and-forth of the faucet made me not completely discard the idea of cold showers just yet. I gave cold showers another chance and began to research it more thoroughly. In my room on the PC, I researched everything about the health benefits of cold showers and how to make it easier to adopt as a habit. For beginners, it was recommended to first direct the cold water to the feet and then slowly move the shower head along one leg up to the waist, then along the other leg. After that, one should slowly move the shower head from the stomach to the neck while continuing to breathe calmly. Finally, let the cold water flow over the shoulders and back.

This seemed like a good strategy that I wanted to try directly next time. And as it turned out later, this method was indeed the key to getting accustomed to cold showers within a month. I was able to pour the cold water directly over my body without loudly screaming when it reached my warm belly.

During this habit-forming phase, I learned another important thing that saved a tremendous amount of water. Since I no longer had the option of simply standing under the shower and enjoying the warm water, or painstakingly adjusting the water temperature as I had done before, I always turned off the shower while soaping up. Through the new habit of cold showers, I was able to lower the gas bill and save a significant amount of water.

The regular 1% improvements that had led to savings and healthier, more sustainable habits soon made me inevitably aware of the topic of minimalism. In the coming months, I will develop such a strong enthusiasm for minimalism that I will virtually fall into an exponential frenzy of 1% changes. This transformation will radically reshape my personality and thinking, give me even more time in everyday life, further increase my savings, elevate my concentration to a new level, and enable a profound independence from material and immaterial things.

Life Upgrades:
  1. I take cold showers on warm days. It keeps me fit, trains my courage, and has reduced hot water costs by 70%. Additionally, I automatically shower much faster with cold water, which saves me even more time. The walls and windows in the bathroom never fog up from cold showers. There are also health benefits: Just as you can train muscles, it is also possible to train the immune system. Cold showering is a method to strengthen the immune system and increase tolerance to colder temperatures. Increased cold tolerance will help me rely less on warm clothing in the future. Additionally, cold exposure can slow down the aging process.
  2. By turning off the shower while soaping up and avoiding the pointless running of water, I have reduced my water consumption by 90%! And by urinating in the shower, I reduced my water consumption when flushing the toilet.