Husband kind of counts as a relative, and I'm not starting a new thread, so... :)
The electric bill came. For 2 months. 70$ higher than expected. As always, for the first bill of winter. In that I spend the first 2 months harping on about things we can do (and I am doing, but we're 2 adults and the thermostat only stays down if the second adult doesn't keep raising it...) to save $ on electricity, but it's only after the first bill comes and he has a shock at the amount that he starts bloody listening insread of rolling his eyes and ignoring. *ahem* every year. Every damned year it's the same thing, and it gets on my last NERVE.
For the record: we talked it out, we figured it out, he's apologetic, it may improve, etc... but man, it's gonna take my patience a few days to calm the hell down.
My old place had a thermostat with an offset, I could set it to show 19ºC when the actual temperature is 17ºC. It was excellent.
My SO also had a total disconnect between fuel bills and behaviour. I'd come home in winter to find him sitting in underwear with the heating on full AND a secondary heater on full. Then I visited the in-laws in one of the hottest summers we had for years; two radiators on and windows open, complaining of the heat, talking about getting an AC unit. Wouldn't let me turn the heating off in case it wouldn't come on again. So that's where that behaviour started.
Oh. My. God. The disconnect between behaviour and reality...
Yeah, with my husband it's more that he sees a logical need and an easy solution (I am cold, I will turn up the heat) and completely ignores the impact of that behaviour on the bill that comes in 2 months later. Like they're not even connected naturally in his brain or something... until he gets the first bill, freaks at the amount, and that seems to solder a connection. Except that that's the case every year. Like, love, TRY to retain that learning for more than 6 months at a time, hmmmm?
Also honestly part of the problem is that I'm in charge of the household finances and better with money (erm... when we got together, his credit was so shitty he couldn't get a CELL PHONE... granted he was 24 and I wouldn't marry him until he pulled it together, but.) and so if we need 70$ somewhere I'm the one juggling meal plans to make it come out of the grocery money, or juggling personal spending or clothing needs or putting off another purchase or whatever. He doesn't feel the pain of arranging it, so he doesn't remember. So... our discussion involved "this is what we have, this is where it's going, figure out where it's coming from this time". And we're in a financial position right now where we can't put gobs into savings (we have enough to make ends meet, but I'm 8 months pregnant and going on maternity leave and he's getting laid off in 2 weeks, so both of us will be at 55% salary for a while) so the solution isn't "put less in savings to address the lack", it's "what are you going to sacrifice to pull the $ where it needs to be". And I think having to figure it out, and seeing what he's going to have to alter to make it work, is having an impact.
Like, good lord, basic solution, how hard is it to do laundry on different days? (Actual difference: 20-30$/month) I'm not even hassling him to hang it up, just don't run the dryer 3 times in the same day!! (Hydro more than doubles the cost of power after you reach a certain amount per day... works out to the first load of laundry costing less than 1$ but further loads being $$$) and also if you don't let the laundry pile up we all have clean clothes... how wonderful, to not run out of underwear... *ahem*