power http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4319/all en-US How to Make Your Own Power http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-power <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-own-power" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/windmill.jpg" alt="Windmill" title="Windmill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered how to <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/5-ways-to-live-greener">power your home</a>, small electronics, or a generator using natural resources? I know I have. Countless times I've forgotten to charge my cell phone and wished I had a solar powered source to trickle-charge it throughout the day. While riding my bike I've pondered how to harness my own pedal-power and charge a laptop, especially when I'm no where near an outlet. Generating your own power isn't just a lofty thought anymore; today there are a plethora of products that make it possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/houses-you-can-build-yourself">Houses You Can Build Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>Solar Power</h2> <p>One of the most abundant sources of energy available to us is solar power. The sun's rays <a href="http://www.briansager.com/docs/articles/Nature_Article.pdf">create more energy in one hour</a> than the entire world uses in one year. Though solar panels have gone through years of improvements, today portable solar devices such as the <a href="http://www.solio.com/">Solio</a> can charge small electronics within a few hours or help extend battery life by giving them solar-powered boosts. Larger solar chargers are also available through a few different vendors.</p> <p>Want to power your home off the sun's rays? Home solar panels can help reduce your dependence on other energy. If you produce more energy than you need, some solar systems allow you to store your energy for a cloudy day or sell it back to your utility company. Not only are you saving energy; you could be profiting off it as well.</p> <p>Many everyday items also have solar panels built right into them that can charge small electronics, like the Voltaic Solar Backpack, cell phones such as Samsung's touch-phone Blue Earth, computer keyboards and mice, calculators, outdoor lighting, and bicycles from <a href="http://www.therapyproducts.com/products_sunnybike.html">Thera-P Products</a> in Toronto to name a few.</p> <h2>Water Power</h2> <p>Much of the electricity I purchase through our utility company is created at Hoover Dam's hydroelectric plant. But did you know you can create your own hydroelectric energy if you have a constant water supply, like a lake or stream, near your house? An example of this in action is <a href="http://www.judyofthewoods.net/hydro.html">Judy of the Woods </a>in Wales. Using micro-hydro turbines, she turned her nearby springs into a source of energy.</p> <p>There are also water-powered gadgets such as clocks, calculators, or radios. However, I owned a water-powered clock a few years ago and couldn't get it to work. Maybe the newer products hold their charge better.</p> <h2>Wind Power</h2> <p>The concept of wind power via a windmill isn't new; it's been around for over 1,000 years. Yet today's personal windmills are mostly used on farms and ranches to pump water or mill grain. This doesn't have to be the case. Depending on your community's rules and regulations, you can erect your very own windmill to generate power to your home or to pump your well water. Smaller windmills can be used to aerate a pond or other stagnant water sources as well.</p> <p>The key to erecting a windmill boils down to where you live; the less dense the population, the less likely you'll have neighbors complaining about the towering structure.</p> <h2>Animal Power</h2> <p>Almost exclusively seen on farms or ranches, work horses can pump water while exercising or charge a generator by walking in a circle. Though this might not be an option for most people, animals can generate about 5-10 times the amount of energy that people do.</p> <h2>Human Power</h2> <p>Many small electronics now come in hand-crank versions: radios, flashlights, generators, even washing machines. You simply crank or squeeze the handle and the energy from your own body charges the item's batteries; it's simple and effective.</p> <p>Want your legs to do all the work? <a href="http://www.econvergence.net/electro.htm">Pedal-A-Watt</a> turns just about any bicycle into a stationery generating machine. Charge your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan">cell phone</a>, laptop, or iPod while pedaling, or connect it to a PowerPak for later use. You can even find plans on the web to <a href="http://www.pedalpowergenerator.com/#FREE">build your own pedal-powered generator</a>.</p> <p>Charging my cell phone or laptop on the road no longer seems as baffling as it once did since I can choose from various clean, self-powered energy sources.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-power">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">8 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-a-2-liter-bottle-of-water-into-a-50-watt-lightbulb">How To Turn a 2-liter Bottle Of Water Into a 50-Watt Lightbulb</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise">Hands in Your Pocket: The Cost of Standby Power - Environmental and Otherwise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-deodorant-is-it-worth-it">Homemade Deodorant: Is It Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy">What Americans Can Learn From How the Rest of the World Saves Energy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY electricity make your own power solar power utilities Thu, 11 Aug 2011 10:24:21 +0000 Little House 655757 at http://www.wisebread.com It takes a frugal spouse to make a frugal home http://www.wisebread.com/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/spouses.jpg" alt="Spouses" title="Spouses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="203" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Something of an exaggeration, of course&mdash;a one-person household can be very frugal. But there's an underlying truth: A household is only as frugal as its least-frugal member.</p> <p>This is one of the clear messages from the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671015206?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0671015206"><em>Millionaire Next Door</em></a>. People who answer &quot;yes&quot; to the question, &quot;Is your spouse more frugal than you are?&quot; are enormously more likely to be millionaires than other people.</p> <p>That controlling spending is more important for becoming rich than having a high income is not news. When a rich person insists on haggling over a small sum or on correcting a small error in a bill, ordinary people may say, &quot;I'm surprised someone like you would concern yourself over such a small sum.&quot; The rich person's response, though, is simply, &quot;How do you think someone like me got to be someone like me?&quot;</p> <p>Contrariwise, a non-frugal spouse not only <strong>can</strong> wreck a household's finances&mdash;he or she <strong>will almost certainly do so</strong>, usually without even meaning to.</p> <h2>Structural solutions</h2> <p>I've heard a hundred variations on attempts to produce a structural solution.</p> <p>In the old days it was common for the husband to control the income stream and pay the wife an allowance with which she was to cover the groceries and other household expenses. This sort of structure could work very well if both spouses were frugal&mdash;the frugal wife would economize enough to save some money out of the allowance, producing a nest egg that was separate from the husband's&mdash;but failed badly if the husband wasn't frugal, leaving the household with no savings except the wife's pin money.</p> <p>In more modern times, structural solutions tend to be build around separate accounts&mdash;yours, mine, and (possibly) ours, with a clear understanding of how income goes into the various accounts and which bills are to be paid out of which account. These can work well for people who have a common vision for the household's future&mdash;but then anything can work well for people with a common vision.</p> <p>Many households have just a single pool of money&mdash;all income flows into it, all expenses are paid out of it. This can work fine, too.</p> <p>In fact, in the US at least, all these solutions all amount to the same thing as far as the law is concerned. With some very limited exceptions (mainly having to do with inherited wealth), either spouse is able to incur debts that obligate the entire household. As a practical matter, you have to pay your spouse's credit card bills pretty much without regard to any agreement to the contrary between the two of you. (The only reason the &quot;husband controls everything&quot; scheme ever worked was that creditors were unwilling to extend credit to a wife unless her husband co-signed.)&nbsp; Because of this, structural solutions are only effective to the extent that both spouses use them to restrain <strong>themselves</strong>&mdash;they are of no use at all for restraining a spouse against his or her will.</p> <h2>The structure of the problem</h2> <p>There are, I think, three general categories of non-frugal spousal behavior.</p> <p>The first has to do with <strong>impulse control</strong>. Here's where structural solutions can help. If the situation is that you can agree on a budget, but that one (or both) of you tend to spend money on passing fancies, then a structural solution that puts an obstacle in the path of spending money can provide the time to reconsider and make choices that don't blow the budget. In particular, structural measures can act as a sort of &quot;tripwire&quot; to detect when one spouse has succumbed to poor impulse control, giving the couple a chance to make the necessary adjustments before the household's finances are put at serious risk.</p> <p>The second has to do with having a <strong>shared vision</strong> of the goals of the household. Having a shared vision does not necessarily mean having the same goals. If your big goal is taking a fabulous trip to Paris and your spouse's goal is owning a classic Alfa Romeo, that's still a shared vision&mdash;as long as you both acknowledge the other's goal. In fact, frugality can advance both goals. The problem comes when one spouse rejects or dismisses the other's goals. There is no structural solution to that problem. If one of you thinks that saving money to send the kids to college is important and the other would rather have a higher standard of living, there simply isn't a structural solution&mdash;the less-frugal spouse wins (or rather loses&mdash;along with everyone else in the household).</p> <p>The third, and most fundamental, is simply having a different <strong>understanding of how the world works</strong> with regard to finances. Some people (I dare say most people who read Wise Bread) view saving&mdash;spending less than you earn&mdash;as <strong>the</strong> fundamental choice that enables all the financial successes of the household. Other people, though, don't. (There are many different understandings of how the world works. Some people discount the future heavily&mdash;the &quot;live for today&quot; folks. Other people just assume things will work out&mdash;the &quot;the gods will provide&quot; folks. Still others are just thoughtless and selfish&mdash;the &quot;instant gratification&quot; folks. None of these are invalid&mdash;they're just different. But the difference is one that pretty much excludes any hope of financial success, except through simple good fortune.)</p> <p>So, how can you fix this? What can you do if you have a spouse who does not share your inclination to frugality?</p> <p>To begin with, figure out where the disconnect is. Does your spouse believe that spending less than you earn is the foundation of financial success? Do you have a common vision of your major goals? If the answer to both these questions is yes, then there's a pretty straightforward path to success based on structural solutions. Simply produce a budget that allocates enough money to the less-frugal spouse's priorities while leaving an adequate surplus for saving and investing. If necessary, set up a system of accounts that make it easy to pay for things in line with the budget and difficult to pay for things that aren't in the budget.</p> <p>If the answer to the first question is yes but the answer to the second question is no, then the next step is to negotiate that common understanding. I'm no expert in such matters, but I'd start by identifying a very small number of must-haves&mdash;an emergency fund, retirement savings, college savings for the kids&mdash;and then negotiating a division of the surplus between your goals and your spouse's goals. Some people allocate a certain amount of money that each spouse can spend without consulting the other. Others agree to make joint decisions about major purchases.</p> <p>If the answer to the first question is no, it may be very difficult to come to an arrangement that works&mdash;unless the less-frugal spouse is willing to cede control over the household finances to the other. And this last, I think, is the crux of the matter.</p> <p>All these issues are as much about power and control as they are about anything else. I have seen spouses sabotage their household finances simply to thwart the will of the other partner&mdash;as a concrete expression of the fact that they wield a full measure of the spending capability.</p> <h2>Structure of people</h2> <p>Everybody has their own natural level of frugality and there's not much you can do to change someone else's nature. (Changing your own is tough enough.) Exhortations, appeals to logic (or to dreams for the future), and leading by example all have their place, but only go so far. There is a great deal of room for negotiation when it comes to the household's common goals&mdash;but only a little room for negotiation when it comes to notions of how finances work.</p> <p>One's understanding of the world is learned young.&nbsp; It's learned by watching the early morning cartoons, by listening to songs about hard times, by seeing your friend's parents prosper and move on (or fail to), and by listening to what your parents have to say about their neighbors&mdash;both those who prosper and those who don't.&nbsp; It can also learned by watching and listening to your spouse&mdash;but only so fast, because the things learned young carry a weight that's hard to move.&nbsp;</p> <p>If your spouse doesn't (or you don't) understand that <em>spending less than you earn is the basis for everything else</em>&mdash;comfort, prosperity, security, success&mdash;then you'll only achieve those things through plain blind luck.&nbsp; Those people can spot their peers at the lottery ticket counter in the convenience store.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The line between frugal and crazy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living budget control credit frugal frugality husband power spouse wife Thu, 02 Apr 2009 14:20:58 +0000 Philip Brewer 3000 at http://www.wisebread.com Hands in Your Pocket: The Cost of Standby Power - Environmental and Otherwise http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cost of standby power 1.JPG" alt="power" title="power" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Go check your electricity meter box. Is the wheel turning and clicking over, recording your power usage? Probably. Now go back inside, and turn everything off. The lights, the coffee maker - even the fridge - and check your meter again. Is it still turning and clicking? It probably is, if even a little bit.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">You are a victim (and wanton consumer) of standby power. And you are paying dearly for it, in more ways than one.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>What is Standby Power?</strong><img height="128" align="right" width="171" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u290/cost_of_standby_power_2.jpg" /></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">Standby power (also called <em>phantom power </em>or a <em>phantom charge</em>) is the <strong>power consumed by appliances even when they are turned off</strong>.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">If it has an external power supply (power cords with blocky power adaptors), led lights, a remote control, or any sort of continuous display, you have a standby power culprit on your hands. Even your television, which may not have any led lights or displays, consumes a shocking amount of power (pardon the pun), simply waiting for you to pick up the remote and turn it on.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>What is the cost of Standby Power?</strong></h3> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>1 watt of standby power equates to about $1/year in consumption. </strong>This may not seem like much, but when you have 40+ appliances in your home drawing an average of 5 watts when they&rsquo;re off, this can add up.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Up to 10% of residential electric charges are attributable to standby power, and about 1% of global CO2 emissions are the result. Although this may still seem small for some, let&rsquo;s remember that this is a form of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-the-planet-one-drop-at-a-time">consumption</a> that serves no purpose; everything is off. You gain little to no benefit from this consumption &ndash; and cost. <strong>If you invested the $200/year you spend on standby power, you could have over $24,000 in 30 years</strong> (at 8% average growth).</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>What in my home consumes Standby Power, and how much?</strong></h3> <p>As stated earlier, <strong>if it has a led light, continuous display, remote control, or external adaptor, it is a standby power culprit.</strong></p> <p><b>Computers </b>are huge offenders, especially if you like to leave them in sleep mode: laptops draw almost 16 watts, and desktops over 21 watts. Even turned completely off but left plugged in, you will draw up to 9 watts. And if you like to leave your laptop plugged in while using it even if it is charged, you are drawing almost 30 watts of unnecessary power (not to mention destroying your laptop&rsquo;s battery life).</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p>Do you have a <b>digital cable box </b>sitting on top of your <b>television</b>? The digital cable box &ndash; <i>while off </i>- is pulling 17 watts, and 43 watts if you have a digital video recorder. Your television is consuming an average of 6 watts, just waiting for you to turn it on.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">To find out what in your household is consuming standby power and how much, check out <a href="http://standby.lbl.gov/summary-table.html">this great chart</a>.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>How do I reduce my Standby Power Usage?</strong><o:p></o:p></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">Here are a few suggestions:</p> <ul> <li>Unplug everything that is not currently in use.</li> <li>For ease of unplugging, use a power strip and switch it off to cut power to multiple appliances at once.</li> <li>If you have a wireless modem, turn it off when you are not using it. This is also a great security measure to ensure hackers don&rsquo;t have access to your internet connection and devices.</li> <li>Don&rsquo;t leave your laptop plugged in beyond the time it takes to charge (and make sure you unplug it from the wall; don&rsquo;t just disconnect the adaptor from the laptop). This also saves your laptop battery life.</li> <li>Check out products like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/green-switch-for-green-savings">Green Switch</a> to help you automate the process.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Together, let&rsquo;s save our money - and a little piece of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet">the environment</a>&nbsp; &ndash; by reducing our standby power consumption. It is easy enough once good habits have been developed. And who doesn&rsquo;t want to save money? I mean, really?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-i-just-won-t-do-to-save-money">10 Things I Just Won’t Do to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Green Living Lifestyle electricity phantom charge phantom power power standby power Thu, 05 Mar 2009 06:07:37 +0000 Nora Dunn 2893 at http://www.wisebread.com The end of the Energizer bunny: SIX products that don't need batteries. http://www.wisebread.com/the-end-of-the-energizer-bunny-six-products-that-dont-need-batteries <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/701590_rusty_battery.jpg" alt="battery" title="battery" width="300" height="224" /></p> <p>Since I became a father, my household&#39;s battery consumption has quadrupled. It seems like we&#39;re always running out of batteries, or batteries go &quot;missing&quot; from my tools, flashlights and other household items to make their way inside one of a dozen Fisher Price toys. I swear, Duracell and Energizer have some kind of secret deal going with the big toy companies.</p> <p>Anyway, I decided to take a look at a few products that have replaced batteries with something else. Be it a dynamo or kinetic energy or solar power, these are my top SIX picks of the battery-free products out there. Let&#39;s all raise our glasses to lower proft margins for the drum-banging bunny this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/41YJ6BEG16L__AA280_.jpg" alt="Dynamo Light" title="Dynamo Light" width="198" height="198" /></p> <p><strong>1:</strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009H50OA?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0009H50OA">Dynamo Illuminator Wind-up LED Flashlight</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B0009H50OA" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p>Simply turn the handle for just one minute and get one hour of continuous light. Ideal for the car or the emergency flashlight in your home, and it&#39;s cheap at less than $12.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/41ZRN1Z13EL__SS400_.jpg" alt="red radio" title="red radio" width="304" height="304" /></p> <p><strong>2: </strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KELFAA?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000KELFAA">Grundig FR200 Emergency Radio (Red)</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B000KELFAA" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p>This one&#39;s a little harder work, giving you just 10 minutes of radio time for 1 minute of cranking. However, after reading over 100 reviews it seems as though people don&#39;t mind this fact because the thing is built like a bomb shelter. And if you consider when you need to use a gadget like this, maybe in something like a Katrina situation, I&#39;ll take some cranking work in exchange for a functioning connection to the outside world. Less than $40. </p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/41oAkG1vwJL__SS400_.jpg" alt="tent" title="tent" width="317" height="317" /></p> <p><strong>3:</strong> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PER2A2?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000PER2A2">Eureka! Solar Intent Large 6-person Tent with Interior Lighting</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B000PER2A2" width="1" height="1" /><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>I&#39;m still impressed by this piece of equipment. A six-person solar-powered tent that gives you beautiful light at night and also charges batteries for you. It&#39;s 11ft x 11ft, 6ft 6&quot; tall and also has a window and 3 vents. It&#39;s also not much more expensive than regualr tents of the same size, coming in at $230. </p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/313E6JKAHJL__AA280_.jpg" alt="Shower" title="Shower" width="217" height="217" /></p> <p><strong>4:</strong> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI6SE4?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000FI6SE4">Reliance Solar Spray Shower</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B000FI6SE4" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p>As we&#39;re on the subject of camping, say goodbye to cold showers. This handy 5-gallon shower comes with solar panels to heat the water. Just hang it in the sun for around 2.5 hours and then enjoy a nice hot shower in less than favorable weather. At just $10, it&#39;s an affordable luxury away from home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/31fjlubXWML__AA280_.jpg" alt="Charger" title="Charger" width="266" height="266" /></p> <p><strong>5:</strong> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000S869KO?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000S869KO">Rustek Athena Mobile Phone Charger</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B000S869KO" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p>How many times has your phone gone dead on you? Well, if you&#39;re out and about this could be a handy thing to keep around. Using a dynamo it allows you to basically &quot;wind up&quot; your cell phone and start talking again. This one comes with adaptors for most phones and is under $25. I found others that also have lights and radios built in, but I say get something that is made for the job at hand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/41ZSXF13JBL__AA280_.jpg" alt="watch" title="watch" width="280" height="280" /></p> <p><strong>6: </strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000275SHG?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000275SHG">Men&#39;s Seiko Kinetic Bilingual calendar SKJ262</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B000275SHG" width="1" height="1" /> </p> <p>I&#39;ve never liked wind-up watches because my memory sucks. If I forget to wind, I could have a dead watch on me. And I hate that. Of course, batteries are more reliable but they die aswell. So for me, Kinetic watches are the way to go and Seiko is a great name to rely on. Most come in at around the $300 mark, but I found this beauty for $120 brand new. Fossil supposedly make a Kinetic line, too. </p> <p>On my travel I also discovered items like the wireless battery-free optical mouse and even a clockwork vibrator, but alas I could find no-one who stocked either. But watch this space.</p> <p> <em>Main photo (yes, I know it&#39;s not an Energizer battery) by <a href="http://www.sxc.hu/photo/701590">The Stock Exchange</a> </em></p> <p><em>All product links go to Amazon, a trusted site. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-end-of-the-energizer-bunny-six-products-that-dont-need-batteries">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-the-courtesy-flush-dead">Is the courtesy flush dead?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make">The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/convert-your-crap-into-cash-without-a-garage-sale">Convert Your Crap Into Cash Without a Garage Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Shopping batteries charge dynamo environment green power wind up Mon, 23 Jul 2007 20:00:54 +0000 Paul Michael 891 at http://www.wisebread.com