reduce electricity http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8911/all en-US 21 Teeny-Tiny Ways to Save http://www.wisebread.com/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/biking_family.jpg" alt="Biking family" title="Biking family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="120" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They say it&rsquo;s the little things in life that have the biggest impact &mdash; and that&rsquo;s quite true in the context of money matters. While making massive changes to the way you spend can help boost your bottom line, so too can minute measures that you may not have considered. Starting today, keep more cash in your pocket by instituting these teeny tiny ways to save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">37 Savings Changes You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h3>1. Sign Up for the Keep the Change Program</h3> <p>The Keep the Change program is exclusive to Bank of America, but there are other banks that have similar programs that round every debit-card purchase up to the nearest dollar and deposit that amount of change into your savings account. If you use your debit card frequently &mdash; I sure do &mdash; the savings can add up quickly.</p> <h3>2. Dress Warmer Around the House When It&rsquo;s Cold</h3> <p>No need to turn up the heat when there&rsquo;s a nip in the air. Head to your closet and put on socks, sweatpants, and a nice warm top to stay cozy instead of cranking up the thermostat.</p> <h3>3. Use Natural Light Whenever Possible</h3> <p>During the daytime, rely on natural light around your home and office when you&rsquo;re working. You&rsquo;ll save electricity, of course, but you&rsquo;ll also prevent your bulbs from burning out faster.</p> <h3>4. Eat More Leftovers</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t let perfectly <a href="http://www.quickquid.co.uk/quid-corner/2012/07/12/8-ways-to-prevent-fresh-food-waste/">good food go to waste</a> by stuffing it in a plastic container to rot in the fridge. Eat the leftovers for lunch or incorporate them into a new dish the next night.</p> <h3>5. Raise Your Insurance Deductibles</h3> <p>If you raise your insurance deductible, your premium will go down. Of course, then you&rsquo;ll have a high deductible, but if you're confident that you won&rsquo;t get into an accident anytime soon, this money-saving idea can save you a nice chunk of change.</p> <h3>6. Pay Down Credit Card Debt</h3> <p>If you have a credit card, stay on top of the payments &mdash; and try to pay them down quickly &mdash; so you&rsquo;re not charged the high interest rate that&rsquo;s attached to them.</p> <h3>7. Walk or Bike Instead of Driving</h3> <p>Put the car in park and travel by foot or bike to run errands that are near enough. Even once or twice a week will preserve a generous amount of gas throughout the year.</p> <h3>8. Bundle Your Media Services</h3> <p>If you don&rsquo;t already have a package deal for cable, phone, and Internet, call your provider to inquire about a bundle. Savings for bundling all three products could result in a decent reduction on your monthly bill.</p> <h3>9. Use Your FSA If Your Employer Offers It&nbsp;</h3> <p>If your workplace offers a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-free-medical-supplies-with-flex-spending">Flex Spending Account</a>, take advantage of it for co-pays and other eligible medical expenses and health products.</p> <h3>10. Use a Grocery Store Club Card</h3> <p>Many grocery store reward loyal customers with exclusive savings that are only given to those shoppers with club cards. It only takes a minute to sign up, and you&rsquo;ll see just how valuable it is on the bottom of your receipt.</p> <h3>11. Open the Windows When It&rsquo;s Cool Out</h3> <p>Instead of blasting the air conditioner or fan, open the windows to cool off if the weather outside is conducive.</p> <h3>12. Examine Your Bills Closely</h3> <p>This is one of my favorites on the list because so many people take their bills for granted. The billing entities (probably) aren&rsquo;t trying to rip you off on purpose, but mistakes happen, whether it&rsquo;s human error or a computer glitch. Take a look at your bills closely each month to make sure that all charges are correct. If something seems to be off, inquire about it &mdash; it could mean more money in your pocket.</p> <h3>13. Brew Your Own Coffee</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re a frequent coffee-shop patron, you&rsquo;ll save money when you switch to a regular regimen of home-brewed coffee. Just be sure you're making the appropriate amount of coffee for those drinking it; don&rsquo;t brew a whole pot if you only intend to drink a cup or two. You&rsquo;ll also lessen your carbon footprint by investing in a reusable travel cup &mdash; I prefer these barista-approved <a href="http://www.keepcup.com/">KeepCups</a> &mdash; which will save you a few cents off your coffee shop purchase on those sporadic days when you choose to indulge.</p> <h3>14. Unplug Electronics and Appliances When Not in Use</h3> <p>&quot;Vampire voltage&quot; is when electricity is being consumed by electronics that are plugged into an outlet but not in use. It&rsquo;s called that because it&rsquo;s literally sucking money out of your pocket. When you&rsquo;re not using an electrical item, unplug it to avoid being bled dry.</p> <h3>15. Record Movies on Your DVR</h3> <p>Have you noticed that there aren&rsquo;t many good DVDs available lately? Unhappy with the current rental selection, I&rsquo;ve starting scrolling future screenings on my premiums channels to find movies that I&rsquo;d like to watch later. When they're in my queue on a Friday night, I can skip the potential On Demand or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">DVD kiosk</a> purchase and put a few bucks back in my budget.</p> <h3>16. Reuse Paper</h3> <p>Every sheet of paper has two sides. If you can use the other for notes or for printing, do it. That&rsquo;s less waste in the recycling bin, fewer trips to the office store, and a savings of up to 50% on paper each year if you make this a habitual practice.</p> <h3>17. Visit the Library for New Books</h3> <p>When you&rsquo;re in the mood for a new book, visit your local library (yes, these still exist) instead of purchasing a hard copy or digital download.</p> <h3>18. Pay Your Bills Online</h3> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t noticed, stamps aren&rsquo;t cheap. You can save a few dollars a month on stamps and a few dollars a year on envelopes by paying your bills online instead of through the regular mail.</p> <h3>19. Just Say No to Newspapers and Magazines</h3> <p>We live in an age where information is disseminated almost immediately. By the time those print editions come out, someone in cyberspace has already let the cat out of the bag. Drop the newspaper and mag subscriptions &mdash; and avoid them in the checkout lanes &mdash; to save money.</p> <h3>20. Save Loose Change</h3> <p>Put the change in your pocket in a jug at the end of each day. Every few months or so, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">roll the change</a> and either deposit it in your savings account or treat yourself to something special.</p> <h3>21. Buy Store Brand Food</h3> <p>Switching just one of your name-brand favorites to the store brand will save you anywhere from a few cents to a dollar or so. Imagine how much you can save if you switch several.</p> <p><em>What other small ways can you think or to save a few bucks here and there? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save">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/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</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/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</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/for-a-better-relationship-with-money-make-plans">For a Better Relationship With Money, Make Plans</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/old-stuff-how-to-kindly-receive-and-reuse">Old Stuff: How to Kindly Receive and Reuse</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/hand-me-down-cell-phones">Hand-me-down Cell Phones</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living easy ways to save reduce electricity reuse small changes Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:24:40 +0000 Mikey Rox 952260 at http://www.wisebread.com Take These Costs Off Your Worry List in 2011 http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011 <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011-tom-harnish" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/take-these-costs-off-your...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011193166XSmall.jpg" alt="Worried couple" title="Worried couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us spend a lot of time and money worrying about things that really aren't problems. For example, violence and oddballs fill our screens because news today is more about attracting eyeballs to advertisers than informing viewers. &quot;If it bleeds, it leads&quot; has been the driving philosophy of the evening news, if not in fact, then in principle. As a result, we're left with the impression that all sorts of terrible things will happen if we're foolish enough to venture out of the house, use our cell phones, get vaccinations, or live near power lines. But that's not reality.</p> <p>In fact, the rate of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and assault) has continuously declined since 1980. That's true of property crimes (burglary, larceny, and car theft) too. And there's conclusive evidence that cell phones don't cause brain cancer, vaccines don't cause autism, and high-tension power lines won't make you crazy. Sure there are people who get a lot of airtime claiming they know more than everyone else, but that doesn't make them right.</p> <p>Likewise, as business owners with real problems like cash flow, you may be focusing your worries on cutting costs that don't really affect your bottom line. Here are 3 costs you can take off your worry list.</p> <h3>The Price of Gas</h3> <p>We worry a lot about gas prices and car mileage, too. But fuel costs are less than 20% of the cost of operating your car. The difference in fuel cost for an SUV that gets 20 miles per gallon and an economy car that gets 30 miles per gallon (assuming you drive 10,000 miles a year and fuel costs $2.50 a gallon) is about $35 a month. That's probably half of your cable and Internet subscription.</p> <p>Or look at fuel costs another way: If you typically need to put 15 gallons in your car to fill it up, and you have a choice of pulling in to a station that charges $2.50 per gallon or waiting in a line for gas that costs $2.40 per gallon, which will you choose? Think about it for a minute. The difference is a buck and a half. And that doesn't include the cost of the gas you consumed while you were waiting or the value of your time. Assuming the same 10,000 miles a year and the higher fuel consumption rate (20 miles per gallon), you'll put 15 gallons in about 30 times. So in a year you'd only save $45 (or about $30 a year if you have an economy car) if you wait in line for the lower price.</p> <p>Is that really worth worrying about? If you run a company and spend that same time and thought to make a few more sales, you'd cover those small cost differences and a lot more.</p> <h3>Computer Electricity Costs</h3> <p>Do you worry about office electricity costs, for computers in particular? There has been a lot of ink (or pixels) used to warn us about the electricity they waste when they aren't being used. After all, there are about 100 million personal computers used in the United States, and about half are left on all the time. That means that 75% of the time those computers are sitting there doing nothing but using energy and costing money while they tirelessly ask themselves, &quot;Did someone press a key, did someone press a key, did someone press a key, is there any new email, did someone press key, did someone press a key?&quot;</p> <p>Well, that <em>would</em> be a waste, except computer makers thought about it. They built low-energy and sleep modes into your computer, and your computer spins down your hard drive when it's not being used. According to Apple specifications, a Mac Mini, for example, uses about 1.5 watts when it's asleep. An idle HP inkjet printer uses even less, about .4 watts, the same as your iPod charger. So they cost you about $1.50 a year and 50&cent; a year, respectively, if you never turn them off (assuming a U.S. average 10&cent; per kilowatt hour). That's compared to about $60 a year that it costs to actually use the computer and an LCD monitor eight hours a day every day &mdash; about half what your dishwasher costs if you run it once a day.</p> <h3>Vampire Power</h3> <p>While we're on the topic of energy, have you seen the scare headlines about how appliances &ldquo;leak&rdquo; power? Televisions, cable boxes, answering machines, cordless phones, fax machines, video games, and even rechargeable electric toothbrushes do draw power all the time. But vampire power usage isn't very much per device. A cellphone charger uses barely a watt when it's plugged in but not connected to a cell phone. Your electric toothbrush uses less than a watt when you aren't brushing. What about that old TV that uses 10 watts of standby power even when it's off? (Modern TVs all use less than a watt.) Even that sucker is only costing you about a buck a month. In any event, the problem will go away soon as old TVs are junked and more countries require vampire power usage of no more than one watt on new devices.</p> <p>All told, standby power accounts for only 5% of your energy use. Instead, if you want to worry about something, worry about your heating, cooling, and lighting costs.</p> <p>Now stop worrying and get back to work.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011">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-2"> <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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</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/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</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/need-business-credit-build-your-personal-credit-first">Need Business Credit? Build Your Personal Credit First</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/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center crime gas prices reduce electricity small business Sat, 25 Dec 2010 16:00:41 +0000 Tom Harnish 397690 at http://www.wisebread.com Green Switch for Green Savings http://www.wisebread.com/green-switch-for-green-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/green-switch-for-green-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green switch (1).jpg" alt="green switch" title="green switch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="173" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Did you know that even after turning everything off in your home, you are still paying for electricity consumption you may be unaware of? If you’re like me, that should get both the frugal and green-friendly aspects of your personality all riled up. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Some scary facts for you: </p> <ul> <li>8-10% of your home’s electricity consumption is due to appliances left in standby mode.</li> <li>A mobile phone charger uses 2 watts while charging a phone, 2 watts even when the phone is fully charged, and STILL 1.5 watts when the charger is plugged in without the phone. </li> <li>Home entertainment systems (TV, DVD, audio systems) are the worst culprits, sucking over 28 watts even when all the components are turned off or are in standby mode. </li> <li>Your stereo will use 23 watts while playing music, and 20 watts while left on but not playing music. </li> <li>On a grander scale, the <a href="http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/" target="_blank">Energy Saving Trust</a> claims that appliances on standby produce 50 million tones of CO2 annually. </li> <li>Energy Saving Trust (a UK based organization) also claims that if one mobile charger per household is left plugged in, enough energy is generated (wasted, really) to provide power to 66,000 households for one year. Yikes. </li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">When you plug in your phone or camera to charge overnight, it usually finishes charging after about an hour. What about the other seven or eight hours you are sleeping? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Not to mention that as long as all these appliances are burning up power, they’re also slowly but surely wearing and tearing. Turning them off – really off – when you aren’t using them is the best way to get more miles out of your purchases. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Go around your home and look for lights. You know – the little LED lights that indicate something somewhere is plugged in. They’re on chargers, power bars, DVD players, stereos, coffee makers, and various clocks around the house. All those little lights indicate that power is being used up, and most of the time unnecessarily. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But let’s think practically here. Going around the house at night or whenever you leave and unplugging everything isn’t going to happen. Heck – the backaches alone from reaching and craning around furniture to access well-hidden outlets will cost you more in medical bills in the end! </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Seriously though, there are now products on the market to help reduce excessive power consumption. One of them is called the <a href="http://www.greenswitch.tv/" target="_blank">Green Switch</a>. Their product was originally designed for the hotel/hospitality industry, which saw an energy cost savings of 25-45% as a result. So the next logical market became the consumer one. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>How it Works</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">From what I can tell, it involves a relatively simple installation of the green switch in place of one of your outlets. It then sends a wireless signal to other outlets, light switches, and thermostats in your home to turn the power off at the source when the green switch is activated. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Installation takes under an hour and if you are comfortable with changing an outlet or light switch, this would be a piece of cake. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>How Much?</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Every home is different, so there is no standard cost across the board for this product. If you are interested in knowing how much it would cost you specifically, they will email you a quote based on information you provide about how large your home is and what sorts of appliances you have.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The only indication of cost is a mention of “<em>payback in about 1-2 years</em>” on their website. The payback comes in the form of energy bill savings. It seems like a long break-even period to me, but then again if you are installing a system like this it is for more than just frugal reasons; there is an environmentally-friendly component to this that holds weight too. And once you’ve broken even, it’s all gravy from there. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="http://www.enviroplug.com/index.php" target="_blank">Enviroplug</a> is a UK-based company that also has a line of products similar to the Green Switch, which help eliminate phantom power drains to help you save money and reduce your negative impact on the environment. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I have not personally tried either product (<a href="/hobo-living-made-easy" target="_blank">it’s a long story</a>!), so I cannot personally endorse them any more than to say I have researched them and am impressed with the product offering. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you want to <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet" target="_blank">go green and reduce your expenses</a> in the meantime, now you have yet another solution at your fingertips. All you have to do is take the first step. </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/green-switch-for-green-savings">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/how-low-can-you-go-taking-the-no-heat-challenge">How Low Can You Go? Taking the No Heat Challenge</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-coffee-cup-revolution-lets-take-a-stand">The Coffee Cup Revolution: Let&#039;s Take a Stand!</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/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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/the-best-cooking-oils-for-your-heart-and-wallet">The Best Cooking Oils: For Your Heart and Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living green switch reduce electricity save power Mon, 10 Mar 2008 18:59:27 +0000 Nora Dunn 1904 at http://www.wisebread.com