Saturday, February 9, 2008

Should you switch to Compact Flourescent bulbs?

It's good news that the industry is phasing out the standard incandescent know, the kind we've used for years. They are replacing them with the Compact Fluorescent bulbs which you've no doubt seen gracing the aisles of your home improvement store, and have even slowly made their way into drug stores and grocery stores.

The good news is that not only are they better for the environment (by using less energy), but they also are a good deal for you....the person paying the energy bill. On average, you will recoup the money you spent on the new bulbs in about 6 months.

If you are replacing a 60 watt bulb with a 13 watt CF bulb, you save 47 watts per hour. Let's say that you burn a bulb on average 4 hours a day. That means you save (47x4) 188 watt hours per day. Multiply that by 365 days = 68,620 watt hours....also known as 68.6 kilowatt hours.

In my home market of Raleigh, NC, 1 kilowatt hour costs $0.095. (To find out how much 1 kilowatt hour costs you, just check your energy bill.)

Therefore assuming 4 hours per day for a year, you'd save (68.6 x .095) $6.51 per year per bulb replaced. Considering the bulbs cost only $2-$3 these get your payback in just a few months.

Here's a quick spreadsheet to help you figure your payback.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Avoid Coupon Burnout by "Playing the Game"

I read an article this morning on "Avoiding Frugality Burnout." One of the pieces of advice that the author gives is to treat your "couponing" like a game. I couldn't agree more. Treating it like a game makes it much more doable. Have fun with it...laugh at yourself.

Does saving $30 on groceries this week really make that much difference in the grand scheme of things? Not really. But by treating it like a game and enjoying the "thrill of the hunt," the savings begin to add up ...and up....and up.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of couponing is having others to compare to. Even if my girlfriend "wins" this week -- because I save 68%, and she saves 70%....we just had fun and saved tons of money. It beats spending $8.50 per ticket to go to the movies!

So don't fret if you had a bad spending week. Just play the game again this week and vow to win this time. If you had a great week last week, try to beat your best "score." It's a win/win.