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My biggest money saving tips

Posted by deb_pa (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 7, 11 at 23:37

5 years ago I switched out all light bulbs to CFL bulbs. Two things happened, electric bill dropped $20 per month and in the summer no heat is generated by the bulbs. I have only had to replace one in all this time. Second- the year before hubby retired we bought all new appliances. We bought gift cards each pay at the local grocery store which gave us twenty cents off per gallon of gas for each card then used them at the local appliance chain to buy the washer, dryer, stove and hot water tank. Electric bill dropped $30 per month. I researched with our electric company first to make sure the appliances were in accordance to their ratings to get rebates and got between $25 - $50 rebates on the electric bills per appliance. 3rd savings, tell your car insurance company you are retired, vehicle is no longer listed as driven to work, and they drop the "lost wage" part reducing the bill. Hope this helps you all save some cash.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My biggest money saving tips

If you think that's impressive, wait until you discover LED lights. They are improving them all the time, prices are getting more reasonable, and we have about 50% of our CFL replaced with LED bulbs.

CFL use about 25% of the electricity of an incandescent, while an LED light uses about 2%. So look at the money you can save there.

LED lights use 1/50 of the energy of a standard bulb and last 10 times longer than their CFL alternatives. LEDs can last 15 years. They are much safer to use where a CFL could accidentally get broken (lamps, children's rooms). There won't be any concern with mercury when you use LED lights.

LED lights come on instantly, unlike CFL, especially when installed in a cold room. Nothing like that ghastly orange/pink glow first thing in the morning in the bathroom, cast by CFL. They can't get rid of stupid mercury-containing CFL soon enough for me, and replace them with LED!!!! We have to bag burned-out CFL and take them to the hazardous waste collection site to dispose of them.

We've been using CFL since they became affordable - back in the 1990's - long before "light bulb socialism" came into existence.

-Grainlady


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RE: My biggest money saving tips

Haven't seen the LED bulbs yet. Do they come in watts? The CFL ones that compare to 60 watt are too low so I use the ones that compare to 100. Sure will check them out, are they at local super stores?


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Yes, LED bulbs come in equivalence ratings. I too started switching over in the 90s. I started with 3 bulbs at a time I needed to cut some expenses. I did some math and thought it was worth a try. They were on sale at a (then) good price and I noticed a difference in the electric consumption. I've switched about 90% or more of my lighting to CFL since. I still can't justify $25 per bulb for LED to even try them out but I'm keeping an eye out for a deal. I use CFL indoor and out including in the motion detector. No problem with them working at low temperatures either. In the (dozen or more) years I've used them now, I think I've replaced two bulbs. I should do some math and figure out about how much I've saved in the meantime.

Grainlady, normally we think alike on most things, but I have to take issue with you on the CFLs and the inaccurate and/or misleading comments you made. Normally you present a pretty balanced evaluation of things but CFLs must be a hotspot with you! :) There's so much bad info out there about mercury. Let's clear up a few things. If anyone lives anywhere near a coal-fired power plant complaining about mercury in a bulb is laughable. If you live near a coal plant, you're breathing mercury every day of your life. The mercury in the bulbs (unlike the power plant) is contained unless they break and even if they do, the amount of mercury in them is very low. They advise caution on cleaning it up, yes, just as they tell us to cook pork to 180°, don't wash clothes in hot water and other warnings. Good grief I grew up with mercury thermometers and other stuff. I still have mercury thermometers around here and I'm not running scared. We played around with mercury in school. The amount of mercury put in the air in one day by a plant is more mercury than in all the CFL bulbs in use. No, the mercury scare is very very overrated.

People don't run in fear of thermostats, many of which contain mercury. How about mercury vapor lamps? Auto headlamps? Those blue tint ones contain mercury. Pilot light sensors in gas appliances, thermostat probes, gauges, relays, switches, clothes irons, children's chemistry sets, vintage toys, athletic shoes (with lights in them), batteries, paint and other common things around the house are some items that can contain mercury. Where's the hysteria over them? The mercury mantra is really a big red herring.

Also the color temperature varies by the bulb. If you buy warm white of *any* type bulb you get that pinkish orange color. It's not just CFLs. As for instant on, some of mine are instant on. Not all, obviously since they're different ages, brands and models. But again, that's not accurate.

Personally, I'm in no hurry to replace them. Come to think of it, I'm still using the 4' fluorescent "shop" lights in the garage and basement that I installed over 30 years ago. I even have one of those old "ring" flurorescent lights down the basement, still going strong, although *that* one is *definitely* not instant on and it's that pukey warm white that was so popular at the time. (No cool white and certainly no daylight versions available then.

Oh, and for disposal? We can take them to a recycling center or easier yet, most places that sell bulbs recycle them. Home Depot, Menards, Lowe's, all take them. AFAIK even Target, Malwart and the others might take them - I haven't checked. Just like used oil can be brought to oil change places (among other places) for disposal. Although MN has been a bit progressive in a lot of ways on recycling through the years. I'm surprised they don't make it a federal law that places take it.

One money saver that is hard to get across is to stay home! LOL Combine your trips and make no special trips. You save the cost of driving to a store, spending money, impulse purchases, and if you want to get petty, less risk of catching a cold or the flu! LOL I couldn't believe how much less I'm driving these days. I couldn't believe how few miles I've put on my vehicle. That means tires, engine, even oil changes, to say nothing of gas, and more savings. Also for driving low mileage I get an insurance discount.

Cut waste, cut needless spending and cut impulse purchases and you'll save some big bucks. Closing off unused rooms saves heat and a/c costs, and that can be significant. When you buy things that aren't absolutely essential consider if you really need it or just want it. Often there's alternatives so you don't have that thing sitting around that you thought was so great but after using it once it goes on the shelf. That's the same as cash in the trash, actually worse in some ways since it's taking up space.

Repair, reduce, reuse, recycle, and resist should be the thoughts of anyone wanting to save money.


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I agree with Grainlady about the LED lights, I just don't like the CFL's. We live out in the country where there is no convenient place to dispose of the CFL's. We usually just toss them into the garbage. It's not environmental, but I just don't have the time or space to store them up until I go into the big city 25 miles away. It seems that we are always having to replace them.

I do like many of Cynic's suggestions, not only on this thread but on other's I have read. We also are careful about our driving. We have two teenagers and taking them back and forth to their activities is hard on the car. Now that the weather is nice, we often take them into our small town 5 miles from our house in our pick-up and put their bikes in the back. Once they are in town, they can ride to the library, bowling ally, swimming pool or over to friends houses. Then we just pick them up in the afternoon. We try to do any errands on one of those trips.

We have to go to the larger city, 25miles away to do all or our big shopping or for most of our Dr. appointments. We try to stock up as much as possible, with an ice chest in the trunk, so that we can make the trip only once every 2 or 3 weeks. We get our produce and dairy products in our smaller town.

My 83 year old husband still does his own maintenance on our car and most of the repairs, as well as a lot of things around the house. He can still do painting, plumbing and most home maintenance around the house. That is a big money saver.


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We are really trying to get our electic bill down this summmer. I'm using a clothesline vs. running our electric dryer, we turned down the temp on the hot water heater and I just bought CFL bulbs on super sale for $0.99 for a package of 3 bulbs. Unfortunately many of our fixtures take the smaller end "decorative" bulbs and I don't think you can get those in CFL. A screw in "converter" would be nice to allow people to use the regular CFL's in those fixtures like ceiling fans. We haven't determined what the savings is on the electric bill yet, but when the July bill comes we should have an idea.


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RE: My biggest money saving tips

cynic-

1. I've never paid as much as $25 for LED bulbs, they have always been much less when we purchased them in 2- or 3-packs at Sam's Club. Sam's Club have always had the least expensive ones we could fine. We currently have 6 Florescent Fixtures, 10 CFL (bulbs and can-lights) and 21 LED bulbs and can-lights in use in our home.

2. When used in a cold environment (60-degrees F or colder), our CFL never perform well - LED lights never have that problem. Never had ANY CFL that would work outdoors well enough to be useful, and we've tried many brands. We don't leave porch lights on, and if it doesn't work well enough for a brief on and off use (the few seconds it takes to locate the newspaper or let a visitor in or out), they are USELESS to us.

3. I use CFL and florescent lights, so how could I have a problem with them? Be careful not to jump to such conclusions based on absolutely no indication of it from me in my previous post.... Chill-out!!! However, I AM waiting in anticipation for the LED science and price to improve enough to put CFL out of business for even more savings for homeowners based on longevity and lower cost for use. I'm all about saving money - I'm not worried so much about the small amount of mercury in the bulbs, or that it "might" destroy the planet.....(in spite of the hypocrisy of the Federal Government and the EPA). There have been mercury vapor lights and florescent lights for all these years and we seem to be just fine....as you pointed out. LED lights are a better choice anywhere you wouldn't want a broken CFL - especially for anyone who doesn't want the mercury problem.

4. You may be interested to know the new fixtures for florescent lights are all but worthless - so take care of those old ones you have, and that's another reason I'm hopeful for the future of LED lights. We moved into our newly-built home 5-years ago and we have replaced the entire fixtures (not the bulbs) in our laundry room and our kitchen TWICE (they seem to last about 2-1/2 years). You can't always get replacement ballasts for them, or the ballasts cost nearly as much as the new fixture. The new "gotcha" at the big box stores.

We actually use a large solar-powered LED light in our home in the evening (purchased at Sam's Club), and a rope of LED lights above the cabinets in the kitchen provide more than enough ambient light. A couple motion-activated LED night lights (large models - not those dinky ones) are more than enough light in the windowless bathrooms for a "quick" visit when we don't need all the lights on.

-Grainlady


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"When used in a cold environment (60-degrees F or colder), our CFL never perform well"

Interesting, as we have a CFL in our dusk-to-dawn lamppost, and the winters are VERY cold here.
Even down to -20, it does well!


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caavonldy, I'm concerned that you may have a wiring problem causing your CFL bulbs to "constantly" go out. I've used nothing but CFL's for the past 16 years (except in 1 lamp where the shade attaches by hugging a regular incandescent bulb.) When I move, I take them with me and put the incandescents back that were in the fixtures when I moved in, and I've moved some of these bulbs 5 times. I've only ever had 2 reach the end of their life so far.

My biggest money saving tip? Shopping is not a leisure activity. If you're not out of something you need, stay home. And don't browse for "bargains." If it's not on your list, it's not a good deal because you don't need it.

The next-biggest is to learn the difference between "need" and "want." Then, when you want something you don't really need, wait until you consciously find yourself wanting it at least 5 times. You'll be surprised how many things you want that you just forget about and your life is just fine without them.


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When folks get uptight about mercury in CFLs, they seem to be ignoring the fact that "regular" fluorescent tubes contain the same chemicals as CFLs, including mercury. CFLs physically include the ballast to operate the bulb, which is a separate component part-and-parcel of the fixture for "regular" fluorescents.

One confirmed problem I've found with CFLs is they age rapidly and often fail prematurely in ceiling "can" fixtures ... even the reflector-type CFL intended for such use. Operating enclosed and in a base-up orientation in such fixtures exposes the base to excess heat.


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dadoes post explains our problem with the CFL's burning out. We have ceiling fans in every room except the bathrooms and the laundryroom. The lights are in the same fixture as the fan. I was thinking that the vibration of the fan also caused the lights to fail also. We live in CA and find that using the ceiling fans saves a lot of power expense as we can delay the use of our AC for several hours.


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Wait until the latest generation incandescents hit the markets.

Faced with a deadline and the loss of a huge market, Phillips and the other manufacturers dumped some serious research into improving efficiency of the good old 60W bulbs ... and the first ones can meet the 2012 standards, with the next generation bulbs far higher.

As the production and sales rises, costs WILL come down, but they are cheaper now than the higher quality CFLs. And they work in dimmers.


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Can lights and fan lights are 2 quite different things, although the base-up orientation is the same and, when not running the fan, I can see where heat would build-up in the glass covers. Except for lamps, aren't bulbs usually used upside-down, though? This is an interesting point, both of the bulbs I've had that burned out were in ceiling fan fixtures where I only use(d) the fan part occasionally compared to the use of the lights.

And I think johnmerchant meant the tips he had already read here by "these tips."

New generation incandescents sound great! No matter what the label says, fluro light is never as pleasant. I hope they are not as hot as the old-school type.

I also wanted to add that my investment of about $20 in seeds this spring (and the borrowing of a tiller, maybe $2 in gas to run it) has yielded at least 5x that amount of food if the same had been bought at a store. That's 500% ROI. Although some things failed, as always with a veg patch, there are still many more veggies that we should be eating from there that aren't ready yet.

We did spend money running the hose (about $20 so far this year, including flower-only areas) but if rainfall had been "normal," watering costs would have been insignificant. Another factor that would have saved watering costs is mulch. As I predicted, it would have cost much more to buy mulch than water when needed, so I decided to wait to start mulching until this fall when I can find enough materials for free coverage for this new veg patch.

Another thing we've done this year is camping. Happen to live close to the gulf coast, so we are able to stay right on the beach in FL, and have been 3 times (total of 5 nights) already this year. A few buck for gas to get there. Compared to the cost of a condo on the beach, it's an incredible difference. For less than the cost of valet parking at a fancy hotel, our campsite was paid in full. Brought everything we ate or drank, so only spent a little more than if we'd been at home (to get portable or smaller packages, individual serving sizes to avoid trying to keep open packages critter-free, convenience foods that might usually be home-made.) Had elec. to charge phones, run fan, whatever.

Car maintenance may seem like an expense, but it's really an investment. If you take good care of a decent car, the costs of maintenance will be way less than the cost of a payment every month. If you drive a paid-for car for 1 year instead of making a $250 monthly payment, you save $3,000. Say you need a new battery ($85,) and 4 new tires ($600,) AND your alternator goes out (around $250.) You're still over $2,000 to the good. And you have the option to forego comprehensive coverage on your insurance.

Any time you don't pay the entire balance on a credit card, you are essentially lighting some of your money on fire.


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Embarrassed to say I'm a smoker. But maybe this might save someone some money ...

Price of cigarettes here even off brand is like $46.00 a carton.. Name brand $55.00 .

To save some money, I make my own. Buy online the empty cigarette tubes and smooth pipe tobacco. Tobacco comes in different blends to almost match the big brands. Use little tobacco injectors to stuff the tubes.

Total cost is about $7 - $10 per carton. Price per carton sort of varies for me depending mostly on shipping costs and quantiy I order each time.

So easy to do.


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I've never used payday loans - they're far worse than "credit" (actually "debt") cards.

Store-issued cards in this area charge about 28%, and most of the stuff that most of us buy isn't deductible, so one must earn pre-tax $35.00, then pay $7.00 income trax, if one is in 20% tax bracket, to have $28.00 after-tax money to pay the interest on the loan.

And if one misses a payment ... or is late ... or doesn't pay the minimum - extra fees!

Also, if one doesn't pay off the full amount owing each time, when one makes new purchases, they are added to the amount owing at the time of purchase and that full amount is the base for the interest added at the next billing period.

When I pay the full amount in each billing period, I pay no interest on current purchases.

Great money-saver is to have a garden.

There's a community garden on our church's lot and most plots are small, so it seems to me that several operators should buy seeds together, as each has only a few plants and would almost certainly have a lot of seeds left over.

ole joyful


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I have to agree about the CFLs in the ceiling cans. We're been in our house 3 years and have had to replace many of them. Have been replacing with incandescents due to their ugliness and short life. Will have to try out the LEDs.


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As of 2012, stores will no longer be able to sell incandescent lights in Canada.

I have some CFL's and have replaced them because they've burned out. So much for lasting 7 years. They were in the open, too....e.g. bathroom fixture over the mirror and my table lamps.

I find them extremely irritating to read by, even the ones that are equal to 100- watt. I don't buy into the whole hype, as they are more expensive to make, and harder to dispose of.


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amazing. my electric bill is always sky high...can't seem to get it down. although i LOVE my AC


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Let me give you a laugh. My Mom "hated" the CFL bulbs when she sawm. So she made it a project to buy up all the old incandescent bulbs she could. She laid in quite a "hoard" , then she died in January. What should we do with her stockpile?


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Wait 4 or 5 years then sell them on Ebay auction.


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1. Making do with one car (two person household). I'm fortunate to be able to commute to work via train. We also live close enough that I bike or walk to the train station and don't need to drive/be driven there.

2. Line drying most of my clothes after just a few minutes in the dryer to "fluff them up". This is done year-round in the basement. This also extends the life of my clothing.

3. Buying many items used via Craigslist. Dining room set, artwork, guest room daybed, bicycles to name a few items.

We have not switched to CFL's. I'm turned off by the quality of light they produce and the corkscrew design. I know there supposedly have been improvements in these areas, but I believe we won't bother with them until we are forced to use them. The posts here about CFLs not living up to their alleged long lives makes me feel less guilty about using them, LOL. I've given some thought to using them in areas where that wouldn't matter to me, but that would defeat the purpose because it would be in spots where the lights are infrequently used anyway - closets, garage, basement. The lights we use the most are the ones with the most visible bulbs and I don't want to look at those ugly things!


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My husband collected all the incandescent bulbs he could find too. We've had poor luck with the CFLs too, and our house was rewired a few years ago and it didn't help.

My tips:

Dental work is expensive. Brush and floss your teeth diligently, and make sure your children do so; check frequently for cavities or other problems. My daughter has never had a cavity and we've never spent a penny on her at the dentist--when we took her in for a checkup a year or two ago, the dentist called in her assistant to see her healthy teeth.

Live as healthily as you can in general. Medical care is expensive, not to speak of the quality of life issues.

If you can do a decent job of it, do some of the family hair cutting at home, and lengthen times between haircuts with trims. A pair of haircutting scissors is helpful.

I've always line dried most of my clothes, even living in areas with wet winters: I had a clothesline in my old laundry room; where I live now I don't own a dryer. We don't heat our bedrooms. We also don't have air conditioning, though this isn't feasible for many people. Sometimes a fan will cool enough. Deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines around a house can cool it significantly.

Certainly, don't get into debt if it's not an absolute emergency, or unless the debt is an investment that's likely to yield profits down the road: a house (no, really!); an education. Cut up those credit cards, unless you need one--just one--in order to rent a car.
Credit cards used to have a purpose, before the days of the debit card and ATM machines, when an individual left her local area and needed to make payments to strangers--remember payment by check or, when traveling, traveler's check? Nowadays the only reason to have a credit card is to spend money you don't have, that is, get into debt.

I agree with just about all the tips offered above. I've always camped out, stayed in youth hostels when I traveled, tried to ration automobile use (difficult where I live now) walking and biking instead, bought second hand, taken good care of my possessions and not replaced them until they were actually worn out, NOT considered shopping a form of entertainment, maintained a certain skepticism about the acquisition of stuff. I think we all need to get back to doing more for ourselves.

Remember your public library! You don't necessarily need to buy that book or movie in order to read it or watch it. And support your public library with a donation.

Make home a pleasant and interesting place to be; then you won't feel the need to get away from it so often. This includes maintaining good relations with the people you live with. And treasure any good cook in your midst: she/he will save you restaurant bills and you'll probably be healthier as well. Good food is more costly than the cheapest bad food, but not necessarily expensive. I'm a great believer in beans and potatoes, and they can be very tasty.


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gIVE 10% TO YOUR CHURCH AND LIVE OFF THE REST.iT WORKS.


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Concerning the advice to always pay credit card bills in full. A woman I know did that and the company dropped her. Think about it. They are in business to make money off interest. If you pay off every month, they don't and they still have the expense of carrying the account. So perhaps it would be wiser to let them make a little money. But not too much.


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If you pay off every month, they don't and they still have the expense of carrying the account.
They make their money off of the merchant. I'm thinking that they charge something like 3% of the amount the customer charges. They still make plenty of $$$.


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"They are in business to make money off interest. If you pay off every month, they don't and they still have the expense of carrying the account. So perhaps it would be wiser to let them make a little money. But not too much."

No, they are in to make money - period.
And the make it off the merchant with every purchase I make.

It is not wise AT ALL to carry a balance....


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nice post..


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My wife and I have been paying off the total balance on all credit cards each month since 1987 and have not had any problems.

Last year we got new appliances, windows, and doors, all rated for high efficiency, and the utility consumption went UP by a small fraction - go figure. [The utility consumption actually went up. I am not talking about cost but rather actual consumption.]


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Like many of you I have switched to CFL bulbs. There are bulbs now covered in plastic globes to simulate incandescent light bulbs especially for those decorative type fixtures. I have found a bulb to fit in every lamp/fixture we have.

I hoped to find money saving tips here, but I guess they all look familiar. One I haven't heard is to turn off/unplug appliances that are not in use. Particularly, power strips, electronics, etc., that continue to carry a charge even when not in use.

For me - wear a sweater and shoes/socks/slippers instead of turning up the heat. Seal leaky windows with plastic and block breezes from under the door in winter.

In summer, shade is the best protection against the heat - pull shades down to block/reflect sunlight. They should be white or light to do this otherwise they will absorb heat and radiate back into the house.

Plant more flowers! You won't have to mow the grass. :)

Keep the good ideas coming! Thanks.

A.


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They say that 13 watts of CFL = 60 watts of incandescent ... I say that they lie!

And using a 4x multiple, as they often do, seems false to me, as I claim that I don't get even 52 watts equivalent out of the 13 watt CFL.

ole joyful


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Great tips!


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CFLs are an unmitigated failure in my household. They don't produce enough light. They also don't weather as many on/off cycles as their incandescent predecessors.

LED nightlights abound though, allowing me to navigate without turning on the overheads in each room.

The bedroom isn't heated. The air conditioner was used less than seven days last summer.

My credit card gives me five cents off per gallon of gas. It is only used for gas, and is paid off each month

The flowbee has allowed me to avoid the hairdresser for two or three years now.

An interesting aside: both my bosses (both are entrepreneurs) bring bags lunches almost without fail.


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CFL's are heavily subsidized by the federal government with our tax money which is why they basically give them away at the stores. You think they are cheap but the truth is: you've already paid big for them. Over in Japan (I believe) where there is no subsidy, they cost upwards of 15.00.
Also, do some research on the light frequency of CFL's. Very disrupting to the human system vs. the incandescent. I wouldn't have a CFL if they gave them to me. LED's are cool and maybe when the price comes down will be more doable.

Here is a link that might be useful: cfl article


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deedles-

Great link. Thanks for sharing it.

-Grainlady


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Albert_135, did you take into account the outdoor weather? Time of year? Besides comparing to previous years bills, we try to keep note of when a particular cold or heat spell was. There are so many factors.


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if they just take that first step the first step is always the hardest one. After that, you start taking more and more little steps and before you know it, your financial life is getting better and better.
What follows is a list of 100 more steps to take. Each of these tactics are simple little moves you can make to improve your financial situation. Some of them take just a few minutes, others might take an hour or two


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Car with standard transmission uses about 5 - possibly 10% less fuel.

Skilfully done, car drivers can save even more.

When you see a traffic signal turn yellow ahead - there's no law that says that you have to keep your foot continuing to push on the throttle! Then hit the brake, about a hundred feet from the intersection.

Foot off of the throttle: coast toward the light. If you know it fairly well, you may be able to arrange to arrive close to the last car in the line just as it starts to move forward, and it takes less fuel to increase the speed while rolling that to start rolling from a standing stop.

I often push in the clutch and turn off the ignition when I see a light go yellow ahead ... and can often manage to keep the car rolling as I approach a red light when it turns to green. Some say that coasting with the engine off is illegal in their jurisdiction, so best check with the legal people before you try that: the police here say that I am to be in charge of my vehicle at all times.

No jack-rabbit starts when the light turns green, either. Try to arrange to travel with a friend driving a car that tells immediate fuel economy levels, get him to make a jack-rabbit start from a light that just turned green - and see your jaw drop as you see what mileage per gallon is being obtained at that point.

Try to drive as closely as possible to the same speed, and a few miles/kms. per hour under the speed limit ... but not so far under as to be a hazard to the free flow of traffic. That's made easier by leaving a cushion of space between you and the car ahead ... and try not to get too incensed when other drivers pull into that hole in your lane, stealing your cushion.

ole joyful


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