Writing articles, an easy way to make a couple dollars

Most of us have some sort of downtime in our lives. Whether your watching TV and commercials come on, or you’re waiting for a cake to bake, there’s always a time when you’re not busy doing anything. These are the moments when, if you’d like, you could make a quick buck or two online!

There are actually a couple ways to make some easy dollars online, but this article will be talking about writing content for Associated Content. We all have unique experiences and knowledge, and if you’d like to share that knowledge with the world, Associated Content is the best website to do it on. It’s actually pretty simple. If you write a 500 word article, you’ll be able to get an upfront payment of $1.50, plus a couple pennies for every thousand people who view your website. You can also submit videos, sideshows, and pretty much any other type of content. You may write about whatever topic interests you! That’s what I think is really great about AC. You can write an article once, and if it’s popular, you will continue to earn a small amount of revenue long after you write it! If your content has generated enough views, you will begin to receive $3.00 per article. There are plenty of websites offering to pay you to take surveys, but once you take the survey, that’s it. Instead, if you have interesting content to share with the world, you might be able to pull in some extra revenue for no additional work! Now remember, it’s probably not worth your time to go write article after article for the AC trying to make big money simply because $1.50 for a 500 word article isn’t very much. Instead, try to do it during downtime in your ever day life. For example, if you’re watching a television show and commercials come on, why not spend three or four minutes working on an article? Before you know it, you can make a couple easy dollars, and avoid having to waste your time watching commercials!

Just a quick note before wrapping up this article; Some people claim that they can make a living just by posting content to Associated Content. Frankly, you’d have to type very fast, and have a lot of page views before even making minimum wage. So if you read articles claiming that you can make a full time living with this, it’s best just to ignore it. Click here to sign up for a free account at Associated Content!

Posted under Making Money

This post was written by admin on August 31, 2008

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Pepsi points can save you pennies

Have you ever bought TV episodes on iTunes? Well I have. As it turns out, there is some money to be saved! Usually, each TV episode costs $1.99 on iTunes. If you buy Pepsi products, you might notice little numbers printed to the underside of each bottle-cap. You can actually go online at pepsistuff.com and enter the codes on the bottle caps in order to get Pepsi points. For every 12 Pepsi points you enter into the website, you can actually download a free TV episode from any popular show of your choice from Amazon.com. You can also buy music, and other things from the website, but downloading TV shows for 12 Pepsi points each is the best deal, in my opinion.

Let’s take a quick look at how much money this could save you. Suppose you buy 2, 6 packs of 24 Fl. Oz. bottles of Pepsi products for five dollars. If you choose to take the time to enter the codes online, you can download a TV show episode you would otherwise have to pay $1.99 for. So in total, you’re paying $5 and receiving $6.99 worth of merchandise, which actually turns out to be a great deal, especially if you drink Pepsi products. That’s a lot of pennies to be saved!

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on August 29, 2008

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Buy cheap batteries, save some money!

Chances are you’ve seen an Energizer and Duracell battery commercial at least once in your lifetime. If should come as no surprise that those advertisements cost quite a lot of money. For example, a single campaign for Copper-top Duracell batteries cost the company an estimated 100 million dollars. That is for just for one campaign advertising a specific product from a single company! Where do big batteries companies get this kind of cash? The answer is your wallet!

When you are in a store selling various brands of batteries, Duracell and Energizer batteries are almost always more expensive! Now, it may be true that the batteries last slightly longer than the cheaper brands, but this simply isn’t worth the extra cost. For example, a generic Safeway battery may be half the cost of a corresponding Duracell battery, while the Duracell battery may only last 5% longer. To put it quite simply, it’s always worth it to buy the cheapest batteries you can find, simply because you get far more energy for your dollar.

It’s worth mentioning that if you buy batteries in sufficient bulk, the cost of the batteries will be significantly reduced. For example, if you shop at Costco, you can buy a large quantity of batteries for a fairly cheap price. Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend buying a package of 30 or more batteries, even if you apparently saved money. By the time you would ever need to use all the batteries, they would be long-since expired. If you use a large quantity of batteries, the cheapest option for you may be to start using devices which don’t require batteries, or use rechargeable batteries.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on August 28, 2008

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Avoid Lottery Scams

A common theme to this site is how to save a couple pennies here and there. Sometimes, the best way to save some pennies is to avoid wasting them in the first place. That’s why I’m going to write some articles focusing on a couple non-obvious internet and mail scams, and how they work. A couple years ago, I was even scammed out of thirty dollars online! Anyone is susceptible to internet scams, regardless of where you live, or what your level of education is.

A common scam is known as the lottery scam. Have you ever received an email or letter in the mail claiming you’ve just won a lottery you’ve never entered? Guess what, it’s a scam! Often, these ‘lotteries’ are from foreign addresses, which should be sending up a red flag indicating something is wrong. Because the emails and letters promise to send you money in the form of a check, it’s hard to imagine how these scams could cost you any money.

Here’s how it works:

  • The fake lottery sends you a check, but also demand a small fee for taxes or other bogus fees.
  • After you cash or deposit the check into your bank, the check will appear to have cleared. The bank will release the funds to you.
  • You happily send off the small required tax or processing fees to the fake lottery company.
  • Up to a couple weeks later, your bank will figure out that the check was, in fact, fake.
  • The bank will immediately take out the appropriate funds from your bank. If you don’t have enough money in your account, your account will be overdrawn, resulting in large fees.
  • Your bank may also charge you fees for depositing a fake check

In summary, if you receive a check from a lottery you never entered, chances are overwhelming that it is scam. One thing to keep in mind is that internet scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. They make their livings scamming innocent victims, and to do it more effectively, they have fax machines, telephone numbers, and mailboxes. Don’t be fooled by internet lottery scams. These scams may appear to be legitimate, but they can cost you thousands of dollars and cause you lots of disappointment :)

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees, Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 25, 2008

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Save your pennies, don’t buy popcorn

We all know that buying popcorn at the movie theaters can be quite expensive, but why is this? As it turns out, most of the money movie theaters make is not from selling tickets, but rather, from selling food and snacks. This money is used to maintain the theater, projection systems, and to make some profit, which seems fair. But how much is the popcorn really costing you?

Many grocery stores, such as Safeway, display the total price of each item, and price per ounce. This information is very helpful because it helps us consumers pick out which items are really the best deals without having to carry a calculator around with us. Again, how much does movie-theater popcorn cost per ounce? The answer is around $1.30 per ounce. Most of us don’t have a great perception of how little an ounce weighs, so let’s put this inter perspective; the popcorn at the movie theater costs $20.8 per pound, which is more expensive than filet mignon. It only costs the theaters 10 pennies for every $1.30 you spend on popcorn. The next time you go to a movie theater, don’t just think about the final price of the popcorn, and think about how much you’re paying and how little you’re getting in return. Also think about whether you really need the popcorn in order to enjoy the movie.

Before wrapping up this post on how to save a couple pennies, I’d like to comment on a couple things. If everyone stopped buying popcorn at the theaters, the theaters would go bankrupt fairly quickly. It is fair for theaters to make a small profit off of you because, after all, it is a business. If you are used to buying popcorn every time you go to the movies, try cutting back and buying popcorn once every three or four times you go to the movies. This will help the theaters stay in business, and will help keep your wallet full. As for sneaking in food, all I have to say is that if you’re bringing your date to the movies, you don’t want to look cheap. ;)

Posted under Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 19, 2008

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Save money when running scientific applications

Some scientific problems require so much computation, that they can not be run on any single supercomputer. Instead, these projects rely on people like you and me to download software which runs on your computer. These scientific applications only use your idle CPU cycles, so you typically don’t notice the program running on your computer at all.

These projects include:

Folding@home

SETI@home

GIMPS

And many more

Don’t get me wrong, I love science, discovery, research, and progress. But it’s important for you to understand that these programs will make your computer use more electricity. When processors are idle, they only consume so much electricity. However, when a processor is working at full load, it can consume about 50 watts of additional power. This actually isn’t too disastrous. Let’s assume you turn your computer off when you’re not using it. Now let’s assume that your computer is on for 6 hours a day and you pay the national average for electricity. In this scenario, you will be paying about $9.81 per year just to run the scientific application.

Protein folding simulation

Some of these projects are very important for humanity. For example, Folding@home is using its results you help understand protein folding in order to better understand how to cure diseases and cancer. Pinching every last penny is one thing, but frankly, ten dollars a year is not an unreasonable amount of money to donate for a worthy cause. Everyone who owns a computer and internet connection should be running programs like Folding@home. Unfortunately, some scientific projects are dramatically less important. For example, GIMPS is dedicated to finding very large Mersenne prime numbers. These numbers may be interesting to statisticians, but will never contribute to a worthy cause like curing diseases. You should choose a program which interests you *and* helps humanity.

With that being said, there is one more thing which is worth bringing up. Graphics cards are extremely good at numerical calculations. NVidia has released something called CUDA, which transforms its graphics cards into number crunchers. In fact, using special software, a single nVidia graphics card can be well over 100 times faster than a CPU. So why am I mentioning this? Well, if you have an 8-series nVidia graphics card, you can download a CUDA-enabled client for Folding@home, and all the scientific calculations will be run on your graphics card!

A typical midstream GeForce 8 series card

A typical midstream GeForce 8 series card

Like the CPU, it will still cost you more electricity when you run scientific software on your graphics card, but the performance per watt can be over 100 times better than your CPU! This means that if you spend 10 dollars a year for electricity and run the program on your graphics card, the amount of work you contribute to the project can be well over 100 times greater!

Okay, so you don’t want to cough up 10 dollars a year in donations, I can understand that. If you have a recent nVidia graphics card, you can run Folding@home on your graphics card for just three days a year, and still produce as much work as someone would produce by running for an entire year on a CPU. If you run the program for 3 days a year, you can expect to spend a measly 8 pennies a year, which is nothing.

In conclusion, if you want to save money while contributing to humanity, one of the best things you can do is run Folding@home on an 8-series or higher nVidia graphics card, even if it’s just for a couple days a year.

Click here for more information about the CUDA Folding@home client application.

Posted under Saving Electricity

This post was written by admin on August 14, 2008

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Turn your water heater off, save tons of money

If you have a water heater in your apartment or home, chances are great that you are spending hundreds each year just for hot water. Whether you use electric or gas heaters, the cost to you can be very high. Fortunately, there are a couple simple steps that may be taken to reduce your energy bills.

First and foremost, turn down the temperature of the water! Virtually all modern water heaters have an adjustable thermostat which regulates the temperature of the water. If you turn the water down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, this will usually provide you with adequate hot water, and could save you save you some serious money. If you notice that the hot water is burning you in the shower, this is yet another reason to turn the temperature down.

Most of us don’t take showers when we’re asleep. Before you go to bed, turn the thermostat all the way down, or completely off, if your heater has that option. Unfortunately, if you shower in the morning, you may find yourself without hot water if you follow this tip. If you normally take a shower before you go to bed, then this tip can save you plenty of money. Remember that if you have a large tank water heater, it may take an hour or two to get back to normal temperatures, so be sure to think ahead.

If you have a large family, or use lots of hot water for some other reason, you may want to consider buying a tankless water heating system. These systems, as the name might suggest, don’t use tanks to store hot water. Instead, these devices are only active when water is flowing through them. So in other words, these systems give you instant hot water when you need it, and completely turn off when you aren’t using any hot water. Both electric and gas tankless water heating systems exist, but can be quite expensive to purchase and install. Over time, these tanks will save you money, but the upfront cost is still quite expensive, usually being in the hundreds of dollars.

If you own your own home and live in a sunny area, you may want to consider solar heating solutions. These are not solar electric panels, but rather solar thermal panels. These types of panels are much easier to fabricate, and thus, fairly cheap. Depending on where you live, solar heating solutions can pay for themselves fairly quickly. Believe it or not, but you don’t have to pay anyone to use the sun’s power! These systems are usually coupled with either gas or electric heating elements for night time use, and for cloudy days. Still, this is a very cost effective way to reduce your bills. Be sure to check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for more information.

More tips to save electricity

Even more tips to save gas

Posted under Saving Electricity, Saving Gas, Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 13, 2008

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Fluorescent light bulbs can save you money

You’ve probably seen fluorescent light bulbs for sale once in a while, but the real question is whether or not they can really save you money. Well…yes! Buying and using compact fluorescent light bulbs can actually save you a significant amount of money.

Normal light bulbs use electricity and a resistive filament to create light. Unfortunately, the vast majority of electrical energy used in a standard light bulb is converted to heat, not light. While this might not be such a bad thing during the winter months, it can be terrible during the summer. Not only does your light bulb heat up your home even more, you may have to spend even more electricity with your air condition to remove all the excess heat.

Fortunately, affordable, compact fluorescent light bulbs have finally arrived on the market place. These light bulbs work in a completely different way, and as a direct result, are much more energy efficient. Typically, a 20 watt fluorescent light bulb gives the same amount of light as a 75 watt incandescent light bulb. Interestingly enough, a 23 watt fluorescent light bulb gives the same amount of light as a 100 watt incandescent light bulb!

Assuming you use a light bulb for 6 hours a day and you pay the national average of .0896 dollars per kilowatt-hour, you could save $10.79 per year per 75 watt light bulb replaced. You could save $15.11 per year per 100 watt light bulb replaced. Depending on how many light bulbs you use for extended periods of time every day, you could save tons of money simply by switching over to fluorescent light bulbs!

One more thing to consider is that compact fluorescent bulbs last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs. You may notice that they’re more expensive at the stores, but because they use so much less electricity and last so much longer, they’re bound to save you money.

Still think fluorescent light bulbs are too expensive? Believe it or not, there are some electric companies which encourage people to use less electricity. Some of these companies have rebate programs where they actually pay for most of the fluorescent bulbs! For example, if you live in California, you can check out PG&E’s rebate website. This website will actually tell you which stores in your local area participate in the rebate program. You don’t have to have any coupons or anything. Simply go to the stores which participates in your electric company’s rebate program, and you can buy a fluorescent bulb at a dramatically reduced price. One local store is even offering coupons where you get 5 fluorescent bulbs for a dollar, after any $30 purchase, so keep an eye out for special deals in your area.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the light from fluorescent bulbs is a little different in color than most light bulbs. Some people tend to be bothered by fluorescent bulbs. So before you go replacing too many lights, make sure you are comfortable with the type of light given off by fluorescent lighting.

For other ways to save money on your electricity bill, be sure to visit my other pages on how to save electricity!

Posted under Saving Electricity

This post was written by admin on August 11, 2008

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Your TV may cost you more than you think!

It is common knowledge that when electronic devices are off, they consume little to no electricity. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Depending on your particular television, it may be consuming anywhere from half a watt to 76.11 watts! It is unbelievable to think that in this day and age, a product would be designed and sold to use so much electricity when it’s ‘off.’

Already, CNET has posted a list of large, high-definition televisions along with their power consumption when on, and when on standby. You can check out the list here. If your television isn’t on the list, it’s worthwhile to try to look up the standby power consumption of your television online.

The absolute best way to save electricity is to disconnect your television from the power grid, even when it’s off. If your television consumes 10 or more watts of power when on standby, you can save some real money simply by disconnecting it when it is not in use. Of course, make sure the television is off before unplugging it.

Let’s do a little experiment to see how much your TV could potentially be costing you. Suppose your television consumes 30 watts of power when on standby, and you use the television 5 hours a day. Next, assume you pay the national average of 8.96 cents per kilowatt-hour.

$ 0.0896 / kWh * 30 W * (1 kW/1000 W) * (24 – 5) h/day * 365 days/year = $18.64 / year

As you can see from the example scenario, leaving your television plugged in when it’s off can cost you almost twenty dollars a year! Now, most televisions are designed to consume next to no power when off, but it’s worth it to double check and make sure you have a power efficient television. If it turns out that your TV consumes a significant amount of power when off, the simplest way to remedy the situation is simply use a power strip. If you use a power strip, you can disconnect your television and any other related equipment with the flick of a switch. Best of all, power strips are readily available and cheap.

Here’s a short list of the worst offenders:

  • Sharp LC-37D90U 40.04 Watts
  • Sharp LC-65D90U 76.11 Watts
  • Westinghouse LTV-32w3 33.76 Watts
  • Pioneer PDP 5060HD 25.12 Watts
  • Pioneer PDP-5080HD 22.95 Watts
  • Mitsubish-62628 50.88 Watts
  • Mitsubishi WD-65833 19.35 Watts

For more televisions, check out this list.

For more ways to save electricity, be sure to have a look at this page.

Posted under Saving Electricity, Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 10, 2008

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Leaving your router on costs you money

If you have high speed internet and more than one computer, chances are you have a router. If you use a laptop and access the internet with a wireless router, you almost certainly have a router…unless you’re leeching from a neighbor. Anyway, it turns out that leaving your router on can use a significant amount of electricity and therefore cost a significant amount of money. Now, if you’ve read my article about turning off your computer when you’re not using it, you already know that turning your computer off can save a huge amount of money. Assuming you turn off your computer when you’re not using it, it’s oh so easy to forget about the router!

Most wireless routers consume anywhere from 5 to 15 watts. You can estimate the power a router consumes by taking a look at the transformer (that little box you plug into an outlet.) Let’s assume that your router consumes about 10 watts of power, which is very typical. 10 watts may not sound like much, because it isn’t…but this can actually start costing you real money if you leave your router plugged in all day long. Let’s do a little experiment!

Suppose you use your computer 6 hours a day, but you have your router plugged in all day, every day. Now assume that electricity costs you $.0896 per kWh. Depending on where you live, you could be paying more, or less. We can now calculate how much power you save by unplugging your router when you’re not using it.

10 Watts * (24-6) h/day * $.0896/kWh * 365 days/year * 1 kW/1000W = $5.89 / year

Okay, you’re not going to get rich by unplugging your router when you’re not using it. But on the other hand, this is all money that can be saved without sacrificing anything. Simply unplug your router when you’re done using your computer, and you can expect to save five dollars per year. If you live in an area with more expensive electricity like California, leaving your router on could cost upwards of 10 dollars a year.

Before wrapping up this post, I just want to clarify what I mean by turning off your router. Instead of turning your router off, the best thing you can do is unplug it from the wall. Many people will tell you that leaving a transformer plugged in even though the device it’s supposed to power is off will not use any power. These people are dead wrong. Transformers are not lossless devices due to resistance in the electrical wires. To truly save the most amount of power, it’s best to unplug it. I have a power strip for my computer, monitors and router. This way, when I’m done using my computer, I can completely disconnect everything from the power grid with the flick of a switch!

For more tips on how to save electricity, check out this page.

Posted under Saving Electricity

This post was written by admin on August 7, 2008

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