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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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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