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Save Money Challenge | Month 1

It sounds so easy... too easy...  But I saw this tip on Oprah a few years ago, and was amazed at how much money this woman saved on her power bill every month.  What is this too-good-to-be-true device?

A Surge Protector!

Surge protectors are often found in home offices to prevent expensive electrics from getting zapped when there's a storm, or power outage.  But did you know that they can help lower your elecectric bill by up to 10%-20% each year?!?  While it sounds like a free lunch, I assure you, there is a catch.  This money saving method requires a bit of work from the "operator," but it's not hard work, and once a habbit is established (after about 21 days), it will become second nature.  Home electronics, even when not turned on, use a ton of power just from being plugged in.  Cell phone chargers are reportedly the worst power suckers out there!  By using a surge protector, the amount of electricity wasted in your home can be significantly reduced.

Step 1:  Purchase a Surge Protector for each room in the house.  These little babies can be found at just about any store, and I know that Belkin makes one with 6 outlets for just under $10.00.  Because you have a month to complete this challenge (think in terms of pay periods), 2 pay periods, the total cost shouldn't be too devastating to your wallett.  I have 5 bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a dining room, a family room, and 2 hallways (but only one currently uses electronics so I will only count the one) in my house.   I did not count bathrooms, because most electronics used there are used briefly, then unplugged and put away.  So I need to purchase 10 surge protectors.  That comes to $100.00 over the course of the month, or $50.00 each pay period.  $25.00 is easy to budget for, but maybe I'll take to plan two free date nights this month and use that money towards my surge protectors.

Step 2:  Plug all "non-essential" electronics into the surge protector.  What counts as non-essential?  Anything that doesn't HAVE to be plugged in all day.  For example, the refrigerator is an essential electronic.  It needs electricity to keep the food in it cold.  If I unplug it, my food will go bad.  Things like the TV's, DVD players, Nintendo systems, lamps, stereos, etc. are all "non-essential."  I only use them when I'm in the room.  When I leave, they don't need power, so they don't need their own individual outlet, they can be plugged into a surge protector. 

Step 3:  Ignore the On/Off Switch.  Now that all of your non-essential electronics are plugged into the surge protector, plug the surge protector into the wall.  Most surge protectors come with an On/Off switch.  Turn it on, and then ignore it.  Seriously, don't touch it again.  When you leave the room, unplug the surge protector, and thus, all of your non-essential-power-sucking-electronics.  When you go into a room, plug in the surge protector for that room.  EASY.  Don't just think that you turn off the surge protector, because even in the "Off" mode, the AC circut is still able to suck power from the wall.  This is why the plugs on electronics feel hot, even if they've been turned off.

It seems silly, but this little trick will save tons in wasted electricity costs.  For rooms like the kitchen, you won't use your surge protector as much as, say your bedroom.  In my kitchen surge protector, I have the Microwave, toaster, can opener, and magic bullet plugged in.  I only use the surge protector when I need one of these devices.  However, I use my bedroom surge protector 80% of the time I'm in my bedroom.  My TV, cell phone charger, bed side lamp, computer and external hard drive are all plugged into that surge, and most of them get used when the surge is plugged in.  Again, when I leave my bedroom, I disconnect all power supplies/ wasted electricity. 

I should mention that simply using a surge protector won't reduce electricity bills.  If I plug in my appliances and then plug the surge into the wall and leave it all day, I'm still wasting a bunch of electricity.  

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  1. you are def speaking my language here. i never like leaving even chargers plugged in because they literally are taking electricity just sitting there. its ridiculous.

  2. Hey Morgan, great idea. I'm all about saving money. We always keep everything unplugged unless we're using it. Everything but the refrigerator, actually. You could save that 100 dollars by just keeping everything unplugged until you use it.


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