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Two for Tuesdays #15

Posted by billspaced | 12:01 AM | , | 0 comments »

Two for TuesdaysLast week you learned how to save money on bank fees and on bottled water (by "buying" neither). This week, I'll show you a way to be green and save green at the same time.


Need to dispose your PC? Want to throw away your old digital camera? Not worth putting it up on eBay?

Well, fret not. Staples has a program where you send your old electronic equipment and they give you a Staples credit ("Staples Cash"). You simply take in your old equipment, they tell you what it's worth, you pay a fee (for processing and shipping), and they give you a credit in the form of Staples Cash. The program is run by GreenSight Technologies. For more information, click here.

Here's the link -- Trade in and recycle program

By the way, GreenSight Technologies has partnered with a few universities as well as Costco, Sony, and TigerDirect. The payouts vary by partner, too, so "shop" your recyclables appropriately. For example, I ran my 17 inch LCD monitor through Staples' and Costco's sites, and got $11 at the former, $12 at the latter. With Costco, you get your "cash" in the form of a Costco Cash card.


As most of you know, I am the proud papa of 2 boys (a 2 year old, and a 6 month old). I follow this rule backwards. For most of you, however, you can use the following rule the conventional way (I'll explain why I use the rule backwards in a few minutes).

The idea is to turn down your thermostat by several degrees at night during the winter and turn it up a few degrees at night during the summer. You'll save quite a bit by dropping your thermostat by 10 degrees at night during the winter, from say 68 degrees to 58 degrees. A programmable thermostat is the best way to go with this. Have it turn up to 68 a half hour before you jump in the shower, and you'll have a nicely-warmed bathroom during your shower.

Do the same during the summer, only opposite. Instead of turning down the temp at night, turn it up. Using the same example, just set the thermostat to 78 at night.

Either way, you really won't notice the difference. Besides, that's what blankets (winter time) and sheets (summer time) are for!

By the way, set your thermostat to a really low number in the winter while you're out. Have the furnace come on with just enough time to raise the temp to the desired level when you get home.

However, don't do the same in the summer, especially if you live in a hot climate. Keep your house within a few degrees of what is comfortable, and then have the A/C come on with enough time to cool down the house to the right temp right as you get home. Most A/Cs are sized based on your house size and are only designed to operate up to 20 degrees below the ambient outside temp. So, if you live in Arizona, where it can reach 115 degrees (or more!), count on your house temp being no lower than 95 degrees. If you try to get much lower than that, you either have a giant A/C and a concomitant giant utility bill, or you're driving your A/C too hard and it will fail in a couple of years. Or you paid a lot for equipment you only use once in a while. Maybe Arizona was a bad example -- you'll need every bit of cooling power you can afford!

In any event, be smart about your house heating and cooling and you'll save a lot of cash.

Now for why I run opposite of this rule. My two kids are reptiles. They're cold-blooded. They all are, I think. Whatever the ambient temp is, they are, especially when they're sleeping. I tried to lower the nighttime temp to 63 degrees (down from the daily temp of 68) and they kept waking up. And they were freezing.

However, during the day, when they're active, they run hot. So I run the furnace at a lower temp during the day than at night. This actually works a bit in my favor because utility costs are lower during the night when I run hotter, and higher during the day when I run things a little cooler.

Same with the A/C. It's more important to keep the kids cool at night when they're sleeping rather than during the day when they're active and we can remove some clothing. Kids don't really mind running around in diapers, you know?

That's it for this week's edition of Two for Tuesdays. Come back next week for two more money-saving tips.

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