### Thrifty Thursday - Upgrade to LED Bulbs

Here’s a hack with a high percentage return.  If you pay your own electricity bill, chances are your use is metered and charged by the Kilowatt hour (kWh).  A Watt (W) is measure of power, or energy per second, so a Kilowatt hour is just using 1,000 Watts of power for one hour.

For example, a common household incandescent light bulb uses 60W of power.  If you left this light bulb on for 3 hours a day for a year, it would use 65.7 Kilowatt hours: $Total\ Energy = Power * Time$ $Total\ Energy = 60 W * {3\ h \over day} * {365\ days \over year}$ $Total\ Energy = {65,700\ Wh \over year} = {65.7 kWh \over year}$ Since Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb in 1879, however, there have been some improvements to the technology.  The latest is the bulb.  An LED bulb can create the same as an old incandescent light bulb using much less power.  For example, an LED replacement for a 60W incandescent bulb would typically use only 9W.  This creates a savings of 51W per bulb.

To find out exactly how much of a monetary savings this is, you first need to know how much you are paying for your electricity.  You will need to check your bill or electric company’s website, as this typically varies by area, with some of the South and Midwest having the lowest rates, higher on the coasts, and Hawaii topping the charts.  My electric company also charges me more in the summer, when everyone is using their air conditioners, and less in the winter.

For example, let’s look at an average rate of $0.10 per kWh. Again, let’s assume a bulb we use for 3 hours a day. Therefore, reducing the power of that bulb from 60W to 9W leads to a savings of: $Annual\ Savings = (Old\ Watts\ – New\ Watts) * {hours \over year} * {1\ kW \over 1,000\ W} * Energy\ cost$ $Annual\ Savings = (60W\ –\ 9W) * {3\ h \over day} * {365\ days \over year} * {1\ kW \over 1,000\ W} * {0.10 \over kWh}$ $Annual\ Savings = {5.10 \over year}$ In this example, if the new bulb costs less than$5.10, we’d make the money back in less than a year.  If your energy rate is higher, the payback will be quicker.  Bulbs in locations that are used more often are more obvious candidates for replacement.

### Thrifty Thursday - Save Thousands on Your Phone Plan

Recurring expenses are insidious.  Companies love signing you up for subscription services as it means a consistent revenue stream by default.  The burden is on the consumer to take action, but momentum and inaction usually win out and the payments keep getting made. Taking a hard look at these subscriptions and other recurring payments can be very effective in reducing annual expenses, thereby lowering your Target FI Number and leaving more money for saving and investing .   Some expenses that don’t bring enough value can be eliminated.   Others can be greatly reduced with a little intentionality (just get a month or two of that streaming service to binge your favorite show, no need to leave it renewing for the whole year!)   However, there are some that are necessary but we can work on reducing their impact. One of my favorite hacks is switching to a low-cost cell phone plan offered by a Mobile Virtual Network Operator.    MVNOs lease bandwidth on existing cell towers ins