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Money Tip: Savings Idea to Try This Month

Oprah featured the "thriftiest family in America" on Wednesday's episode, so I stopped by her website to check out a recap. What I found was nothing really new, just an overall message to cut spending by tracking expenses and finding deals. However, I did find a money saving hint from a woman named Rhondalyn that could be an interesting experiment to save money and energy. Here's what she accomplished.

To save on her electric bill, Rhondalyn unplugs everything in her home when it's not in use. Appliances, TV sets and lamps that are plugged in pull in energy even if they are turned off, and Rhondalyn says the small change has added up. In May 2008, her energy bill was $268. After she started unplugging, her bill went down to $91. And when Rhondalyn got really vigilant—even turning off the air conditioning—her energy bill was only $60.42. That's over $200 in savings!

Have you ever tried this saving idea?


ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i've heard of a lot of people doing this and i've started to do it myself but to be honest, i haven't seen the dramatic drop that she saw. i guess she perhaps has a lot of things plugged in more so than what i have, and i thought that i had a TON of stuff that was attached to the wall
Spectra Spectra 9 years
We didn't use our AC all summer long and it definitely saved us some money. In the winter, we keep our thermostat at 55 at night and when we're gone and 62 when we're home. It makes it REALLY chilly in the house, but it does help save on energy.
vouninou vouninou 9 years
Sorry but I do not buy the idea that an appliance set on off is still draining energy. It just doesn't work like that unless it is badly manufactured and potentially dangerous. If you turn off the light, it stops to use electricity ... and that's it. And the idea doesn't apply to that kind of appliances, same for the toaster, most coffee makers, etc. However, we now have full of appliance which are most of the time not on off but on any kind of "pause" state. They still use electricity to maintain a "memory" of various things (channels on TV set, clock on microwave oven ...). Those are electricity drains but not ALL appliances. Of course it will make save you a couple of bucks to unplug those but it's a pain and time consuming to reset clocks, tv channels and everything everytime. I do this only when I'm away for several days (at least a week) and that's might be worth the pain. What can really make you save on energy bills is reducing the use of air conditioning, dryers (those are huge electricity users), slightly reduce the heat in your rooms .. even 1 or 2 degrees makes a big difference ... and you barely feel it.
Deidre Deidre 9 years
wmoonw -- there is still an energy drain to leave a surge protector plugged in, but it does definitely lessen from typical use when you simply turn the switch off. Unplugging is best, but turning it off is a big help. With the exception of the tv, alarm clock, and lamps, everything else in my phone is unplugged when not in use. I got my fiance to unplug his electric toothbrush and razor and only charge them when they're low. We do the same with cell phones and computers -- computers are easily the BIGGEST drain on energy. Sleep mode is ok, but turning it off when not in use is better. And unplugging it is best of all! It's a money issue, and it's also an environment issue!
refinedharmony refinedharmony 9 years
I just watched that show today (I had it recorded) and it seemed like a simple enough idea. Most of the items I have plugged in I only use occasionally. Lately I've also been keeping track of items that need charging; for example, unplugging my laptop after it is fully charged. I'm wondering if I switch some of my clocks to run on battery instead of from a power outlet if that is more or less expensive and more or less environmentally friendly??
jasmint jasmint 9 years
I always unplug kitchen appliances when not in use (unless they have clocks on them), but every time I unplug my tv I have to reset the channels, and it would be a bit of a pain to unplug most of the lamps I use. I do try and do my part, sweating out the heat a bit, or bundling up if its cold, turning off lights when not in use, etc. but my roommate doesn't really do any of these things, which makes it rather difficult AND makes for a higher bill.
thelorax thelorax 9 years
dienliv broke it down pretty well - the difference might not be noticeable month to month, but over time it will save energy and save you some money.
thelorax thelorax 9 years
wmoonw - this strategy is marketed by the EPA, Energy Commission, etc. as a good way to save energy by "unplugging the vampire" and stopping the energy suck. I don't know if it's COMPLETELY the same, but it's definitely better than doing nothing.
stephley stephley 9 years
I've tried this on a smaller scale - it can be a pain when some plugs are difficult to reach. I do try to turn off all power strips too.
Spiderlove Spiderlove 9 years
My electric bill was $384 last month... I live in South Florida and it's brutally hot.... I also live in a 3 bedroom house, and it's big. Ugh. I need to do SOMETHING....
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Yep, my dad would make us do this back at home all the time since electricity has always been super expensive there.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
HA I keep my thermostat at 82 when I'm home and my bill was $311 is July and we weren't even here for a week. There's nothing I can really do when it's 115+ degrees outside. I've heard about this unplugging but honestly it seems like a big hassle. Like TVs and stuff I would have to get way behind them. I can definitely unplug my cell charger and stuff, it probably won't make much of a difference but it's helping
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 9 years
I unplug my toaster & charger cords when they're not being used. I never thought about things like the TV or lamps. I'm not sure that it makes a big difference in our bill. I've always done it more as a n eco-friendly thing. Our biggest savings comes from limiting our dryer usage. I run it once a week to dry a load of towels. Everything else is hung outside on the line.
cmd0610 cmd0610 9 years
My electric bill has never been over $65 and it's bc we keep our thermostat at 79 when we are home and 84 when we are out. I think it depends a lot too on the size of ur home, an apt vs a 3000sq ft house- we lived in a 920sq ft apt when our bill was $40-65/mo . . .we just moved into a new place that's 1240sq ft but luckily the weather is getting nice so our A/C is never on these days.
wmoonw wmoonw 9 years
OK, I've been dying to find this out -- does anyone know if flipping the switch on a power strip has the same effect as pulling the plug physically out of the wall? Or is there still an energy drain?
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