Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Light Bulbs: Compact Fluorescent vs. Incandescent

I just bought some incandescent light bulbs at Wal-Mart this weekend. Four bulbs (40, 60 and 100 watt) cost $1.09. They are made in the USA. The CF bulbs for sale next to them cost $4.69 each and they are made in China. Did I mention that each CF bulb contains 4-5 milligrams of mercury?

My electric bill averages only $15 per month, of which 2/3 powers the fridge and the water pump that keeps my basement dry. So our monthly bill for lighting is only around $5 per month. Based on these figures, it makes little sense for me to buy these newfangled light bulbs that cost nearly 20 times what they are replacing.

On the other hand, if you are an energy hog, and like to keep the lights burning in many rooms throughout your home, then these light bulbs might be right for you. You'll feel better about yourself as you waste energy, and drive up the nation's trade deficit in the process.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bag Lady in Chinatown

We went food shopping yesterday in Chinatown with the kids and Jenny's mom. As usual, I carried a supply of bags with me as we went from store-to-store. We ended up reusing about 5 or 6 bags as a result. Afterwards, Jenny's mom said (as translated by Jenny) several storekeepers commented that it was nice to see someone recycling bags.

I once counted the number of times I can recycle a bag, and I came up with about 10 times for plastic bags and 15 times for paper bags. This means over a 90% reduction in the number of bags that my family uses.

One of the good things about shopping at Safeway and Nob Hill Foods is that I get 5 cents for every bag that I recycle. Over the period of a year, I end up saving about $25 as a result of reusing my shopping bags.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

This Blog's Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to document my efforts to save money through thriftiness, bargain-hunting and a desire to simplify my lifestyle. This blog is intended as a counter to the so-called "No Impact Man", a self-described "tree-hugging" liberal who is pursuing a year-long stunt to minimize his environmental impact in order to sell a book.

I am not trying to sell a book. I am trying to save money for my family so that we can occasionally go on vacation and have more money around when we really need it. Whenever possible, I try to advise others on saving money through easily-applied, common-sense principles.