- Personal Finance
Products that Save More Than They Cost
Nirvana for Shoppers
Products that Save Money in the Long Run
Just as it takes money to make money, sometimes you need to spend money to save money.
By buying these products, you can save money over the long run because they save more than they cost. If you love to shop, go ahead and splurge!
The average family spends $1100 annually to heat and cool their home. By using a programmable thermostat to regulate their home’s temperature, they'll save $180. The savings come from setting back the temperature during the day and while sleeping during winter, and setting up the temperature during the day and while sleeping during summer. Below is a chart with recommended settings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s EnergyStar website. To save even more money, check if your state or local utility has any rebate programs on thermostats. $25 rebates are common.
Programmable Thermostat Setpoint Times & Temperatures
Setpoint Temperature (Heat)
Setpoint Temperature (Cool)
≤ 70° F
≥ 78° F
Setback at least 8° F
Setup at least 7° F
≤ 70° F
≥ 78° F
Setback at least 8° F
Setup at least 4° F
CFL or LED Light Bulbs
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs cost more than incandescent bulbs, but last longer and use two-thirds less electricity. You'll save about $11 a year for each 100 watt incandescent bulb you replace with a CFL bulb, assuming you operate the bulb an average of four hours each day.
To save even more, consider LED bulbs. They cost even more, but last five times longer than regular incandescent bulbs and use 80 – 90% less electricity. You'll save about $12 a year for each 100 watt incandescent bulb you replace with an LED bulb based on four hours of use daily.
To avoid buying bottled water, buy a Brita or PUR pitcher with a filter. You'll receive virtually free, great-tasting water for about 3 months before the filter needs replacing. You'll also avoid throwing away the plastic bottles littering our landfills. You'll pay an average of $30 for the pitcher and $50 for a year’s worth of filters, for a total of $80 annually. In contrast, if you drink a moderate amount of water (16-ounces daily), you'd pay about $320 annually for bottled water, or about four times more.
Battery-Powered Dremel Tools for Pet Nails
To avoid visits to your vet or groomer to trim your dog’s nails, buy a battery-operated Dremel tool with a sanding drum. It's much less expensive to trim your pet’s nails using this tool, and you can easily trim them when you start hearing clicks as he walks on your hardwood or tile floors. It's also less painful for the dog than clippers. This site has tips for trimming nails using a Dremel tool.
GPS Navigation Systems
If you're one of the millions of Americans who take long car trips, you have likely gotten lost and added 20 or 30 minutes onto your trip. You may have also driven farther than necessary because you didn’t find the closest gas station, hotel or other amenity. With today’s high driving costs, those extra miles quickly translate into wasted dollars. Buy an automotive GPS to eliminate this waste.
Oil Filter Wrench
There are many repair and maintenance jobs that require special tools. For example, you'd need an oil filter wrench and oil pan to change your car's oil. As a rule of thumb, you'll break even the first time you purchase a tool and do the job yourself. You'll then own the tool and be ready to do the job again the next time. So if you're handy enough to do a recurring job, buy the tool and do it yourself.