Hacking your energy consumption

As I get busier in my career, I become less inclined to micromanage my lifestyle in order to save a few dollars. I see this in my coworkers. They don’t bother with coupons, discounts, or even budget car maintenance.  There is a fine balance between micromanaging and laissez faire.  If you let things slide too much, the dollars will eventually add up.  Do you cut back on daily Starbucks breakfasts and drinks? What about groceries at Whole Foods?  Do you get take-out dinners twice a week because you’re too busy to cook?  How much money are you actually saving?
Likewise, there’s little point trying to save a few bucks on small dollar items if it’ll take you too much time to figure out the most economical strategy.  Electricity is one cost that I have yet to find the motivation to optimize.  It’s a fixed cost by the local utilities.  It’s not like you can turn off your refrigerator.
Come the Kill-A-Watt power meter.  I came across this little gadget at the local public library.  You can also find it online for approximately $20. It measures current, voltage, and total power consumption of any appliance that you’d plug into it. Engineers can totally geek out on it.

Handy little guy will read your power consumption! Geek out.

This device is most useful for identifying vampire appliances that might be sucking up the power in your home.  I played around with it and actually found out that my little upright freezer in the garage actually consumes more electricity than my fridge in the kitchen!

This little guy consumes more electricity than my full-sized refrigerator!

Not a bad find. I’ll have to figure out a way to replace the freezer with a more energy-efficient chest freezer.
 
Have you tried out any energy saving devices?
Do you want to get the latest Smart Money MD posts in you inbox?
Get the FREE Smart Money MD Financial Cheatsheet for signing up!
Tags: