Saturday, June 13, 2009

Money in a box

Let's start with a few assumptions: You live indoors, and you like saving money. Still here? Good. Today's lesson is inexpensive, easy to implement, and will pay dividends for a long time to come. It's a quick win.

Even better, this strategy is of the set it and forget it variety. Depending on your settings you will save 5% to 15% of your heating bill automatically.

You don't even have to call your stockbroker to get in on such a sure thing. You can obtain this 'money in a box' at your favorite hardware store, hook it up, and reap the rewards forevermore.

That's right, the message here is to buy and install a programmable thermostat. Set it to automatically lower the heat when you're not around and it's money in your pocket. So why haven't your friends installed one yet?

For one thing, the gas company doesn't really have an interest in you saving gas. They make money when you burn it.

Another reason is that it doesn't really look like savings. It's certainly not marketed by the gas company as a discount. There's no fluorescent orange sign that says 10% off. It's better than that.

This is exactly like going to the gas company and telling them flat out that you are going to give them less money from now on. It's automatic and it's permanent. It's just like printing money, but without the printing.

Next question: Why would this topic show up in June? Answer: This is when your heating bills are likely to be the lowest, so this is the part of the year when the ~$50 you're going to spend on a programmable thermostat are least likely to be missed.

You're ROI goes up even more if you find the thermostat on sale, but don't use that as an excuse to put this off. Hook it up, set it, and forget it. It will start leaving money in your pocket every time the heating bill shows up. 

Note: For those of you who've already implemented this at home, great work. You're in the advanced class. Your homework is to help a neighbour pick out and install theirs.

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