Weird Al decided to release 8 videos in 8 days. Some were instant hits, others not so much. He released some of them on different sites, and to help out some of his YouTube friends some were released on their channels, this makes it hard for someone to get a list of all of them in one place. I decided that would not do so I have made this list with the best copy of each of them I could find. So here are all 8 videos in one place. Enjoy.
A parody of Happy, a video about all of the tacky things to so many people do, some are just really rude.
My favorite of the 8, showing off some of the worst grammar mistakes that people make. It has great animation and is based on “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.
A video showing his two main uses of Aluminum Foil, storing food and blocking the government from reading your thoughts. A great Parody of “Royals” by Lorde
He has taken the song of the summer, Fancy, and made it into a long commercial for a fake handyman service.
An orginal work, a funny song about a generic sports team, with a generic marching band. Funny. “We’re great, and you suck”
Lame Claim to Fame
Stop motion animation, about name dropping and small encounters with or connections to celebrities.
First World Problems
A cute video about a whiney American who compalins about things that most people in this world don’t even need to think of.
A very nice video about taking all of those buzz words we hear in business meetings and putting them all into a song.
There is so much talk on the internet in the world of personal finance (PF) about having an Emergency Fund. I agree that an Emergency Fund is important; you want to make sure that you have enough cash to take care of a stolen laptop, or your AC going out in the middle of summer. There is a lot of focus on building this up quickly; most PF writers say that this is more important than paying down debt, which I also agree.
But my opinion, another important thing to create is what I call an Opportunity Fund. This is a fund of special money that you keep aside for in case a really good opportunity comes up. Opportunities come up much more than Emergencies, so this is the fund that I focused on first. I felt that this fund was critical to future success so I used many of the tactics that people like Dave Ramsey suggest when you are building your Emergency Fund. Such tactics include Selling Something, and cutting back on expenses, especially those recurring ones that most people don’t really notice, then finding extra income opportunities.
Most PF writers suggest ways with no investment to work hard and make extra income but with an opportunity fund helping out you can supercharge this and quickly pay down debt, build all of your funds up, and if you are doing really good you may even make a business out of your fund.
So I started building my fund about 5 years ago. We looked for people who needed to sell items quickly, to pay their bills or because they were moving, I stuck with electronics and computers because I knew the market and knew I could flip the items quickly. Most people who are selling things are not selling to get the most money, most people sell because they need quick money, or want the item gone. Almost every week I buy a laptop from a parent who took it away from their disobedient child as punishment for something the child did. Most of these parents have no urge to get the most for their money, they just want the item gone.
I only use the fund to buy things that I am fairly sure I can flip quickly. I don’t want to deplete the fund so I make sure I can turn the items over and get my original money back along with a nice profit. Time is money so the longer I think something will take to sell the lower % of my projected sales price I need to get. My general goal is to double my money in 30 days.
I often buy things that are on huge sales. I built up my fund the entire summer and early fall my first year because I knew I could take advantage of Black Friday, so when November hit I made sure I sold as much as I could and made this fund as large as I could, then I spent a few days looking over the ads, and I targeted the things that had the largest amount below normal prices. Anyone can get things for cheap online, so I made sure that I was buying at a price low enough that even if I sold online I could make a large profit. On black Friday most people look for things for their house, they buy and hold on to these items until they are worthless, so even if you buy at the lowest price you still lose money financially. So many people focus on the TV’s and such but the real money I have found is in the smaller items, the ones that there are no limits on. My first black Friday doing this I focused on External Hard Drives, that were selling for 40% of normal price, bought a whole cart of them. I found wireless mice for less than 30% of retail price, got over 100 of them, found 32 GB USB Drives for just $9.95 each, still a good buy today, a few years later. I also got laser printers for $39 each, 22” Monitors for $89 each and many other good buys that most of the people just did not see. (Quick Tip, I use the site ShopLocal to find the best sales on new items.) I then listed these items on craigslist for more than I paid, also called up people I knew and asked them if they wanted any of these, I offered to come over and set up the items and show them how to use it. I spent $3000 that y
ear, and less than 30 days later I had the $3000 back into my Opportunity fund, AND I still had about half of the stuff left! I now do this every year, it is crazy the good deals that these places put out on small items, most of these prices are less than the cost to make the item.
But the real, supercharged creation of money from my Opportunity fund came from used items. I know a lot about computers, so I offered to buy peoples headache computers off of them. I have focused on laptops, and I have purchased over 150 laptops each year for the last 5 years in a row from private sellers. By the time 2011 came about I was doing this so much, and needed more room and space that I opened a computer store. By that time I had built my fund up to over $10,000 along with $10,000 or so worth of computer parts. So I used it all to move into a store. I was able to get a very nice store on a shoestring budget, never stopping buying and selling. I then quickly moved into buying and selling much larger amounts of items. I depleted my fund to build the store but worked hard and smart to build it back up. I was putting all of the profits into building out the store, and getting extra inventory, it took a year to finally have in stock all that I wanted to have, then I started building up the fund quickly, once I had enough I quickly became free of consumer debt, for the first time in my adult life. I bought a car for my wife, bought a work truck for the business, then a new SUV for myself. I also have build up my opportunity fund again.
When a good friend of mine came to me trying to sell some items he needed sold quickly to help him with a fine he needed to pay, I was there able to help. When others needed to borrow money, I was there to help. When a deal comes across for 300 monitors at crazy low prices I am able to jump on it. When a computer store goes out of business I have the funds to buy all their inventory for pennies on the dollar. When a banner making company wanted to sell their plotter I bought it, now I can make vinyl letters for people, expanding my business. When a school auction went up I bought 50 chairs and 100 tables, sold 60 tables on craigslist and more than paid for it all, now I have the rest to use and help organize the store.
I am able now, with the combination of a nice Opportunity fund, a large moving truck, a warehouse, staff, and a store to move $15,000-20,000 worth of stuff per month, with only about 40% going into what we buy stuff for, and 30% going into overhead, the other 30% goes into build up the business, giving money away, helping people and saving up to buy our building. And yes the business has an emergency fund equal to 3 months of expenses, and so does our household. We have just meet these goals in the last few months, this will allow us to start to really do good things and help people out.
So I have said all of this to show you how thinking different, and building up a fund to take advantage of Opportunity is so important. Do it in the area you know about, if you are an expert on cars, then buy and flip cars, if you know about guns, there is great money in that, if you know about antiques, I know people who made fortunes in that, real estate works also if you have enough money, if you don’t have enough you can always use other people’s money. In 2010 and 2011 I did some large deals, and my Opportunity fund was not large enough, I was not shy at all about borrowing the money, doing the deal and paying back the money. Doing this allows you to follow your passion, to earn money by doing something that you love to do, and of course you can do it as little or as much as you like. I am sure 80% of the people who read this would never turn it into a business, most people just aren’t wired for that. But maybe you can use this fund to get out of debt, or buy that house you wanted, or even to build one massive Emergency fund, which you can always borrow from when a really good opportunity comes along.
Today I have been thinking about WHY I run this business. Most people spend so much time on how they are going to do things, and What they are going to do. Today, I wrote this and printed it out and posted it on my office wall, “Focus on Why we do what we do, If you do it for the right reasons What you do and How you do it will fall in line and success will follow.”
When I moved my business to its much bigger location I have only a rough idea of what we would be doing. I had a few basic ideas of areas where money could be made, because I was already making money in those areas and my old business made money in those areas, but I was open to doing something else. It turns out that now my most profitable part of my business was something I never did at my old shop. It now accounts for 60% of sales and over 80% of profits, that is recycling computer products.
Once you know the what the “HOW” is very simple and obvious. But I am here to talk about the Why….why do I do what I do? Why am I a business owner and don’t have a job, why do I choose to work with technology? For me that “WHY?” comes down to a few key things that I believe.
First I loved technology, it is always amazing to find out what is new, and to be able to actually play with it, not just read about it. By owning a computer store I get the ability to design and build things for clients, forcing me to become an expert many different tech issues.
Next, I must have adventure I also have found that I don’t like to spend much time on things once I figure them out, and technology is ever changing, allowing me to always be engaged. For example here are some things I have done in the last month, I took apart a top of the line new Asus ultra-thin laptop to see what was inside, it was amazing how it is more like a Cell phone than a laptop. I have explored new database ideas for WordPress, and how to import from XLS files to make carts on something that was designed for blogs. I have had time to play new games. I played a lot with running windows 8 on a big screen TV with wireless keyboard, touchpad. And the list goes on and on. Every day is a new adventure, always learning and always teaching.
Next I love to share my passion for tech with others. Spending time showing someone the new gadget, or the next big thing in the tech world is something that I love. I also love to help people, to give them tools to make their life and their business better, then I love to see them a few months later and how what I did really changed their life.
Next I love a good deal. I love to find good deals, I love to share them and I love to give them to others. It is so fun when I can do something for someone better than they thought it could be done and under the price they thought it could be done in. The side effect of this is that we have never been highly profitable. I am always giving people deals and slashing prices. For me it is often more about the sale than the profit, I have sold many things well below cost to make someone happy. Recently I have been forced to charge most people a bit more to cover costs.
Those are the reasons I am in the IT industry, but now I think “WHY?” did I do it on my own instead of working for someone else. Well I really enjoy my freedom, I also highly value spending time with my Family and friends. I love to be able to sleep in a bit, knowing my shop is taken care of, then spend some time with the kids while they are still kids, and then be able to take them and my wife to work with me. It is nice to be able to take time off when I need it. I also like it when people count on me, when I can show someone…”Yes I built that”.
I guess it all comes down to the fact that if you love what you do then it never seems like work. Most of the time it does not feel like work, it feels like fun. There are there rare times where I told a client Yes to something I should not have because it is something I don’t like to do or don’t want to learn, and in those cases I have found that subcontracting is a great idea.
So what is your “Why”? If you are in business, why are you in business, why did you do what you do, and why do you do it the way that you do it. If you have a job, then why do you work where you work, does it fit in with who you are? If the main answer to your “WHY?” is money then you will likely never live a very happy or fulfilled life. Now-a-days there is also a large part of our population that lives off the government, why do you feel entitled to do that? If you served in the military, or if you are retired after 45 years of work I can see why you would feel that way, but many feel entitled who need neither of these. Do you feel that you could have somewhere else to serve, to make this world better?
You should work to make the most of your short life here, and doing things with no reason why is one of the easiest ways to waste your life. Here are some questions that really helped me focus on what is important…Why do you surf the internet so much, do you really need to read Facebook that many times per day, do you really need to watch that TV show, what will you get out of playing that video game.
Watch what you do and see if it lines up with your why.
A Special thanks goes to today’s episode of the Glenn Beck show for getting my thinking about this again.
In todays computers everything has gotten so much faster, even hard drives are faster, but not as much as most other things. SSD is a great solution if you have the money to spend on it and you are willing to deal with small sized prime drives.
I have been noticing recently that after a boot up my HDD is busy 100% of the time for up to an hour, this is a huge amount. It is not really reading or writing data that much, just checking small things. For my home computer the bottleneck is the Hard Drive BY FAR. I only get a 5.9 HDD rating while all of my other stats are in the mid 7 range when I use the Windows Experience Index.
I know that the HDD is the bottleneck in my system and I do have 2 hard drives so first I moved the page file to the G drive. Also made sure torrent folders were on the G drive. This makes all of these commonly accessed files not detract from the drive that the OS is on. Even with this booting up was super slow. So I cleaned up the startup. I usually do this once every few months but the problem was still there. The best tool to clean up the start up is Autoruns, it gives you a list of the various programs and files that are loaded on startup, you uncheck them and they are gone instantly. Very cool. After getting rid of many things my system was still slow.
Many companies like to pass the blame and make their program seem faster by loading their program when you turn on your computer, so when you want to use their program it is already loaded. I don’t mind this IF I have enough RAM and IF they wait to load until your system is idle. BUT almost no programs do that so they bog down your system and load tons of data that is not even currently needed. What is worse is that they all do it at once, and your hard drive is bogged down at 100% for a long time. I especially hate the programs that check for updates or ask to install updates at boot time. When your computer takes 5 minutes to load people blame Microsoft, they don’t blame the real programs that are causing it. A few year ago Microsoft tried to crack down on this activity but it did not take too long for companies to figure it out. In my years of fixing computers some of the WORST programs that do this are: Any Adobe Product, Java Updater, Most HP software, Most Apple Products (Then Apple shows people how slow windows is). Then there are other programs that you want to run some time near startup, you just need to watch them. This includes: Printer Applications (For heavens sake if you get rid of the printer get rid of its software), Side Bar, Messenger Software. These programs you would want to simply delay by a minute or two so that you are free to use your system sooner. A good tool for this is LaunchLater.
So I loaded up another awesome free tool called Process Explorer, this tool lets you see what is going on with every program running on your computer. I added columns for I/O Reads and I/O Writes, these are the ones that show you the number of actions that programs do on your hard drives. After only having booted up the system 10 minutes before I was shocked that Steam had done 70,000 reads and over 270,000 writes. This was about 60% of all the reads that my entire system did and about 80% of all of the writes. It was not doing updates or anything, it just always did this I guess. I told to not run on startup and then I fully exited the program, and instantly my system was fast again, rebooted and the speed was back.
I did notice that Google Chrome was also doing a lot of reads and writes but only after I loaded it. The other program doing a lot of reads was Mesh, but this program is awesome and I will be writing a full blog on it in a few days.
If your computer is going slow then follow these steps. This is the heart of the “Tune-up” that we do at Emerald Computers, we do these many times per week and charge $75 most of the time. A Tune-up has a few other things in it also, I will save that for later.
Well today I received another check in the mail from what I thought was a scammer. They did the classic over pay scam. Basically they emailed my company, asking if we could reload windows and office on 10 laptops. They never said where they were from but that they would send us a check and send us the broken laptops to fix. Simply because their email was, email@example.com, not at any company I already had a red flag, this “Courtney Badgett” was using a free email account that can be created with no ID verification. Red Flag 2 was that there was just plain text in the email most companies have a footer, at least these scammers could speak fluent English which is not really too common among scammers. (If you ever see the word “Kindly” just run, this is a word that all the English as a second language schools teach people but real speakers almost never use.)
It started simply enough
Are you capable of repairing laptops in bulk? Let me know.
Of course I said yes. “She” then sent a list of what needed to be done and asked how much. Then after a day I received this email.
Thanks for the information. I’ll have the laptops brought out and ready to be shipped to you, and will have my secretary prepare your check as soon as possible.
Not bad, I thought to myself “I will believe it when I see it.”
Then today I received the check. (Click on it to see it in high res) The paper was simple and plain and the signature was a stamp, did not really look too secure. Also the check that I asked for was just $750, this check was for about 3 times that amount.
Now, I looked up the routing number, and it really was for Chase. I also called the company listed on the check, VertiFX Technology, but I got the run around there. Tracked the package to find the origin, here is what I got.
Phoenix, AZ, United States
Out For Delivery
Adverse weather conditions.
Louisville, KY, United States
DFW Airport, TX, United States
Fort Worth, TX, United States
Order Processed: Ready for UPS
So the check for a California company came from Texas. Very interesting. So I was 95% sure now that the check was a fraud. I happen to have a Chase branch about a quarter mile from our office so I decided to go there and visit them. Just as I suspected the account was closed recently, they would not say why but they decided that they would keep the check. So it was all over….or was it….just an hour ago I got this email.
I just tracked the check, and it shows that it has been delivered to you today. I already got in touch with the movers today, and I need to pay them upfront for them to ship the laptops to your place, pick-up some other equipments for the office, and pick-up the laptops when you’re done, and that’s the reason for the extra cash on the check. So I need you to cash the check, deduct your repair fees,and go to a Western Union location to send the balance to the movers. Once they have it, the laptops will be delivered to your place to begin the repairs.
Send the balance to the information below:
Name: Barry S. Glick
Address: 6801 Otto Rd
City : Glendale
State: NY 11385
Deduct the sending fee from the balance and send the remaining to the information above. Get back to me as soon as possible with the Money Tracking Control Number (MTCN), and payment details (sender’s/receiver’s information) , as you have it on the receipt (I’ll appreciate it if you can scan the receipt to me).
Let me know.
So I replied,
I took the check to the bank and they said that it was bad. Please just send me my amount by western union also. That would work good. They kept the check.
That was it. I doubt I will hear back, but I wanted to blog about it so that Google will find these names and accounts and be able to help out others in the future. Also I am thinking of calling Barry Glick, I bet he does not even know that he is part of a scam, I bet he is told to just go get money and keep 10% for his trouble and forward the rest, it is the way that these people keep out of trouble. Other times they would tell the Barry guy to just use the money to buy stuff for them online, that way they get free stuff. Lots of scams out there, so keep your eyes out. So far they have tried it on me about 20 times, and I have not fallen for it yet. Kind of a fun game really.
The world is moving to the internet, and more and more people research things before they plan to spend money. The smart company manages their online presence with a good website, SEO, and they ask clients who are happy to leave positive feedback for them on one of the many sites that have been created to rate companies.
Most of these sites really use this as a way to find companies to sell advertising to but that is a whole different blog. I have been helping a few companies get online recently. Last month I helped a company with a fairly negative review history to create a new blog, website and then create profiles on many of these pages. I then created a page that he can send happy clients to so that they can review him. It makes the world better, he will feel more responsible to make people happy, and these happy clients will send more clients to him to make him more successful. Everyone is happy. He now gets a client or so per week from the web.
The odd thing is that many of these businesses have little or no knowledge of these online boards, that vast majority of business owners are oblivious, and sometimes it is really to their determent. I have seen time and time again companies that have a large number of negative reviews, often right on Google maps (The number one way people find you). A business may see 100 clients in a day but many of them won’t even receive 10 reviews in a year, and when 8 of them come from ANGRY and RANTING clients, that business will see very little traffic from people who research online.
Being a geek and knowing the power of this, I know that you NEVER want to make a geek mad at your business. One good geek can really hurt your online presence, a few and you are dead online. Geeks know this, and sometimes they even use to to hurt your business if you are their competition.
This computer repair guy really must have made someone mad, he has pages full of bad reviews about his company. Click HERE to see for yourself.
Also see MY PAGE. I had one fake, negative review, so I asked my Facebook friends who were clients in the past to post an honest review for my company. Look at the results.
There is one major thing that I see so many businesses doing wrong, and that is their failure to communicate correctly. So many companies send out a message but they never ensure that it is received. Then they flip out when you are not aware of their message that they did not properly communicate. When I was in college I learned that communication is defined as this…
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender.
The last part is the most important. First you need to make sure that the receiver has received the message and understood it. The problem is that people are flooded with messages. Over 100 billion emails are sent world wide each day. I get 100’s of texts per day, I get a pile of snail mail every day except sunday. Email is the worst though, I get over 1000 per day, but and those are sorted to over 50 different folders, and about 800 or so of them are detected as spam and sent to a spam folder. What makes me really unhappy is when someone emails me once or twice, and then a day or two later calls me and is totally mad me because of their lack of communication. When a message is urgent it is the responsibility of the SENDER and not the RECEIVER to make sure that message is delivered.
Businesses send out urgent notices, bills and much more over email, and they assume they are delivered. My web-host is really bad at this…when they see a problem with my account they email me and then disconnect my account like 10 minutes later, usually because some database locked up or something stupid like that, they don’t bother calling or texting or anything like that. They wait for me to have a customer call me and tell me that it is down, usually after I have lost 100’s of hits and client confidence. It really urks me. Because of facebook and texting many people are using email less for important things and they check it less often. So if you are waiting for an important message to be received please simply pick up the phone and tell them that you sent an important message and if they received it and never assume that they received it until you hear a reply. BTW if you are still in the stone age and use faxes this applies even more to you.
On Wednesday the 16th I plan to go to the capital and speak about HB2677, here is what I plan to say. If you read this and can think of something major to change please leave a comment. This is my first time trying to change a law. At the end I suggest a change to the bill that would actually result in the intent being accomplished, with almost no negative side effects and a few positive ones. Here is what I plan to say.
Hello. I am Jason Dragon, I am an elected PC and State Committeeman in the Republican party. I am here to talk to you today about HB2677.
The intent of this bill is to find a way to tax people who are here illegally and use the money to build the border fence, but it fails miserably in both of these goals. I think that we do need to protect our border, and I am for building a fence but I am against this bill.
The first, and main reason that it fails is that it will tax everyone who sends money using a wire transfer service to any nation for any reason. The bill says that this is refundable, but it is only to the extent of a tax obligation. On top of the sender will need to wait up to a year so that they can file their taxes, and then they will need to keep records of these sends, and if needed will likely be required to provide these to the DOR. The majority of citizens in Arizona do not have an Arizona tax obligation due to many deductions or other credits and not enough income; all of these people will not receive a refund. In addition many other people and businesses may send money from Arizona who do not reside here, and thus will not be able to receive a tax credit.
Illegals don’t use these services. Existing state laws, designed to stop money laundering and criminal activity, already have strict ID requirements to send money using these services. They can not pass these ID requirements if they are here illegally unless they have very professionally forged documents, so the vast majority of illegal immigrants don’t send using the services this bill intends to tax. They often will hand the money a friend who can send.
As someone who has lived overseas, operated a business overseas and sends money overseas often I know that there are much easier and cheaper ways to send money than using wire transfers that this bill simply does not cover. Illegal’s and legal’s often also use these methods to send money. The most common way would be to open a bank account in the US and receive a debit card, or buy a PrePaid credit card and simply mail that card to your receiver in the foreign nation. Once they have it you simply deposit money into that account here in the US and the person in the other nation goes to an ATM and withdraws it. They also could choose to use the card at any major merchant for purchases. Because these are withdraws and not wire transfers they are not taxed. This does not even touch on the ability of people to simply mail a check or cash to a loved one overseas. Before this law even goes into effect I would bet that some smart company located in another state will offer a service where someone can send money to them and they would resend it overseas, and they only need to charge a fee slightly less than the tax charged by Arizona to get a lot of business.
The government is going to severely hamper these money transferring businesses, while other methods will prosper. The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.
This bill would also make our state even more business unfriendly. We would pass the burden of collecting and tracking this tax onto local businesses. We also would harm businesses that import, have overseas offices or overseas workers, taxing the money that they pay. I for one have freelance web programmers in a handful of nations in Asia, this would cost me more to pay them. I also send money every month supporting kids in Christian schools in Asia, this would cost me more to do that. I have already been contacted by missionaries who receive support from Arizona who are shocked by this bill and hope that it will not pass. I have figured that this bill would cost me about $800 per year if it passes, and the rate of 5%, as has been published in the media, would be charged.
And that leads me to the next major problem in this bill, the fact that the actual rate of the tax is not set, we should not leave ANY tax rate up to the discretion of some unelected director to decide. Where is the oversight?
Because of the complexity of international money and other existing laws this simply is not a workable bill, and it will never generate the funds needed to build a complete fence.
I don’t like to speak unless I have a solution to the problem. I have an idea of a way to amend this law to make it actually achieve the advertised goal without creating a new tax and by only targeting illegal aliens. Basically you would strike this text and replace it with text that would create a law enforcement activity, stating that during the course of law enforcement activity if someone other than a victim was discovered to be an illegal alien they would have their real and personal property confiscated. This property would then be auctioned off to generate funds to build the fence. Some protection would need to be put in there to make sure that property of a business or citizen is not swept up. You could even expand it to include people who apply for social services but are found to be here illegally. Then once the fence is built and a maintenance fund established, extra funds would go to help pay for education. Such a bill would likely be about as popular as SB1070 was. It would also function as a great deterrent to an illegal committing a crime or asking for social services in Arizona.
There are many ways to save energy and therefore money. Some do a lot while others are more of a myth.
Time of Use plans
One of the best ways to save a lot of money is to select an energy plan for your house that fits your usage model. When a utility makes electricity they do it in a few different ways. Most power comes from what we call BASE power plants. These are plants that are always on, day, night, 24/7. Most of these are Coal and Nuclear. This electricity is cheap and efficient. Wind and solar energy are not really created under the control of the utility. A utility tries to have enough base power to provide all the power that their customers need at least 80% of the time. For the rest they turn to DEMAND power. This is power that they can either buy or turn on as needed. Hydroelectric is a great example. These plants are mostly turned off during the night, but during the top of the demand time they could be at full force. In addition power generated in cold climates can be sold to warmer clients during the summer and visa versa.
Because of the much higher cost of this DEMAND power electric companys want you to not use it, so they offer programs to encourage you to shift your usage to non peak times, and they also have programs to encourage you to use a more steady amount of power during these peak time. So it is simple, here is in Arizona I have APS, and I use a program called Combined Advantage. With this program I pay only 4 cents per kWh from 7pm until noon each day. But from noon until 7pm on weekdays I pay 6 cents during the winter and 9 cents during the summer. On top of that I have a demand fee of $13.40 per kW used during the highest 1 hour of usage during peak time. What this means for me is that I can use almost as much power as I want from 7pm until Noon and pay almost nothing. I just have to keep my usage down during the peak time. I have been able to never go above 6kW during my peak hour. By using this model I used 20% more power than last year but enjoyed bills over 30% LESS. Last year I was on the 9pm until 9am program, but it had no Demand Charge. I already had them look into how much it would cost if I was on the normal rate program and it would be over DOUBLE what I am paying now. So change your plan and cut your power bill in half.
Here in Arizona it does not get that cold. We have found that it is not a good idea to heat the entire house. When you heat with your large central heating system as much as half the heat you create escapes out of the unit itself or through the duct system. Even if you have a very efficient Gas heater like I do it is still much cheaper to just heat the rooms you need, especially if you are on a time of use electrical plan and only use it during the off peak time. When we stopped using the central heating system our gas bill went down by over $70 per month while our electric bill for the space heaters was only $10 more than the previous year.
Fans are another way to save money, a good ceiling fan will make you feel 5 degrees cooler than it actually is. With a fan an 80 degree room will feel like 75 degrees and that fan costs just pennies a month to run. Invest in ceiling fans and save money. Another way to save is to have door and window fans to draw in the outside air during the times of day that it is cooler.
I am a computer guy so of course I need to talk about technology a bit. An LCD monitor is much more efficient than the older CRT monitors, in fact the average 19″ CRT uses over 300W of power, while a LCD uses less than 25W, a HUGE difference. If used 40 hours a week, at the normal power rates this adds up to about $9 per month per monitor. With the cost of an LCD being about $120 that means that you would save about enough money in the first year to pay for the new monitor! So why are you still reading this on an OLD CRT.
While we are talking about saving money with computers, modern computer use MUCH less power than older ones. The NEW cpus use laptop technology to scale back power usage and use less power and less cooling. A new computer could be faster while saving as much as $3-5 per month in electricity. If you are like me and leave it on 24/7 that comes to more like $15-$20 per month.
Your car also uses power, in the form of Gas. You can do all the normal things like Tune up your car, and keep your tires inflated and you will receive a good 20%+ boost in the amount of mile you can drive. Of course you can also reduce unnecessary weight in your car, select routes that have fewer left turns but it turns out that one of the best things you can do is to NOT drive a steady speed. Don’t accelerate too fast, I try to keep my RPMs under 4000 at all times. It will use much less fuel if you accelerate for a time, then coast for a time, going back and forth, you could increase your MPG by 20% or more by doing this.
There are many more simple ways to save energy, many power companies will help you pay for an Energy Audit. This is where an expert will come in, usually with a infrared camera, and look for cold or hot spots on your house where you leak energy. Most energy is spent to heat of cool things so this is a real eyeopener.
For many things in life a coupon can be a great way to save a lot of money. Grocery store coupons are usually small and not really worth it but there are plenty of big ticket coupons that save huge amounts of money, and these coupons can often be used with price matching to make for stellar results. In this economy many businesses offer coupons and many of these coupons are just begging for you to come in the door.
My favorite coupons are the ones where you spend a set amount at a store and then receive a dollar amount off. Even better is when you can simply print these as you like. For example the other day Cabela’s sent me a coupon for $20 off of a $100 purchase. It was a coupon that could basically be printed as many times as you like. The key to these coupons is to first price match, to get the best deal, or buy the things that are really on sale to start out with. I bought Ammo, they had a great deal on it and they had it in stock which is rare, add that with $20 off makes the best ammo deal. Staples, and OfficeMax also send them out via email, sometimes even $20 off a $50 purchase. I also get them in the mail from time to time. And when you don’t have one you can often use Google to find a valid one online. I often thought about how easy it would be to print out 100 of these and sell them to people who are ready to check out for half of the face value, what an easy way to make money. The key to the best deals is to always sign up for their free email newsletters. GoDaddy has so many good coupons that I never buy from them unless I use one.
The next coupons that I love are the restaurant ones. Many restaurants want you to visit them, at least once, so they give away coupons. Many are buy-one-get-one-free. You simply go there, order two entries and only pay for one. My favorite of these is a small burrito restaurant near my house called Moe’s. It is nice and upscale, and they send me at least 4 coupons each month in various publications, on top of that the food and environment is awesome. It gets even better, I can go online to the Az Clipper website, find their coupon and print as many out as I like, and they NEVER expire. So awesome!
I receive a ton of great coupons in the mail, this is where I get most of the good restaurant deals. But there is much more than just restaurants that do this, there are dentists, auto repair shops, car washes and much much more that will let you bring a coupon and get a huge discount.
Almost every publication that sends out print coupons also has a website where you can download and print unlimited coupons for free. Az Clipper is one of the best, but it is only in Arizona. SavvyShopper is another good publication with national reach, their coupons are located at couponclipper.com. Money Mailer and ValPak are national companies that send out lots of coupons in one envelope, and you can search and print all the coupons. You can even do this for areas you don’t live in, great for traveling!
Another interesting site that I like is called 8coupons. Basically they gather up all the deals they can find, including online circulars and post them in one place. You video a map of your location and click on the deals to see what is there. It does not have all of the best local deals but has many of the national chain and online deals. It also has ton’s of really dumb things like listing dollar menu items from McDonalds or Burger King as a deal alert, those are the prices everyday with no coupon needed.
For the person who eats out a lot these links and ideas can really save you a ton of money. I know more than one person who does not even buy much food for their home, they eat out almost every meal because it just is cheaper. It also saves me money on oil changes, car washes, bowling and much more.
Thanks for reading please click a link below to see the other 9 ways to save money in tough times…