The Ultimate Guide for Saving Money & Energy

CONSERVING ENERGY IN EACH ROOM OF YOUR HOME.

Home Office: Plug multiple electronics into a smart power strip with programmable timer or motion detector.
Bedroom: Set ceiling fan direction to clockwise in winter to draw up cold air and counter-clockwise in warm months.
Bathroom: Switch to 10-minute showers and change to a low-flow showerhead of 2.4 gallons per minute.
Living Room: Use the programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures 10-15 degrees while you are away or sleeping.
Kitchen: Move oven rack closer to heating unit to cut cooking time up to 20%. Get new seal on refrigerator door.
Basement: Seal small gaps with caulk, fill holes with spray foam, and cover large holes with spray foam and foam board.
Garage: Install weather-stripping around the garage door; attach fiberglass duct wrap or foamed insulation panels inside.

COOLING ENERGY SAVING TIPS

Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction In the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise.
Close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the AC is on. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans.
Change or clean your ACs air filters at least once a month to keep your system running at peak performance.
Make sure your AC has a rating – or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – of 15. Not only will your AC be more efficient, you could also be eligible for a rebate up to $300.
Make saving automatic: Set your thermostat fan switch to “auto” to save energy. Leaving it in the “on” position keeps air running constantly.
Block the sun from overheating your home! Inside, use shades, blinds and drapes. Outside, use awnings, trees and shrubs.
Insulate your walls with injected foam insulation to help you save energy by keeping hot outside air from seeping through porous block walls – check with your local building supply company for details.
Give your AC tune-up. Running an inefficient AC system can result in high monthly bills. Plus, you could qualify for a rebate.
Open interior doors so that cooled air flows freely throughout your home.
Repair leaky ducts to reduce heating and cooling costs and qualify for a rebate up to $120 toward repairs.
Install attic insulation rated R-30 and sealing any attic leaks to reduce high home cooling costs. You’ll save money each month and qualify for a rebate of $75 or more.
Check for household leaks to make sure air isn’t escaping through openings such as fireplace dampers, doors and windows.
Decorate for a cooler home by hanging light-colored curtains that allow light to enter a room while blocking some of the sun’s rays, and light-colored paint to reflect heat.
Close unused air vents. If you have central AC you can close air vent in rooms you’re not using so you’re not paying to cool them.
Plant trees to provide shade on the sunny side of your home.
Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light bulb. However, be sure to turn fans off when you leave – they only cool people, not rooms.
Install more ceiling fans. Because the breeze of a fan can make you feel three to four degrees cooler, you can raise that thermostat and still stay comfortable.
Raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees to save on your cooling costs.
Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your temperature during the day.

Savings – Maximise Your Return by Choosing the Right Account

When we have worked for much of our adult lives and invested the fruits of those labours in caring for our children and ensuring their smooth transition into independent living we find ourselves able to invest some of our surplus income in providing savings for our future. Naturally, we want the best return on our investments. As this brief article will exhibit, the issue of cash savings accounts and which one to choose is far from straightforward, particularly during periods of economic downturn where the financial institutions are reluctant to offer anything other that parsimonious rates of interest. The first account that we will look at is the current account.

The Current Account

For reasons that will become clear, the current bank account is not one in which it is not always wise to invest your savings.

There are many current accounts that offer 0% interest on monies invested, regardless of the amount in the account. Obviously, being a current account you have unfettered access to your money and all the facilities that come with a current account, such as a cheque book and debit card but a combination of the low (or even non-existent) interest rates available and the fact that your bank is likely to have other savings options that are more beneficial and only marginally less flexible means that you should hesitate before leaving anything other than the bare minimum in a current account.

That means you should keep enough to service your monthly needs and ensure that any surplus is paid into a more efficacious savings account.

The next account we will look at is only slightly less flexible than a current account but it is almost certain to provide a greater return on your savings. This is the Easy Access Account.

The Easy Access Account

As its name implies, the easy access account offers a straightforward way of accessing your funds as and when you require them. However, there is likely to be a limit on the amount of money that can be withdrawn at any one time. Because the savings institution does not have the advantage of knowing that it will be holding the saver’s money for an extended period of time, as it does with some of the other accounts that we will examine later, the interest rates offered on easy access accounts are likely to be relatively low.

However, savers are likely to find that the easy access accounts that provide the most attractive interest rates are those that do not require an office or branch based organisation of the account. Accounts that can be run by telephone or, even more likely to attract generous interest rates, through the internet, cost the savings institutions less to administer and consequently they are willing to provide higher interest returns on savings.

Even with that advantage, however, it remains the case that Easy Access accounts are amongst the most unprofitable of savings products presently on the market. For accounts that provide a greater return the savings institutions want some guarantee about the amount and/or the length of the investment.

There are several types of accounts that savings institutions offer which provide higher interest returns on savings. These tend to be based upon the saver investing a fixed sum for a set period of time, on a fixed interest period subject to conditions or upon the saver investing a minimum regular amount into the account. The first of these that we will consider comes within the latter category and is most frequently described as a Regular Saver Account.

The Regular Saver Account

In simple terms, the Regular saver account is one into which the saver agrees to invest cash into the account on a periodic basis (conventionally this is monthly). Because the savings institution can rely upon receipt of cash on such a regular