How Unplugging More Often Can Save You Money
Due to the pandemic, Americans are on their phones more than ever before. From video calling to increased online shopping and social media time, we are married to our technology. That comes with costs both literal and physical. Fortunately, there are many benefits of unplugging from your technology, whether you simply spend more time with your family or get outside.
Though it is normal to experience emotions associated with “withdrawal” when you first disconnect, according to a recent study, many people eventually reach a state of “liberation” and a sense of renewed attention, energy or focus in their lives. In addition to reduced stress, unplugging can encourage you to get outside more, which is good for physical health.
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Beyond unplugging from your personal-use technology, there’s also great benefit to literally unplugging some devices inside your house to save on the cost of electricity. Both forms of “unplugging” bring very real, measurable results to your bank account if you follow these suggestions for technology and other devices.
Get Outside — It’s Free
Putting down phones, tablets and gaming systems may make you more likely to get outside — especially for kids. Outdoor activities, ranging from hiking to sports, provide entertainment that doesn’t require you to use your data or your electricity. So long as you engage responsibly and safely during the pandemic, you and your kids will benefit from more outdoor activities (in fact, children need that time for healthy growth) and you may save on spending for extra data or roaming charges.
Reduce Video Gaming Frequency
Video games on consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch rack up electricity differently, with the Xbox units requiring the most watt consumption of the top sellers, according to Red Energy. Dropping the frequency of video gaming, depending on how often you play, can save you some money on your bill and positively benefit mental and physical health.
Turn Off Your Lights
Now that many of us are working and attending school from home, you may find that you’re leaving lights on in every room, or that some people in your home aren’t paying attention to turning them off. If you’re still using old incandescent lighting, you’re wasting the most energy, as these bulbs give off 90% of their energy as heat instead of light. Turning off lights when you don’t need them or replacing them with low-energy LED lights can save you money. The Department of Energy provides this handy guide to figuring out savings.
The wattage of the bulb multiplied by its time on gives you a value: A 40-watt bulb on for one hour consumes 0.04 kWh. Find out what you pay your utility for electricity per kWh to determine how much you could save per hour if you keep it off. For example, if you pay 10 cents per kWh, you would save 0.4 cents per kWh when you turn your lights off. Multiply that by multiple bulbs and you can see that these savings will add up.
Unplug Some Appliances
Some of the appliances you leave plugged in year-round are actually consuming electricity even while “off.” According to the U.S. Department of Energy, depending on how many appliances you have in a house, unplugging them unless using them can save you as much as $100 to $200 a year. Hairdryers, microwaves, coffee pots, TVs, computers not in sleep mode and many other things can be unplugged and easily plugged back in as needed.
Unplugging not only saves money, it can have many indirect benefits to your health, mental well-being and ability to connect to the people in your home or family.
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