Savvy Shopper: Trip these tips to save

Although there is a minimum wage, there are a lot of situations where we expend effort at an hourly rate that runs far below legal thresholds.

 

From buying lottery tickets to entering sweepstakes, the time involved dwarfs any actual payoffs.

During March Madness one year, I filled out a bracket for a billion dollar challenge. Although the potential prize was spectacular, the 9.2 quintillion (9,2 followed by 18 zeros!) to 1 odds of winning meant that spending even one second on this contest amounted to donating my time. Despite that, the siren song of one billion dollars overruled any logic I may have had.

To atone for such misjudgments, I thought I would write about ways to earn hourly pay that puts the vast majority of jobs to shame:

Digital thermostat — Installing a digital thermostat typically saves 5 percent on heating and air conditioning. Although a household that spends $200 on utilities can save $10 a month, the figures become a lot more compelling when you realize that your earnings exceed a million dollars per hour!

Because the thermostat is doing all the work, you expend 0 hours while the earnings accrue. Because a number divided by 0 results in infinity, any money you make without expending time ($ divided by zero hours) is earned at an hourly wage of infinity. Since infinity is a whole lot bigger than a million, you can honestly say that a digital thermostat pays you more than a million dollars an hour!

Trickle valve — I have found that using a “trickle” valve in the shower to be a useful for saving money. When you are soaping up, you can shut off or slow down the water flow.

Although habits vary between individuals, an average shower can use 50 gallons of water. In my experience, I estimate a trickle valve cuts this amount in half.

This type of reduction implies a monthly savings of about $3. Since using this device requires no extra time on your part, the earnings per hour are the same as the electronic thermostat’s and exceed a million dollars an hour. Be sure to get a trickle-style shut off so the water will stay warm when the valve is closed.

This product is available at any hardware store.

Walgreens Rewards/CVS Extra Bucks — When I go to Walgreens or CVS, it floors me when I witness a customer declining to use a rewards card when making a purchase. Making matters even worse, I am floored about 75 percent of the time. When you consider how much more you pay without a loyalty card and how little time it takes to get the discount, the savings achieved amount to free money.

With average transactions amounting to $20 and typical discounts of 20 percent with rewards cards, a savings of $4 per trip can be achieved. Considering that it takes no more than 10 seconds to enter your information, you can earn an average of $1,440/hour. If you absolutely don’t want to register your personal data, the cashier generally has a card he can scan that will enable you to get the lower price.

Deals highlights — Every Sunday, deals at drug and department stores are highlighted in the A-J. In addition, the Wednesday edition of the paper focuses on grocery specials.

By just looking over the deals highlights and buying just a few of the featured items, I am convinced that any shopper, even without using coupons, can save at least 10 percent on their grocery bills using less than 5 minutes per week. Since a typical weekly shopping bill is $125 or more for most families, this amounts to a wage of $150 per hour. Outside of politics, that kind of money is rare.

Maintaining tire pressure — In addition to increased tire life, it is estimated that an average driver can improve fuel economy by 3.3 percent by keeping tires at the proper pressure. By spending 5 minutes every month checking and filling your tires, you can save about $3 per month if you spend $100 a month on gas.

Put another way, you can earn $36/hour. If you spend $200/month, you can achieve $72 per hour.

Before getting started, use a digital tire gage. Despite the fact that many people think eyeballing tires for proper inflation is OK, it isn’t. You will end up with the wrong pressure.

Who would have thought that simple actions could pay in such a spectacular way? In addition to astronomical hourly rates, you can set your hours with the above opportunities and come and go as you please. If only all jobs were like this! There’s a reason it’s called Savvy Shopping!

If you have ideas that will help other Savvy Shoppers save even more, let us hear about it! Please visit and “Like” our Facebook site (Click https://www.facebook.com/LubbockSavvyShopper or log on to Facebook and enter “Lubbock Savvy Shopper” in the search tool) or write us at SavvyShopperLubbock@gmail.com and let us know your thoughts. Our group is thriving. However, you can put the “U” in community and complete us.

Don’t miss out!

SEAN FIELDS is the A-J’s Savvy Shopper. Read his columns Sundays and Wednesdays. Email him at SavvyShopperLubbock@gmail.com, like his Facebook page at Facebook.com/LubbockSavvyShopper, or see previous columns and deals at lubbockonline.com/savvy-shopper.

 

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Mon, 07/24/2017 - 18:12

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