No matter how hard we try to keep it out of mind, I am sure most of us are already thinking about the coming holiday season and how we are going to deal with the additional expenses that cannot be avoided.
Jason Alderman, a financial expert who directs Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com), suggests doing some small spending cuts. If started early, these little economies can mean big savings.
For instance, underutilized phone and cable services, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships and other “extras” that are not being used should be canceled, Alderman says.
In fact, you do not need the incentive of Christmas to do this. Paying for something you do not use, or do not use as much as you should, means an expense you do not need.
Alderman says bad habits, like smoking, should be dropped. Actually, quitting smoking will not only save you a bundle by not having to pay for cigarettes anymore. It can also mean avoiding the serious health issues associated with the addiction that can mean huge hospital bills.
Use more energy-efficient bulbs, Alderman also recommends. You may expand this to include appliances. When and if you need to replace any appliance, like the refrigerator or air-conditioner, choose the most energy-efficient model in the market. Though it may cost a little more than other models, the significant reduction in energy bills should more than make up for it.
For those who drive, Alderman says sticking to the speed limit will mean lower energy consumption. He explains, “Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas and can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway. Fuel economy drops rapidly at higher speeds.”
In the United States, Alderman says, each five miles per hour in excess of 60 mph, “is like paying an additional $0.29 per gallon of gas.” He also suggests lightening the load of your vehicle as each extra 100 pounds reduces your miles per gallon.
Alderman adds that generic drugs are usually much lower than branded ones. Good generic drugs are as effective as branded medicines but without the added cost of the popular name.
I mentioned in one column last month some suggestions from web sites on how to keep eggs fresh for a little while longer. I asked why refrigerator manufacturers still put egg shelves in locations that did not seem to be the best places for them.
Terry Sales of the European brand Electrolux, a major producer of refrigerators, reacted to the column by explaining that “appliances are designed to fit the habits and behavior of consumers. Egg shelves are normally found (behind) the door for easy access, as they are likely consumed every day. Most consumers would also buy eggs on a weekly basis, if not more frequently.”
Sales said the company’s survey of consumers all over Asia found that eggs stayed in the refrigerator not longer than two weeks.
He added that, aware that bacterial growth caused spoilage, Electrolux, for one, kept the deli bin/drawer and egg shelves closer to the freezer section where the temperature was lower.
He said, in some models of its refs, the company infused the plastic used in egg shelves and deli bins with antibacterial agents to slow down bacterial growth.
With this information, perhaps readers, whose refrigerators have those moveable shelves and bins, should make sure the egg holder is moved to the area closest to the freezer or the chiller.
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