I skimmed through an article the other day about conserving both energy and money because it actually promised a cost analysis of certain behaviors. Like how much money it saves you to unplug your cell phone charger when not in use. Yeah, those vampire chargers we've all heard about, sucking the life out of the power grid and ultimately America. You know you've read the headlines and felt a little bit guilty for harboring your own little covey of life draining appliances.
May 9, 2009
Vampires in Your Den
Don't worry about it.
The charger? 14 cents a year. I've could save ten times that much by sorting the pennies out of the crumbs in the depth of my living room sofa. Your laptop? You could save 2 cents a day by leaving it unplugged. The grand total I could save if I acted on all the recommendations listed? Slightly less than thirteen dollars. A year.
Call me crazy, cynical or lazy, but you'd have to pay me a whole lot more than 14 cents a year to concern myself with whether or not my cell phone charger is plugged in. It isn't, but only because I need that outlet for the pencil sharpener.
I know, I know, I could get a manual sharpener and save even more money–and counter space. Except that I bought the electric one specifically because it is so over sized it cannot possibly wander off into someone's pocket or backpack. And I can operate it with one hand.
And for better or for worse, isn't that America? We do things that don't make the most economic or environmental sense because it makes the most personal sense. People pay hundreds, thousands of dollars a year to walk on a treadmill at the gym when there are miles of blacktop they could use for free. We buy prepared foods for astronomical prices rather than cook every meal from scratch. Because we value time more than money. And we value convenience and aesthetics, too. We like our clothes to look clean. We pay other people to cut our hair–not because it's healthier or morally correct but because we like how it looks. You don't see articles recommending we do away with stain removers or the barber and his energy sucking establishment, do you?
And if you want to talk economics, there's a cost saver–I have given my children and husband about 487 hair cuts in the last fifteen and a half years. If you price each one at about $20 (and I have no idea how accurate that is) I have saved myself $9740, not counting gas to get me to the barbers and probably a fast food meal on the way home because I wouldn't have been there to make dinner.
But that's me. I have more time that money; I have five boys that don't really care what their hair looks like precisely (although I was getting a lot of coaching and suggestions last go round) and a girl who likes to wear hers long.
So go ahead. Leave your charger plugged in if that is convenient. Wash your towels and underwear in hot water if you want. Hire a barber or a masseuse or a lawn guy if you have the money. Don't let the headlines get to you. Use your common sense, and if you like, you can even let your mammon cents accrue beneath your sofa cushions.