Posts tagged ‘savings’

Daylight Saving Time Was Funded by 7-11

By Chad Upton | Editor

Spring forward, fall back — that’s the phrase that moves our clocks the right way.

Most of North America, Europe, New Zealand and parts of Australia, South America and Africa currently observe Daylight Saving Time (DST). The days and times at which individual countries actually make the shift, varies widely.

In the following image, the blue zones currently observe DST. Orange zones no longer do and red zones never have. It should be noted that the further away from the equator, the more likely a country is to support DST since the daylight hours are more greatly affected.

Daylight saving time was invented by two people in different parts of the world at around the same time. The first man was George Vernon Hudson, an Australian, who proposed the idea in 1895. He wanted longer afternoons following work to spend collecting and studying butterflies and other bugs. The second man was William Willet, who proposed the idea in 1905 and wanted longer afternoons to play golf. He had no knowledge of Hudson’s proposal since he was half way around the world in London, England. Hudson was actually born in London but moved to Australia when he was 14, so two men from London invented daylight saving time on two different continents to enjoy more of life.

Although both men were seeking extra daylight hours for pleasure, the benefit of the idea was electrical savings. Since people would be awake for more daylight hours, they would run their electric light bulbs less.

Since that was a primary use for electricity, this was a big concern all over the world. In fact, there was a time when most of the world observed daylight saving time. But, that’s the not the case anymore: much of Asia and parts of Africa, Australia and South America no longer observe DST.

It’s a surprisingly controversial topic.

Although it was conceived in 1895 and it was a good idea, it didn’t actually get used until Germany saw a need for it in April of 1916. They started using it during World War I because it allowed them to run generators less, which helped ration coal and handle air raid blackouts. The United Kingdom started using it a month later. The United States started using it in 1918 and other countries followed.

When the war ended, many countries abolished its use, including the United States. It was reestablished in 1966 and has continued to grow ever since.

In the mid 1980s, Fortune magazine estimated that 7-Eleven stores could benefit an additional $30 million per year if daylight saving time was seven weeks longer. In 1987, 7-Eleven and Clorox funded the Daylight Saving Time Coalition that sought to extend the length of daylight saving time. More sunlight was good for retail business.

There have been many controversies over the benefits of daylight saving time.

Light bulbs currently account for about 3.5% of energy consumption in the United States and Canada. With the adoption of compact fluorescent bulbs, that number will decrease. In other words, it’s not a significant part of power consumption any longer. Some studies show that daylight saving time actually increases energy costs in some places due to a shift in peak energy consumption patterns and prices. There are many conflicting reports on whether DST really saves any electricity at all.

There are other benefits, such as fewer traffic accidents. It has been shown, and it seems reasonable to expect, that fewer traffic accidents occur during daylight. So, the longer the daylight lasts after work, the fewer accidents occur. But, it can a negative impact on some farming. For example, grain harvesting is best done after dew evaporates, which requires sunlight. But, the field workers go home after an hour less sunlight in the summer, reducing the number of hours that harvesting can take place.

Daylight saving time can also disrupt electronic devices. Most of them are set to change times automatically, but some don’t and some have problems doing it correctly. There was a recent problem in Europe and Australia with iPhones not changing time correctly, causing those who rely on their phone’s alarm clocks to be late for work.

Given all the controversy, perhaps the only concrete thing we can say about Daylight Savings Time is similar to what we already know from Wearing White After Labor Day: summer is for leisure and winter is for business.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: Engadget, Wikipedia (Daylight Saving Time, George Vernon Hudson)

Photos/Images: Wikimedia Commons (gnu license), Richard Yuan (cc)

November 5, 2010 at 12:29 am 7 comments

How to Save 25% on Medical Bills

By Kaye Nemec | Contributor

If you’ve recently undergone some sort of medical procedure and are nervous about the number of digits when the bill arrives, relax. Medical bills aren’t necessarily black and white; some frugal patients have discovered a secret.

According to a recent New York Times article, most hospitals and doctor’s offices are willing to negotiate price if it means at least part of their bill actually gets paid. In a time when the economy isn’t exactly booming and some people can’t afford health care, more and more medical bills are left untouched. If you’re looking to steer clear of collection agencies and maintain your credit, you may be able to benefit from other people’s “dine & ditch” version of medical procedures.

So what’s the trick? Haggle.

Call your doctor, hospital, dentist etc. and ask them to give you a discount if you pay your entire bill immediately over the phone. Angie’s List recently performed a consumer survey about this topic and found that 74% of people received a discount on medical bills simply by asking for it.

If you’re the planning ahead type, check out the website HealthCareBlueBook.com before scheduling a medical procedure. They’ll give you an estimate of what some of the most common procedures should cost, that way you can shop around and see how much various providers are charging. Once you find the best deal, schedule the appointment, then call afterward to haggle your discount. Check out their section on How to Negotiate Healthcare Prices for even more tips on lowering your bill.

Even if you’ve never used the salesperson of the month parking spot, it’s easy to ask for a discount. The worst that can happen is: they say, “no”

Your request can be as simple as, “Hello. I have a labor and delivery bill from your hospital for $1,700.00 and I heard that if I pay it in full over the phone I can get a 25% discount. I’d like to go ahead and do that today.”

I’m wondering, could this also work at the vet? If you thought medical bills for humans were outrageous, try having a puppy and you’ll soon learn what astronomical looks like.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: NYT, CBSNews.com, Angie’s List, HealthCareBlueBook.com

Photo: Maxios (cc)

July 29, 2010 at 5:00 am 13 comments

Shop at Off-Peak Hours for Time Savings

I’ve said it before, I love bananas. But there is one kind of bananas I do not like, busy grocery stores!

I went to my local supermarket yesterday to pickup a few things. Being Super Bowl Sunday, it was pretty much the worst day to go grocery shopping. Normally, I would just go another day but I needed some things for later in the day (like most other people there I’m sure).

All the cart bumping and line shoving could have been avoided if I just went early in the morning or late the night before. That’s what I usually do — try to go shopping around 8pm-9pm, that includes any stores that are open late (ex. Target). Many stores are now until 10pm and some are open 24 hours. I try to take advantage of these hours since I usually get the store to myself. It actually makes shopping peaceful and efficient. (more…)

February 8, 2010 at 12:48 am Leave a comment


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