By Trevor Hargreaves
As we find ourselves in increasingly challenging economic times, cost-saving devices have an increased appeal. In the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin, a penny saved is a penny earned, and these clever gadgets go a long way to helping you cut back on monthly business and living expenses. Noted astronomer Carl Sagan once said: “Knowing a great deal isn’t the same as being smart. Intelligence is not information alone but also judgment.” To that end, the items below are smarter versions of devices we all use on a daily basis. Which begs the question, why aren’t we using them already?
Prius Hybrid Car
This car is so green it might as well be constructed from lawn turf. Using Toyota’s lauded
Hybrid Synergy Drive, this vehicle gets an incredibly fuel efficient 4.0 L/100 km in the city and 4.2 L/100 km on the highway. There are lawnmowers that require more fuel than this. As a “series-parallel” hybrid, the Prius can drive on electric power, combustion engine or a combination of the two.
Accordingly, this means big savings on monthly fuel bills. The car also has a Tier 2 Bin 3 emission rating, which means it’s very eco-friendly. And last but not least, let’s not forget the newly announced hybrid car Canadian tax incentives worth up to $2000.
Katadyn Exstream Personal Water Bottle Purifier
Let’s face it: bottled water is more outdated than a first generation iPod. But just because you aren’t buying individual bottles of H2O doesn’t mean you’re not thirsty. Enter the Katadyn Exstream Personal Water Bottle Purifier. With its 21 ounce capacity, this item will provide clean, filtered water at an affordable 160 refills (26 gallons) per cartridge.
Kodak ESP All-in-One Printers
In terms of cost-per-page efficiency, the Kodak ESP line of inkjet printers offers impressive savings of up to half that of a standard printer. Using a highefficiency print system that recently won a 2009 Innovation Award, this line of printers costs very little to operate. Ink cartridge refills are priced extremely low and produce a yield well above the industry standard. For a moderate user, this represents significant savings over the long term. As far as base unit costs, ESP models range in price from just $145 to $310. As expected, the higher end models include more bells and whistles such as Wi-Fi printing and built-in duplexers, but even at entry level you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck with card-reader functionality and copy/scanning options.
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the
World, by Niall Ferguson
A timely chronicle of finance and the inevitable cycles of financial crises, this book is a spirited mix of anecdote, analysis and analogy. Ferguson delineates how paper and promises have carried mankind from Babylonian subsistencefarming to global Wall Street domination. In his summation of the current economic crisis, he writes that it “magnifies what we human beings are like… our tendency to overreact.” He goes on to say that “money is a mirror . . . [that] reflects our blemishes as clearly as our beauty.” Filled with provocatively written concepts and insightful prose, this book is a lively read.
Whirlpool Duet Front-Loading High-Efficiency
Less bells, but certainly more whistle (not to imply that it’s noisy!). What you forgo here in options compared to top of the line models, you quickly gain in cost savings. Not only is the price tag about $300 less, but it also runs fewer cycles and uses far less power than a standard model. As long as you’re not too picky about temperature conditions (the only available options are hot/hot, warm/warm and cold/cold), this is a great model choice. It also stores a massive amount of laundry per load with an equally mega-sized dryer.
Smart Strip Power Strip
Now this is a nifty device. A typical computer has a multitude of peripherals attached to it: monitor, scanner, printer, DSL modem, what-haveyou. Even when a computer is turned off, these peripherals draw an idle current of about 50 mA to 400 mA per hour. Multiply this by how many peripherals you have connected and how many hours you have them plugged in, and what quickly adds up is a sizeable bill for completely unused power. With a Smart Strip Power Strip, however, you not only get a solid surge protector with 10 outlets, but also a quick fix to idle current. When you power down your computer, the Smart Strip Power Strip automatically shuts down all connected external
devices. And just how much power does this device potentially save? Testing conducted by an independent computer consulting company showed the Smart Strip Power Strip can save enough energy to pay for itself in as little as six weeks. On an ongoing basis, a user could save up to $20 per month. Now if only it could get my printer un-jammed as well. www.smarthomeusa.com/ShopByManufacturer/Bits-Ltd./Item/LCG4
|“I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.”- Jackie Mason (1936 - )