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Archive for May, 2007

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) save money…and look better too

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

I am replacing the lights around my house with CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs) and you should too.  Random?  Read on… 

I was looking around my house and I realized several things.  The first, though not related to this article is that the dishes really pile up with four guys living in a house.  The second thing I noticed was that my house is in sore need of updating and maintenance.  The college look has long since passed “cool” down to “well Ill rearrange as soon as I have some money” and then proceded on to “Seriously, have a little self respect.” 

On a completely seperate day I was doing the household bills and I was pondering how on earth four guys can rack up a utility bill topping $200.00.  Thats just for water and electricty mind you, not even including the gas bill. 

These two seperate thoughts came together in one brilliant, bright idea (har har).  I would start a series on saving money with home improvement.  The first thing on the list?  Light bulbs.  As it turns out changing out regular light bulbs in your home with CFLs can actually save you a fair chunk of money over the long run.  First lets have a look at the differences:

Light bulbCFL

Well, there you go, thats visual difference.  You can pretty much get a CFL that puts out any sort of light, though I wont go into details here because I know you are all sitting in your office chairs screaming “Show me the money!” at your monitor.

Lets take my favorite kind of “regular” incandescent light bulb, namely the 100 watt light bulb.  Why do I like the 100 vs say a 60?  Quite frankly I hate dim light while Im awake.  To make the switch to a similarly bright CFL I would need to buy the 25 watt variety.  Lets assume I replace 100W incandescent bulbs with 25W CFL bulbs and that each bulb is in use for 4 hours per day on average:

Annual Savings ($) if Electricity is Priced at…

Number of Bulbs

kWh Saved Annually






























(Taken from here)

In my house I counted up a total of 12 bulbs that could be changed out.  Im going to do the switch this weekend and then Ill post my energy bill next month versus the one this month.

Top 5 credit score myths

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

I recently was rechecking my credit to see where I am at these days.  When I bought my house my score was around 760 but since then I had one nasty occurence where I forgot about a bill and it went something like 90 days late and I got a black mark on my credit.  I remember years ago I had looked up what on earth goes into the credit score…and the truth is, no one knows for sure what the EXACT formulas are.  Its some sort of industry black magic where they are afraid to give away the secret.  In any case I did come up with some things that I had been told by various people that, as it turns out, are about as truthful as OJs denial.

Myth #1 – Checking your own credit will lower your score
You can check your own score as many times as you want without hurting your score, but make sure you do it via a legit site and not at “Joes one stop credit shop.”  One example of a good place to go is right to the source, such as equifax

Myth #2 – I have to have perfect credit to get the best rate
The truth is, you just have to have a GOOD score to get the best rates. Generally a score of 700 or higher will get you the best rates available.

Myth #3 – You only have one credit score
 Actually, you have three credit scores, one from each of the three major credit bureaus.  They vary between them, so its not a bad idea to check all three.

Myth #4 – Closing old accounts will help improve your credit report score
Canceling old credit accounts can and generally WILL lower your credit score because it makes your credit history appear shorter.  If you have old accounts, keep them open.  Unless you have a ridiculous amount open, having too much credit available is much much better than botching your credit history.

Myth #5 – Your age/income/sex/race/ are factored into your score
They aren’t.