Wednesday, June 5, 2013

When Frugality Isn't OR Why I Should Not Attempt Math Before Breakfast

Most bloggers only write about what works.  But hey, we figure you can learn from our mistakes instead of yours.

I am fascinated by solar power.  And I'm bad at math.  So we scooped up a $1.99 solar light on clearance at the hardware store the other day.  You know, the kind that comes on the end of a stake that you stick into the ground along the sidewalk leading up to your door.  I figured we'd budget it under entertainment and see if it worked at as a night light.

The Magician took it apart so we didn't have to deal with the stake, and we put it outside during the day and inside the bathroom at night.  It worked erratically.  The stake turned out to be the sturdiest part of its out-sourced construction.  Then I took our electrical bill one day over breakfast to figure out how much our little 4-watt plug-in electric night-light had cost us, which would tell us how much we could spend on a solar one and still save money.  (Presuming the sun put in an appearance.)

My math skills are dubious.  I concluded that the little bulb cost us .69 a night, or $20.21 a month.  So buying a nice solar light for $12.99 made sense, right?  It would pay for itself in a month!

Then, in the parking lot after buying said light, I realized belatedly that my math couldn't be right.  There was no way the little 4-watt night light accounted for almost half of our monthly electric bill!

I revised my numbers while fully awake.  The night light cost $1.21 a year.  So in about 10.7 years, we'll break even, assuming the solar cells keeps on recharging and doesn't have to be replaced....

Yup.  We're going to budget this little experiment under entertainment....

No comments:

Post a Comment