I don’t know if it is trying to share the joy of the season with the kids, or more probably if it is flexing machismo like Clark Griswold, but somewhere along the lines, we started hanging lights on our houses. And the more you hang, the better dad/husband you are, right? You might remember this exchange from the movie National Lampoons Christmas Vacation:
Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas Lights.
For years, I’ve had the same white “icicle” style lights that have hundreds of lights per strand and dangle from the roof. But the problem with these little guys is — if one light goes out, a whole section of lights goes out. So 6 years ago, I probably had 10 strands. Then each year, lights would burn out or go loose, and entire sections would go dark. Last year, I was down from 10 strands to about 4 barely-functional strands.
So, this year I went to Costco (see another post about a $13,002 TV at Costco) and upgraded my lights:
- New LED technology
- Colored lights
- Single strands (not the icicle mess of lights)
- $14.97 per 50 foot strand.
- “Constant On ™” technology. Set continues to operate even if an LED is burned out or loose. AWESOME!
- Average life: 20,000 hours.
How much electricity expense will I save this year?
I am just going off of the box, but it seems to make sense from what I know about LED technology. Let’s just compare sets of lights (even though I know there were a bunch more lights on the icicle sets.) According to the box, I’ll save approximately $15/strand in electricity expense.
Electricity Cost of old incandescent Strands: 10 strands * $15 = $150
Electricity Cost of new LED Strands: 3 * $0.14 = $0.42.
Season Savings: $149.58!
So that’s pretty good savings for a season. But don’t stop there!!! Now do something good with the savings! Some might say “That’s only $150,” or others might say “Yay! $150 more to spend!” But Homes in Order would tell you that investing in your mortgage is a pretty good way to use that extra money. You could just add that $150 to your next payment. Try it for yourself with the mortgage payoff calculator to see how much you would save. Or, here’s how to add that simple savings to the rest of a mortgage. Let’s divide $149.58 by 12 months. $149.58/12=$12.47 per month. Now, plug that into the Homes in Order calculator and you’ll be surprised at how much a typical new homeowner would save.
Summary: Total savings: Approximately $8,900.
Pay off your mortgage early! It’s easy, and you will save a ton. When you have a mortgage, every little bit you can save literally pays off. Did you ever think that just upgrading Christmas lights could save $8,900 and almost 6 months of mortgage payments?
Saving is good. Saving + Investing is really great.
(If you want to get really wonky, consider this: these lights have an average life of 20,000 hours. So, 6 hours * 60 days = 360 hours per season. 20,000 hours / 360 hours = 55 seasons with these new lights! That’s about 10X longer than my last sets lasted. So, $15/strand * 10 strand * 10 more seasons replacing = $1,500 of saved replacement costs over 50 years. Multiply 50 years * 12 = 600 months. Divide $1,500 (savings) / 600 = $2.50 extra savings per month. Add $2.50 + $12.47 (electrical monthly savings) = $14.97. Now input $14.97 as a regular monthly prepayment into the payoff mortgage early calculator and see how much you would save on your mortgage!)