Saturday, November 29, 2008

Run Your Car On Water To Save Gas And Money

Run your car on water - at first it sounds like a science fiction or a gas company's biggest nightmare. However, stories are popping up everywhere, even on Fox News, about this phenomenon that promises to dramatically reduce your gas usage and, as a result, to save you hundreds of dollars a month. Before you decide whether you want to attempt converting your car so it can run on water, you may want to learn a little bit more about the process.

How Does a Car Run on Water?

First, you need to understand that your car won't run solely on water. What you're actually going to create is known as a water hybrid. If you remember high school chemistry, you'll probably recall that water consists of two molecules: hydrogen and oxygen. A process known as electrolysis is used on the water so the hydrogen and oxygen can be used to run the car. Water vapor is the only waste product and that is emitted from the car into the atmosphere.

Is the Process Dangerous?

The answer is no. Of course, you don't want to ignite the hydrogen or anything like that but really the process is no more dangerous than driving around with gasoline in your tank. Some experts believe using water can actually make your car safer because you won't be carrying around as much volatile gasoline in your car. Think of it this way: you can get burned from boiling water but when gasoline ignites you get plenty more than a burn.

Does the Process Really Save Money?

Yes but how much you save depends on the type of vehicle you have. Remember you'll still need to use gasoline in your vehicle because the combustion in the engine is what powers the rest of the water hybrid process. You just won't need to use as much gas. The larger your vehicle the more gas you're still going to need. If you already drive a fuel efficient car or a four cylinder vehicle, then you'll see a more dramatic reduction than if you're driving an SUV or mammoth truck. That's not to say you won't save money - you still will but you'll need to use more gas in comparison to fuel the process. You might also save money in other ways though. Water burns cooler than gasoline so your engine will end up lasting longer and undergoing less damage over time. That means you'll save money on repairs.

How Can I Make my Car Run on Water?

First, you'll need a conversion guide. These guides can be purchased online. Videos are also available on the Internet that will walk you through the steps. If you or someone you know is comfortable with basic car maintenance, then completing the conversion should be no problem. Second, you'll need to purchase some equipment. The materials required will probably cost you less than filling up your tank at current gas prices. You can find them at most auto part stores on- or off-line. Overall, the conversion process is simple and provides numerous benefits. The best part is that it's completely reversible so if you're unhappy with the results you don't have to live with the change until you buy a different car.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Easy Ways to Save In Your Small Business

You’ve heard it over and over again: The lack of cash flow is the number one reason most businesses fail. So it follows that every small and home-based business owner should know how to stretch a dollar. Here are seven of the easiest ways to rein in your business expenses:

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Rethink how you use and acquire resources. Do you toss out paper printed on only one side, or buy new toners instead of refilling the old ones as often as possible? Or do you waste money on inadequate data storage such as CD-Rs and DVD-Rs? You could save money by using flash drives, DVD-RWs and CD-RWs, which you can use multiple times without losing data.

Also, instead of shelling out extra money or going into debt to purchase new computers, printers or faxes, buy refurbished models instead. Many of these tech goods are refurbished to a high standard and may come with guarantees from the sellers. Or, you can simply replace the parts of your computer system that need replacing, rather than buying entirely new systems. These budget moves are also good ways to green your business.

2. Sign up for an office supply store card or newsletter
Some stationery suppliers such as Grand & Toy offer discounts to card members. In some cases you can save as much as 35 per cent on the supplies you need. Other merchants, such as Staples, offer weekly discounts that you can learn about through their newsletters or flyers. Some suppliers even throw in free delivery within their local area if your order exceeds a certain amount.

Also, don’t forget about Costco. This big-box store sells electronics, computers and accessories, and stationery supplies at highly competitive prices.

3. Don't always go with what you know
This requires getting out of your comfort zone. Take phone services; many people are still using traditional phone services for their businesses instead of cheaper services such as Vonage, Yahoo VoIP, or Skype. Some stick with their phone company’s long distance plan when they could save money by signing up with a competitor. Or some peope use the company that insures their homes to insure their businesses. But are they getting the best deal?

Often, people fear the paper work or the time it takes to set up a new service. One way around this is to ask your current provider to match a competitor’s price. Otherwise, you will have to decide if the potential savings of switching to a cheaper service outweigh the cons.

4. Hire the right people
You’ve probably heard the saying “be slow to hire and quick to fire.” This little nugget goes a long way when it comes to saving money. It takes a lot of time and money to search for and train a new employee. While small business owners are often overwhelmed and tempted to hire quickly, you shouldn’t shortcut the hiring process.

To trim your hiring expenses, be clear about what the job entails, your expectations, your business policies, and the skills the employee must have. If you can, get the employee to demonstrate their skills during the hiring process (for instance design a web page or database for you, or create a promotional brochure for one of your products) to see if they meet your standards.

Finetuning your hiring process also applies when you’re shopping for service providers on freelance sites. Don’t hire just anyone because you need to turn around a project quickly. If that provider screws up, you’ll have to pay someone else to fix their work. Or, you’ll have to do it yourself. How much is your time worth?

5. Shop online
Many stores, including book, furniture, software and computer stores, offer deals online that are not available in their bricks-and-mortar businesses. Some of these discounts can be substantial, up to 50 per cent off. Also, you can take advantage of deep discounts from resellers, whose prices often beat prices you’ll find in regular stores.

Online savings aren’t limited to products, however. You can also save on services, such as business incorporation, travel arrangements or freelance help.

6. Be a smart banker
Bank officials are great at promoting services with bells and whistles for your business account. Tune them out. Instead, choose the most basic account that gives you all the services you need. Get the generic checks, use ATMs, and bank online as much as possible.

Banks use advanced security technology to create a safe online banking environment, so the risk is low. Also, banking online saves you valuable time you can devote to other duties.

7. Keep your company logo simple
You can quickly rack up additional printing costs for business cards and letterhead if your logo has more than two colours. Keep it simple. Two colors don’t have to mean boring (think of CNN’s logo or the Nike swoosh). A vivid concept executed with sophistication can be just as powerful. Also, if you don’t have a quality laser printer at your disposal, you should find an affordable printing shop to do the job. You want your cards to be cheap, not look it.

Keeping your eyes on the bottom line can seem tedious at times. But as it becomes a habit you’ll find it easier. Plus, you’ll enjoy using those savings in other critical areas of your business.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Save 1/3 Or More On Your Grocery Bill

Who doesn’t want to save money in these soft economic times? One way to do it is to cut your spending on groceries. No, I am not talking about clipping coupons, although that is a way if you don’t mind taking the time to look and clip. Frankly, I don’t have time for all that. I think my way is faster and easier. Consider these seven tips.

(1) Buy in bulk. Most cities have an outlet that allows you to buy in bulk. Most charge a nominal membership fee. Even with the fee, the savings over a course of a year make it worthwhile. The advantage to buying in bulk is that the cost of individual units is less. While it may not be practical to buy fresh produce inbulk, there are many non-perishable items that can be effectively bought in bulk. Some of these include canned goods, dry cereal, pasta, frozen meat, etc. Most of these can be easily repackaged to a manageable size for storage. Another idea is to buy in bulk with a partner and split it.

(2) Buy more than one. The problem with buying only one of anything is that you are at the mercy of the grocer the next week when you need to replace it. Buying more than one of commonly used items allows you to store the extras, so that you can wait for the next sale to restock. Most grocery stores rotate sale items on a monthly basis, so that if you purchase a month’s supply, you have enough to last until the next sale.

(3) If it’s not on sale, don’t buy it! While this may seem to be a hard concept, by following the above rule, you likely will not need it until the next time it’s on sale anyway. We follow this rule religiously in our house and it works to save us 30-50% on a regular basis. By all means if it’s a dire necessity, buy it. If not wait until the next time it goes on sale.

(4) Buy fresh food. The general rule in most households these days seems to be to buy pre-packaged, heat and serve meals. While there may be a time savings, it comes at the expense of a higher grocery cost and compromised flavor. I learned this lesson shortly after my wife and I were married. I, being the typical bachelor, cooked most of my meals out of a box. My wife, however being from the Philippines was more used to going to the market and cooking everything fresh on a daily basis. I still remember the stunned looks on peoples faces who were behind us in the grocery line. Our cart would be overflowing with all sorts of fresh fruit and vegetables, rice and meat. It would still cost about half what their half-full carts of packaged food cost!

(5) Buy store brands if possible. While the nationally advertized brands may get more attention, they are usually more expensive. Many store brands are actually quite good. Most of the major chains have their own brand. Try them, you may be pleasantly surprised.

(6) Use “stretchers”. No, not the kind you carry sick people on. I mean the kind my mother and grandmother used to make food go further. Most meat dishes can effectively be stretched by using half the called for ground beef and supplementing with beans such as navy or pinto. Even Pork and Beans works well. We do this commonly with “sloppy joes” at our house and the kids love them. Bread crumbs or oatmeal can be mixed into a pound of hamburger to stretch things when you are making burgers for a crowd. I know of one national chain restaurant that uses ground beef and beans in spaghetti. I have not noticed their sales dropping off.

(7) Use leftovers creatively. Sometimes the little odds and ends that are left from a large meal can be effectively converted into soup or a casserole with a little creativity. Sometimes a happy accident occurs that you may actually want to repeat.

We use all these tips at our house to one degree or another. In so doing, our monthly grocery bill is less than most comparably sized families we know. By trying some of these, I’m confident yours will be too!
David Doolin
David Doolin writes on travel and vacationing related issues. You can learn more by visiting my blog,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Many Benefits Of Utilizing Low Energy Bulbs At Home

The need to use more energy-efficient lighting systems has been the battle cry of a lot of environment groups and sustainable development advocates. This has been the clamor in response to the burgeoning energy crisis, as well as to curtail the harmful effects of global warming and climate change. Industries and consumers are now heeding the call for the wider use of energy-efficient equipments and devices, and many are now using eco-friendly low energy bulbs for their home lighting needs.
These days, the most common energy saving lighting devices are compact fluorescent lamps which are also referred to as CFL's. These lighting types have been touted to be among the best and most affordable low energy bulbs for homes and offices. Although some still question the effectiveness and long-term benefit of these types of lighting devices, many however are giving it positive reviews and say that CFL's and other energy-efficient lighting devices are a step in the right direction. According to green lighting advocates, the standard light bulbs consume large amounts of energy because these turn energy into heat rather than light. CFL's on the other hand work in the same manner as their early fluorescent cousins, wherein the electric current makes its way through gas in a tube and its tube coating glows brightly. These low energy bulbs truly utilize lesser energy, remain cool to the touch, and generate the same amount of light as traditional lighting devices. According to green advocates, if only all of us use just one energy saving light bulb in our homes, we could save as much as 1-million buses full of CO2 emissions, and if each household uses just three energy saving bulbs at home, they would be able to generate extra energy to run our nation's street lights for a year. Wouldn't that be great for the environment, as well as to the economy?

Consumers today need not fret anymore or find any excuses not to use energy saving light bulbs. It's a fact that these home-lighting devices last longer than standard home lighting devices, as long as 6 to 15 years depending on the wattage type and lighting product you purchase. Consumers are also given the opportunity to save as much as of 75% of the energy you would use with traditional incandescent or old-school fluorescent lighting. In addition, the latest array of low-energy light bulbs manufactured and sold today are no longer really big ones, as these are usually slightly smaller than their standard lighting equivalents. These low energy lighting equipments also come with attractive designs and classic shapes. The wide variety of compact fluorescent lighting and energy saving bulbs sold these days is also equipped with domestic dimmer switches to enable users to increase the light or reduce it by using a conventional light switch. Consumer welfare advocates also note that the energy-efficient home lighting devices sold today are much safer to use especially in confined areas, and also generate very little heat as compared to the standard lighting devices. These devices are also considered safe to use in areas where children are present and do not easily spark or burn up.

It's also important that consumers be aware that all types of fluorescent lighting contain a few amounts of mercury. However, they need not worry as the mercury levels in these lighting devices are far less than what is present in a thermostat or small thermometer. The good thing is that, the constant use of these light bulbs helps prevent the release of mercury into the atmosphere, and when these bulbs burn out a few years after the initial use, they can then be properly recycled. Jo is an author and publisher for ‘Litelec’ (, a UK company that specializes in the distribution of electric light bulbs, light fixtures, electrical accessories and associated merchandise for domestic and industrial use which they retail at vastly reasonable prices. If you would like to cut down your electricity costs and at the same time play an important role to the safety of the national environment then begin by utilizing Low Energy Bulbs at home and if you have other electrical merchandise and accessories requirement then have a look at Litelec.

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