How to Save: Turn off the gaming consoles

How to save is an occasional feature that will highlight ways that an average reader can save a few bucks.

Video game systems left running can increase electricity bills

Roy Sykes photo — The Orchard Farm High School Student Council hosted a Halo video game tournament Friday. A 2007 Nielsen study shows four out of every 10 homes have a video game console.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 1:18 AM

Chris Burk, 16, estimates he has more than 200 video games for his 13 different game consoles he’s acquired since third grade. Burk said he spends several hours a week playing video games, which his parents teasingly say is running up their electric bill.

“I do get on them about turning off their video games,” said his mom, Jill Burk, of Chris and his brother.

Chris Burk’s parents might not be too far off base. A study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that consoles left running consume 10 times more energy than those turned off after people are finished playing.
Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are the two biggest power suckers, according to the report. The PS3 uses about 150 watts in active mode. The annual utility cost to users who leave their PS3 on is about $160. The annual cost to users who turn the PS3 off after use is about $15.

Last fall, Sony introduced an update to automatically power down PS3 consoles left on but not in use, according to the NRDC paper. The feature is disabled initially – users would have to access a menu to turn it on.

Burk says he turns off his game consoles when he’s done playing – except for the PS3, which he leaves on standby. “It’s a quicker power-up time for when I want to play,” he said.

Save $60 to $120 a month by kicking cigarettes

With the 62-cent federal tax hike on cigarettes that went into effect April 1, smokers are feeling the pinch on their wallets. The price of a carton of cigarettes varies from about $19.99 for Edgefields to $39.99 for Marlboros, said a clerk at Dirt Cheap Cigarettes, Beer and Liquor, on West Clay Boulevard.

If you decide it’s time to quit, dropping a pack-a-day habit could save you $60 to $120 a month and between $700 and $1,500 a year.

Getting help quitting may be free. Ellen Brennan, a nurse at SSM St. Joseph Medical Park in St. Peters, offers a smoking cessation support group once a week. She said younger people often try to stop smoking because of the cost.

“What the group tells me is they truly do say they never would have been able to quit and stay quit without the group,” she said. “They kind of feel accountable.”

The class is offered at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in the administration conference room on the second floor of St. Joseph Medical Park, 1475 Kisker Road. No registration is necessary, but Brennan is available to answer questions at 636-947-5009.



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