Monday, the United States Department of Energy (USDE), announced electricity rates will jump more than 10 percent this winter — the largest spike in 25 years. Rather than getting a second job, take the extra bit of time to power down and unplug when you're finished using electronics. When the five o'clock whistle blows, but before you "yaba-daba-dooooo" home, shut down your workstation — the whole thing, including printer, disk drive, and central processing unit. According to the United States Department of Energy, a year of nightly computer sleep will save you $90. If you'd rather not economize for your office, then at least try powering down at home. Tell your kids to shut down when they're done searching the Web, IM-ing, and doing their homework (if you're lucky). Make a habit out of unplugging at-rest cell phone chargers, iPod mounts, electronics on standby, and anything else that hemorrhages electricity and your money.
Thirty years ago, President Carter asked the country to turn down the thermostat and "put on a sweater." Carter wasn't making a fashion statement; he was encouraging Americans to conserve energy during the 1979 Oil Crisis. Sound advice never gets old. Considering we're in a just bit of an oil pinch — funny how history repeats itself — it might be a good idea to heed Carter's advice...if not for foreign policy and the environment, then at least to fatten our pockets. As Americans spend more than ever on heat, the Alliance to Save Energy claims a one-degree thermostat reduction can save 3 percent on your heating bill. I don't know about you, but I'd rather wear a cute sweater and spend my money on massages, fancy chocolates, and bourbon.