Sunday, March 11, 2007

Extended Daylight Saving Time - A Challenge To Frugal Living

This year Daylight Saving Time (DST) will start today, March 11, instead of on the first Sunday in April. Also, DST will end later, on the first Sunday in November. The earlier start and later finish of DST will make it harder to be frugal this year. What? How are frugality and DST related?

First, as background, here is a great article on the history of DST. Basically, DST is supposed to help us be more frugal by enabling the reduction energy usage. The premise is that the energy demand for lighting correlates to when people get up and go to bed. While DST increases the use of light in the morning, this is theoretically more than offset by the delay of using lighting in the evenings. Hence, DST should reduce energy costs.

However, there is a non-energy related effect of DST that is supported by the retailing industry. The reference to Halloween and increased candy sales in the DST article is only the tip of the iceberg. According a NPR story, author Michael Downing, who wrote Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, claims that an extended DST is also designed to help sales for retailers. Mr. Downing says a major supporter of extending DST is the Chamber of Commerce, which knows that Americans will tend to leave the house and spend money with extra daylight hours. In 1986, DST was moved from 6 months to 7 months. In the 1985 Congressional hearings, golf retailers estimated an additional $200 million in sales from the extra month of DST. Barbecue retailers estimated an extra $100 million in sales.

Therefore, followers of "frugal living" be aware that being frugal is now even harder. We will now have to fight the "urge to buy" from extended hours for another month :-)

For more on New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for the next segment.

Photo Credit:, Mary R. Vogt
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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