How we saved $350 a year switching to LED 5

In a few of my previous posts I’ve mentioned how we’ve saved considerably by getting rid of our incandescent light bulbs. You know the ones invented by Thomas Edison, the ones that run current through a really thin wire that then gets really hot and lights up. The lighting up is really cool but the heating up not so much. Most energy used to create light actually ends up getting used generating heat.

Then there was the new (really not new anymore) Compact Fluorescent light bulbs that somehow manages to redirect a lot less energy to heat and more to light. My experience with CF bulbs is that they still get very hot but what’s worse, they’ve never seemed to last long. Once they do give up they end up in the trash and unfortunately CF lights contain mercury and although it is a small amount millions of CF bulbs will add up.


Philips 451906 100 Watt Equivalent A21 LED Light Bulb Soft White, Dimmable

In comes the LED light. LED has made great strides in the last couple of years. Initially light emitted from these bulbs was blueish and not very charming to look at indoors.  On top of that you couldn’t dim them either.

Not anymore, they now have a similar look to them as the old light bulbs and the better ones allow for dimming as well. The only downside to LEDs is the upfront investment. They are much more expensive than Incandescent and the Compact Fluorescent. The upside is that they last for some 20 years (according to packaging). This means your upfront investment has lots of time to be recouped.

Enough history and science, let’s look at the numbers. For this calculation I’ve looked at our own household and what we saved switching to LED.

Following are some numbers used in the calculations:

  • Cost of energy (cost kwH): 0.13945
  • Cost of incandescent bulb: $1.00
  • Cost of LED (good ones): $40 (that has and will come down more)
  • Period over which I measure the cost: 10 years (to include replacements in this total cost)
  • life of incandescent bulb: 1,000 hours
  • life of LED: 50,000 (estimates are all over but I’m optimistic)

The following table represents our household with all its rooms and usage of lights in each those.

Cost of running incandescent (including upfront and replacement cost): $42.07


Cost of running LEDs for the same set of rooms and time period: $13:06



Replacing all incandescent light bulbs in our house got us a saving of about $29 a month. That is close to $350 a year. There is the upfront investment to buy the LED bulbs which actually seem to be coming down considerably. In my calculation I used $40 per bulb. I’m sure if you go bargain hunting you will find them cheaper.

The good news is they last so long, you can simply bring them along with you when you decide to move (be sure to hold on to the old CF or incandescent bulbs).

If you want to see for yourself how much you can save check out my Online LED savings calculator. No downloads required. You see immediately how much you can save on one bulb, one room or your entire house. If you want to download the excel calculator you can do do for FREE right here: LED savings calculator

Love to hear your thoughts

Good luck reaching your financial goals.

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About Maarten van Lier

Maarten came to this country with a suitcase and a diploma. He created a financial plan and goal to become a millionaire in 10 years. He successfully turned his financial goals into reality, wrote a book about it and now blogs actively in hope of inspiring other to do the same.

5 thoughts on “How we saved $350 a year switching to LED

  • Chris Muller

    This is sweet! I love how you broke down the cost of the bulbs… and that’s just insane that you’re saving that much money. We have a much smaller home, but even if we saved 1/3 of that by switching to all LED, that’s $100! We have LED bulbs outside right now and I am just loving it for the fact that I don’t have to change them… pretty much ever. Fantastic post, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Maarten van Lier Post author

      Thank you. Savings should be higher nowadays as LEDs have come down in price. Later this week I will make the calculator I used for this available. You will be able to enter all bulbs for each room, it will pick the right wattage LED bulbs associated with your current bulbs and calculate your savings. Look out for that one.

  • Jessica Greenhood

    Although they are expensive, our power bill dropped $100 when we changed out all the bulbs in my husband’s workshop to LED. We’ve only had them in there for a few years, but they have lasted longer than any other light bulb I’ve used.

    • Maarten van Lier Post author

      They are pricey. The calculator I provide looks at the long term savings which includes the upfront cost and replacement cost. Savings aren’t immediate given the upfront cost but savings in the long term are huge.

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