Frugal Tip Of The Day - Computing by Lamplight

I'm a night person, always have been. I do most of my work at night, which is why I needed to find a better way to light up my computer room than even a CFL


I tried computing just by the light from the computer screen, but since a really bright screen gives me migraines, that didn't work. It was a little too dark for the times when I needed to jot something down that I read online for future reference.

I love candles, and have a pile of them, but I usually use them when I'm trying to make the house smell better, not just for light. I do have hurricane or emergency candles, so I decided to try one of those. They did not really give off enough light unless I lit about 5 of them. Burning up that many candles isn't cost effective, so I had to come up with something else.

Living in Florida, I have hurricane oil lanterns. I also have a HUGE stock of lamp oil, which is pretty cheap. I got all my oil lamps at thrift stores, except for the one my sister gave me for Christmas. You can buy them at crafts stores like Craft Depot and Michael's here in FL, but I still prefer to buy them at thrifts stores and yard sales, being the cheapskate that I am.

I find that the oil lamps give out just enough light, and are very cost effective. A bottle of oil costs me about $1, and it last for many nights. It takes about half a bottle to fill the lamp, and I've been burning this one an average of 5 hours a night, for four nights, and it's only just burned halfway down.

If you buy a lantern for light, get one with the large, flat wicks instead of the smaller, round wicks. It puts out more light, while burning only slightly more lamp oil. You will need to replace the wicks eventually, although they last a pretty long time. You can also find these at craft stores, and I believe Wal-Mart has them as well in the craft section.

My mother tells me that if worse comes to worse, you can use flannel as a wick. Never tried it, but she lived with oil lamps her whole childhood, because they didn't get electricity in her house until she was 16. If you live in an area where kerosene is available, you can use that, but always get the highest grade, or you'll have a real smoking problem.

Now for the downside, fire hazard. It's always best to put the lamp somewhere where you aren't going to be knocking it over, as that could cause a house fire in a heartbeat. Always keep something close by to smother the flames if you're going to use these lamps. Of course, an extinguisher is best, and I have a small personal one that I keep in my computer room. These are pretty inexpensive, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

Besides the savings, lamplight is very soothing and relaxing, and if you add a few drops of essential oil, it can be like aromatherapy. You can even buy scented lamp oils. So try it, you'll like it, and save a buck or two at the same time.

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