If you dread Daylight Savings Time and the biannual confusion it unleashes, youâ€™re not alone. Many of us stumble around under the cover of darkness this time of year, griping about our sleep cycles. But DST is not just a passing annoyance, it can hit you where it really counts â€“ your wallet.
In the United States alone, daylight saving time implies a one-day loss of $31 billion on the stock exchanges.
Recent studies have found Daylight Saving Time can be quite disruptive to the economy. The sleep-deprived days that follow â€˜spring forwardâ€™ weekends have sometimes been marked by higher-than-average drops in the S&P 500 since 2007. Historically, November commerce takes a hit (up to 4.9%) for a full month after â€˜falling backâ€™ an hour. Workplace injuries, strokes, and car accidents also see an uptick in the wake of clock changes.
Why is Daylight Saving Time still a thing?
Thatâ€™s a tough nut to crack. Contrary to popular belief, DST was not born out of a need to extend farmersâ€™ work hours with natural light. It dates back to World War I and an effort to conserve fuel. In todayâ€™s high-tech world, lighting is no longer our biggest energy drain â€“ so why keep this relic around?
Enter the Chamber of Commerce. Along with industry groups, the Chamber is often credited for keeping DST around, claiming that an extra hour of daylight translates into spontaneous shopping trips for consumers on their way home from work.
With hits to investments, commerce, productivity, and health, itâ€™s no surprise that a 2013 study tagged DST-related disruptions at about $434 million. Thatâ€™s a hefty price tag for a few more shopping hours â€“ which, by the way, donâ€™t typically offset Novemberâ€™s drop in spending.
How can you soften the blow?Â
With no clear end to Daylight Saving Time insight, here are some savvy steps you can take:
1. Beat the heat.
This is a great time to make some adjustments and automate your thermostat. According to the Department of Energy, temperature is the primary driver of energy bills â€“ about 48% of all energy use in the average home.
Small adjustments can make a big impact. These stats are hard to resist: turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours each day can save 10% per year in heating costs. Keeping your heat at 68 degrees while awake and lower while you sleep also has a big impact. Be sure to check with your utility provider â€“ many offer rebate incentives on programmable thermostats.
2.) Lighten up.Â
Here it comes: light bulb advice again. We all know weâ€™re supposed to use the LED ones, despite their stale, headache-inducing white glow. At this point, thereâ€™s no denying that switching to energy-efficient bulbs is the fastest way to cut costs. Lighting your home with the same amount of light for less just makes sense. So why put it off? Ditch your outdated bulbs. And maybe splurge on a lampshade that amps up the ambiance.
Do I gain an hour of sleep or lose one? Thatâ€™s the depth of thought most of us give to Daylight Saving Time. But donâ€™t be fooled by that enticing extra hour of sleep this season. Staying alert in the days following a time change can protect you â€“ and your wallet.