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Last Wednesday morning, I awoke to an intense pain in my neck. I assume I simply slept on it wrong, but now we’re going into Day 7 of painful mornings and limited movement as I try to get myself ready for work. The muscles in my back and neck seem to have twisted themselves into painful coils, and I’m struggling to get the rest of the holiday décor up.

Some part of me must have known this was going to happen when we were shopping on Black Friday. Or, perhaps, I didn’t have intuition and was just instead trying to save a few bucks on my electric bill. Regardless of the reason, I found myself purchasing several of these GE 24-hour programmable timers.

This thing is wildly simple. There are 48 segments along the dial which represent half-hour increments during the day. One half of the dial is shaded dark, representing evening hours; the other is white, representing daytime hours. All you’ve got to do is push down each half hour increment you want the lamp or appliance on, and leave the rest up*.

*I should admit here that the instructions that come with the little plug tell you to push down on each segment, implying that the segments begin all up. I tried using my fingernail on one segment and it didn’t go down. I tried a pen cap; nothing. I went into the kitchen and got a fork so I could use one of the metal prongs. Still no change. Then I got frustrated and opened another package after practically mangling the first one from trying to push down so hard with the fork. Then, somehow, I realized that the buttons were already all down, and I needed to pull up the time segments that represented when I didn’t want the lights to come on. Then I laughed at how dumb I was for not thinking of it sooner.

Next, turn the dial so the little triangle arrow is pointing at the current time of day.

Turn the top switch from “Outlet” to “Timer”, and plug your appliance in. In my case, I first chose to try them out on the tree lights.

Little did I realize, but these little timers actually pack quite a punch. Instead of having to bend over to plug in the lights, I can rely on the timers to do it for me – which saves me a bit of back pain. Instead of forgetting about the lights and leaving them on all night, we’ll save a few pennies by programming the timer to turn off just before bedtime. And while Colby is still our number one home invasion deterrent, he’s getting a little more backup nowadays thanks to the timers. Lamps that turn on independently can fake out would-be burglars – what’s not to love about that?

Um, ignore the paint chippy outlet.

So, let’s see: pain relief, energy savings, and robbery prevention. At only $3 to $4 apiece, it’s one heck of a bargain, eh?

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  1. We've used those for our trees inside before – I love them. We're currently using them for our lights outside – anything that saves me a cold-footed trip outdoors is a lifesaver!

    Hope your neck feels better soon!