9. Replace can lights

From a design perspective, recessed fixtures are great, because they brighten a room without cluttering the ceiling. But from an energy efficiency perspective, they're duds. Because these fixtures usually aren't sealed and can't have insulation above them, they allow heated air to escape into the attic. You can replace them with newer, airtight models, but that can get expensive. There's a far easier fix: Buy a retrofit kit that screws into the existing fixture. The best kind seals around the rim and behind the bulb, converting your old fixture to one that is airtight and insulation-rated. You'll need a special fluorescent bulb (4 pins, 20 watts), but given the average expected life of 10,000 hours, you won't have to buy a replacement anytime soon.

TCP Dimmable Retrofit Kit: $41.30
TCP TCX Dimmable Springlamp: $6.50
*Total: $47.80

10. Build a worm bin

Let worms eat your garbage, and they'll reward you by producing rich compost for your garden. Because worms thrive in a closed container, a worm bin is much less likely to attract pests than an open compost pile. You can buy plastic worm bins, but it's a lot better to make your own, which you can easily do with one and a half sheets of exterior-grade plywood, a few scraps of 2x6, two hinges, and a handful of nails or screws. Line the bottom with bedding of moist leaves or shredded cardboard, add a colony of worms, and faithfully feed them your food scraps. Within a year you can start harvesting compost. Earthworms don't do well in confined quarters, so use red wiggler worms instead; order them online at yelmworms.com

2 sheets plywood: $78
Hardware: $10
1 lb. red wigglers: $20
*Total: $108
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