5. Sign up for your utility's time-of-use plan. Many regional power suppliers offer rebates for reducing electricity consumption during periods of peak demand.
Cost: Washing clothes and dishes at night during nonpeak hours, and turning the thermostat up or down a couple of degrees during a cold snap (or heat wave).
Savings: $25 to $50 per month on your energy bills, depending on the season.
Bonus: You're easing the strain on the power grid—and lowering the odds of a blackout.


6. Make your own cleaning solutions using inexpensive kitchen staples, such as white vinegar and baking soda. See The Green Guide for recipes.
Cost: A few bucks in extra pantry supplies.
Savings: $50 or more per year on commercial cleaners.
Bonus: Cleaners that don't contain harsh chemicals are healthier for your household.


7. Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. It's probably set at 140 degrees F to shorten the wait time for a steamy shower. But 120 or even 110 degrees is plenty hot.
Cost: A few minutes with a screwdriver in the utility room.
Savings: $30 or more per year on gas, oil, electricity, or propane.
Bonus: Your kids are less likely to scald themselves if the max water temperature is 120.


8. Install dimmer switches and use energy-efficient halogen bulbs, rather than incandescents. Dimmable CFLs are even thriftier, but some flicker at low power.
Cost: $10 per switch at The Home Depot, $5 for a Philips Halogena bulb at Bulbs.com.
Savings: $20 per fixture on electricity over three years.
Bonus: Halogens tend to outlast incandescents, saving more money over the long haul on replacement lights.


9. Replace central-air-conditioning filters every month during the summer to keep air flowing freely through the ducts and reduce strain on the blower motor.
Cost: About $11 for three filters.
Savings: $40 or more on cooling costs.
Bonus: New filters keep dust and mold from collecting on condenser coils, extending the equipment's life.
Ask TOH users about Money Saving Ideas

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