22. Plant a deciduous tree on the south, west, or east side of your house. Once mature, it'll shade your roof and cut your cooling costs by up to 30 percent.
Cost: $25 to $70, depending on the tree species, at Fast Growing Trees Nursery.
Savings: About $120 per year on air-conditioning.
Bonus: The tree drops its leaves each fall, so you'll still get the warming benefit of winter sun.


23. Skip extended warranties. They're a hedge against the cost of repairing everything from LCD TVs to furnaces. But odds are that you'll never make a claim.
Cost: If something breaks, haggling with the manufacturer to get it fixed for free or paying for repairs out of your own pocket.
Savings: $50 to $200 per warranty that you don't buy.
Bonus: Not getting snagged by the fine print. Warranties may exclude your particular problem or contain a depreciation clause, meaning the product's value goes down as it ages—and hence, the payout shrinks.


24. Comparative shop online for everything from light fixtures to fridges. Then ask your local retailer to match the lowest price you find. Sears, for example, will match most online quotes for appliances and even reduce it by 10 percent of the difference between their advertised price and the better deal you found.
Cost: A few minutes surfing the Web, plus some printer ink.
Savings: $150 off a new French door–style fridge.
Bonus: Better customer service than you'll get online, and no worries about shipping charges or mail-order returns.


25. Install a ceiling fan. In the winter, run it at low speed in a clockwise direction to recirculate the warm air that rises to the ceiling. This will allow you to lower the thermostat a couple of degrees.
Cost: About $200 for the fan.
Savings: $100 per year off your heating bills.
Bonus: Reverse the fan direction in the summer and the airflow creates a windchill effect, making you feel cooler.


26. Get gently used tools, electronics, and furniture from Freecycle, an online community of folks who swap what they no longer need for stuff they can't do without.
Cost: Your fellow Freecyclers expect you to donate items, not just take freebies.
Savings: $75 or more for a new-to-you wireless router for your computer.
Bonus: Freeing up space in your garage and helping reduce the millions of tons of waste dumped into landfills each year.


27. Buy firewood in the spring when it’s cheap. Logs will dry out and be ready to burn by the time snowflakes fall.
Cost: Time stacking wood in a dry spot outdoors so that it can season in the open air.
Savings: Up to $100 per cord.
Bonus: In the off-season, you won’t run into any shortages of your favorite hardwood.
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