32. Install a shower timer in the kids' bathroom. The battery-operated device limits showers to 5, 8, or 11 minutes.
Cost: $115 at Shower Manager. (You can install it yourself.)
Savings: $200 or more per year.
Bonus: Speeding your kids' morning routines eases the struggle to ensure they (a) eat breakfast, (b) brush their teeth, and (c) make it to the bus on time.


33. Do your own energy audit. Pick up Black & Decker's new Thermal Leak Detector to find weak spots in your home's "insulation envelope." Fixes are often as simple as installing foam gaskets under switch plates and outlet covers ($3 for 10 gaskets at Home Energy Solutions) and adding new weatherstripping around your entry door ($3 for 17 feet of self-adhesive foam strip at Lowes).
Cost: $40 for the leak detector at Black and Decker (available in March).
Savings: $160 or more per year in energy costs.
Bonus: In addition to lower bills, you'll feel fewer drafts, which will make your house more comfortable year-round.


34. Schedule a furnace or boiler tune-up every year to boost its efficiency.
Cost: $100 to $150.
Savings: $200 per year in energy costs.
Bonus: Tune-ups remove scale, soot, and corrosion, postponing repairs and extending the life of your heating plant.


35. Get the contractor discount on home- improvement products. Many local dealers offer a 5, 10, or even 15 percent discount to tradespeople. So, for example, drop the name of your plumber when buying new bath fixtures. Don't have a pro? Explain that you're contracting the job, and ask if they'll extend the discount.
Cost: Occasionally you may have to do a bit of sweet talking.
Savings: Easily $250 for a new tub, sink, and toilet suite.
Bonus: Once you get in the seller's computer as having received the discount, you likely won't have to ask again.
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