Pay Less for Utilities

Reducing energy and water usage are just a few of our ideas on how to Save $50 a Day.

1. Install a Smart Thermostat: Why heat or cool your home when you don't need to? With a programmable thermostat, you can put your temperature preferences on autopilot. Cost: $70.

Annual Savings: $180

2. Buy Better Bulbs: At $7 a pop, compact fluorescent light bulbs aren't cheap. But those that are Energy StarÐrated use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to ten times longer.

Annual Savings: $166(if 20 bulbs are replaced)

3. Go Low-Flow: Replacing even one pre-1994 shower head and one faucet with conserving counter-parts can make a big difference in water usage. For a thrifty shower head with oomph, try Delta's Water-Amplifying Shower Head (shown above; $13 at Home Depot). It uses a low 1.6 gallons per minute. For an even cheaper fix, outfit your faucets with screw-on aerators (50 cents to $3 apiece).

Annual Savings: $47

4. Plug a Leaky Toilet: A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water daily, or 73,000 gallons per year. Put a drop of food coloring into the toilet tank; if it shows up in the bowl, you've got a leak.

Annual Savings: $146

5. Ditch the Old Fridge: The biggest energy eater in your kitchen is the refrigerator. A new Energy StarÐrated model will consume 40% less electricity than a model made eight years ago. Consider Frigidaire's 18.2-cubic-foot model (FRT18HP7JW; $750 at Sears).

Annual Savings: $100

6. Seal the Gaps: No need to heat and cool the great outdoors: Caulk and weatherstrip your doors and windows, and don't forget to close the flue damper when your fireplace is not in use.

Annual Savings: $96

7. Launder for Less: Cut your water and energy use by more than 40% with an Energy StarÐqualified clothes washer, either a top or front loader. Our pick: the Kenmore HE5t series of front-loading washers ($1,600) and the Bosch Nexxt 800 series ($1,450).

Annual Savings: $50

8. Kill a Watt-Waster: Your home electronics are sucking electricity even when they're turned off. Unplug them or use a power strip to turn off multiple devices simultaneously (such as the Smart Strip Power Strip, $40, at www.smarthomeusa.com). Use a power meter to figure out which devices are most wasteful.

Annual Savings: $56

9. Flush FrugallyReplace a toilet made between 1980 and 1994 with one certified by the Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program that uses less than 1.3 gallons of water per flush. For economy, check out the Glacier Bay Elongated HET ($128 at Home Depot). For contemporary style, the dual-flush Toto Aquia (shown at left; $435) lets you choose a lower or higher water flow as needed.

Annual Savings: $90

10. Dial Down Your Water Heater: If you have an electric water heater, turn the temperature gauge down to 120 degrees. (Make sure your dishwasher has a heater that boosts the temperature back to 140 degrees to ensure proper cleaning.) If the water heater is warm to the touch, wrap it in an insulating jacket (such as a Thermwell blanket; $20 at Amazon.com).

Annual Savings: $43

11. Bundle Up for Savings: Competition is a wonderful thing. And phone, wireless, cable and satellite-TV companies are competing like mad to get your business by bundling services at discount prices. Right now, the standard-issue package is $99 for TV, telephone and broadband Internet service. All those services can easily total more than $150 a month if billed separately, so a monthly savings of $20 is a minimum if you go the bundling route.

One caveat: That $99 deal usually lasts for only one year. Solution: If your contract price rises, you can either switch providers for a lower rate or threaten to switch providers to bargain your rate back down.

Annual Savings: $240


Slideshow: Top Savings Tips for 2009Save $50 a DayPay Less for Banking & LoansPay Less for Health and Insurance CostsPay Less for UtilitiesPay Less for FoodPay Less for TransportationPay Less for Investing CostsPay Less for LeisurePay Less for Must-Have TrendsPLUS: How These Super Savers Do It

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