Keep Your Cool

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Keep Your Cool

We're not suggesting that you take on scarves as a permanent indoor accessory, but sweaters and hot beverages are lovely, cozy parts of the cooler months -- and cost less than running the heat.

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If you're fond of chilly temperatures in the summer and toasty temperatures in the winter, regulating your home environment accordingly will mean you'll pay the price each time your energy bill is due. By making a slight adjustment of the thermostat, however, you can shave 1 percent off your monthly bill for each degree that you reduce your home's temperature in the winter or increase it the summer -- so long as you make the change for eight hours straight. The U.S. Department of Energy says that the cost-savings sweet spot occurs when you cool your home to only 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celcius) or warm it to only 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celcius). If your home isn't already equipped with a programmable thermostat, you can install one for about $50 [source: Energy Savers].

You may need to don a sweater in the winter, but you could put the money you save on energy costs toward a tropical getaway. Which is sure to make the cooler (or warmer, for that matter) interior temperatures easier to accept.

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