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Six Simple Steps to Cut Utility Bills $1G a Year

Winter's coming and with it -- high utility bills.

But there are easy ways to put the freeze on all that cold cash you're losing each year around the house without even realizing it.

On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," ShopSmart magazine Editor in Chief Lisa Lee Freeman suggested simple ways to but your utilities tab by almost $1,000 a year:

Thermostat Changes

Yearly savings: $200

If you adjust it manually, that is not so great. With programmable types, you could forget to change it as long as you programmed it! If you don't have a programmable thermostat, simply lower the overall temperature to cut 2 percent off of your bill.

TV Mode

Yearly Savings: $30 to $60

When you buy your TV, it's always in "retail mode." But switching it to "home mode" saves money. The retail mode is the high setting. It was sitting in a room with fluorescent lights, so that setting makes it look really clear. At home, you don't need that setting, because lighting is dimmer. More TVs are meeting higher guidelines. New TVs are a lot more energy-efficient than old ones. And new ones have motions sensors, so if you walk away, they will know.

Turning Off Devices

Yearly savings $125

Leaving electronic devices in standby isn't a good idea. Turn them off! Unplug them if need be.

Laundry in Cold Water

Yearly savings $60

Doing laundry in cold water helps save money. How? Does it still get the job done? A lot of people don't think you can wash everything in cold water. You can. There is no need to wash everything in hot water. Cold is just as good - and saves on the cost of electricity to heat the water.

Stop Pre-rinsing Dishes

Yearly Savings $75

With dishwashers these days, you don't need to pre-rinse. Not only are you using water, but most people like to use hot water for this. Just wipe off the crud and put the dishes in the dishwater!

Fix Leaky Ducts

Yearly savings $400

Bring in a professional to insulate all ducts in your home. That makes a huge difference. You should also check out the windows. Another tip: Open up curtains. That allows outside heat from the sun's rays in.

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