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Money Matters - The Other New Year: Make Home More Energy Efficient

BOSTON (CBS) -  It's Labor Day and for many of us this particular holiday feels more like the beginning of a new year than January first.


As kids, Labor Day ended the summer and started the new school year and I think that carries over to adulthood. Then we have kids of our own and the tradition continues.


So over the weekend I began my fall chore list for house projects and then I thought how about the personal things I have put off over the summer. So my list grew.


I realized what I was creating were New Year's resolutions. First on my list was continuing to work on energy efficiency. We have slowly replaced all of our light bulbs with florescent except for the pantry because I want instant light when I walk in. And Congress left a few tax incentives for those of you who want to winterize your home.


Saving money on fuel is going to be a priority as we head into winter. If you can lock in a low price for oil go for it. Last winter was cold and snowy. We made a lot of snow girls last winter. I have a granddaughter! And we went sledding on our hill.


You can do some things now to save money on energy this winter. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy's website on how to begin. (Yes we have a department of energy!)


You need a plan and the first thing you need to look at is how much are you spending. So what can you do to use less energy? I don't want you to be cold this winter but I don't want you to be broke either.


Is your attic insulated? Simply laying insulation up there can reduce your heat loss. How about your windows? Are they tight? Can you caulk them yourself? Do you need storm windows or new windows? Weather stripping? Check the doors. Do you need a storm door? Most of our energy loss is through our attics, windows and doors.


But even little things make a difference. A window AC that you leave installed all year should be covered and some weather stripping used. You might want to consider taking it out for the winter and re-installing it come next May.


Get an automatic thermostat that turns the heat up and down for you. Down at night and when you are gone during the day and up right before you wake up in the morning or get home to make it warm and toasty.


Check what you can do this fall to save on energy costs this winter.

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