Save energy, save money

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PHOENIX -- People often think saving energy is difficult, but it doesn't have to be -- and the money you save makes the effort well worth it.

"Green Gal" Tishkin Donkersley, editor-in-chief of Green Living, says little changes can result in big savings.

1. Use a powerstrip if you have three or more things to plug in. You can use it to turn everything off at once.

2. Check to see if your appliances are vampires, sucking up electricity even when not in use. Cable box, DVD players and game consoles are among the biggest culprits. If there's a power light that's on, the device is using electricity.

3. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs -- CFLs or LEDs. They last longer and use less power.

4. Turn off the lights when you don't need them.

5. Plant deciduous tree on the side of your house that gets the most sun exposure. This natural shade will help keep your house cool and reduce the load on your air conditioner.

6. Change your air filter once a month. Clean filters allow the air to flow better, which means your air conditioner won't have to work as hard.

7. Check with your utility company about time-of -use plans.