I recently made a conscious effort to trim down my household expenses. I became much more careful about planning my grocery list and made sure to take advantage of coupons and deals. I shut off the lights every time I left a room and shortened the duration of my showers. I eliminated my occasional shopping sprees online and started packing my lunch instead of going out. While these changes helped, the savings didn’t add up to much. When I reviewed my household budget, I realized that the bulk of my paycheck was spent on the heating bill. Since the winter weather in this part of the country is typically below freezing, and lasts for around six months, I couldn’t go without heat. I needed to find ways to reduce the workload of the furnace and conserve energy. After reading up on energy saving tips online, I first tried some do-it-yourself measures. I added caulk around the windows of the house, weatherstripped the doors, and became more diligent about replacing the air filter. I also lowered the thermostat setting by three degrees. I didn’t notice a big difference in comfort, but there was definitely an impact on my utility bill. This inspired me to start turning the furnace way down before I left for work in the morning. By not maintaining an empty house to the ideal temperature all day long, I saved quite a bit of money. Unfortunately, this meant that I returned home to a freezing cold house. I finally invested in a programmable thermostat and managed to install it myself. The thermostat was not all that costly but has made my energy conservation efforts so much easier.