Using less energy isn’t just good for the earth — it’s good for your wallet. By making a few adjustments in the way you use your home, you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Try these 5 easy ways to lower home energy costs for a month and see what difference it makes in your utility bill. The total may surprise you.

1 Save on heating and cooling

If you have a programmable thermostat, use it. Set your heat or air conditioning a few degrees cooler (or warmer) than usual, and see if you still feel comfortable. Each degree of change means less work for a home’s heating and cooling system and lower utility bills as well.

2 Turn electronics off

Turn items off when you are finished using them. From turning out lights when you leave a room to switching off the TV and DVD player when you are done watching a movie, every time you hit the “off” button, you save a few cents.

3 Stop drafts

Since keeping your home at an optimal temperature is one of the biggest energy costs — and energy wasters you’ll face — simply eliminating drafts will cut your energy consumption. Buy or make draft blockers for under doors, make sure windows are caulked, and check for drafts on a cold winter day. If you feel cold air coming in, you’ve identified a problem area.

4 Lower laundry costs

Slash your laundry costs and your energy use by washing most clothing in cool water instead of hot. Your clothing will be just as clean, but you won’t be paying to heat up an entire washer load of water for each load. For even greater savings, air dry your clothing on a line if possible.

5Cook efficiently

Prepare foods that can be cooked in the oven at the same temperature if possible so that you can use the oven to cook more than one item at a time. Consider microwaving or using a toaster item for small items before firing up a big appliance for a little job – you’ll use a lot less energy to cook your meal.

Little changes are not expensive, and do add up. Making a few simple adjustments to the way you live can greatly reduce your home energy costs and your carbon footprint.