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10 ways to save in 2006
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Full freezer uses less power
Keeping your freezer full will help it run more efficiently. If you have empty areas, place plastic bottles filled with water. The bottles work double-duty. You'll be more prepared for electrical outages because the ice will keep things frozen longer and you'll have a safe emergency-water supply.

Dolores Dong
-- Charleston, S.C.

Unblock drains
Pouring a half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar, will open a clogged drain by dissolving the gunk on contact. This will save money spent on expensive clog removers and is environmentally friendly as well.

Stephanie Romac
-- St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Cut grass at cut-rate prices
Lawn mower repair shops often have used, reconditioned mowers for sale and the prices are usually competitive with even the best discount store chains. The shops also stand behind what they sell, should anything go wrong. I recently purchased a shiny, like-new self-propelled mower, in tiptop condition, with all the latest features for less than a new, barebones model would cost at a discount store. And, discount chains usually cannot service what they sell as they lack repair facilities.

Lynn Bulmahn
-- Orange City, Fla.

Scratch and dent
When shopping for a major household appliance (washer, dryer, oven, refrigerator, etc.), browse the Yellow Pages for companies that sell "scratch and dents." These companies buy slightly tarnished appliances from major retailers at rock bottom prices and pass the savings on to you. The appliances might have a blemish that is not visible to the naked eye. Savings can be more than 50 percent off the manufacturer's suggested retail price.

Ryan O'Connor
-- Ellicott City, Md.

It pays to shut down!
Contact your energy provider to see if they have any energy savings programs that you can participate in. Florida Power & Light has an "On Call" program that enables them to occasionally cycle off our A/C system for brief periods of time when necessary. In return, we receive a credit on our monthly electric bill, even if they never cycle off our equipment. There are no out-of-pocket costs to participate in this program. And because your A/C already cycles on and off during normal operation, the main difference you'll notice from On Call is getting paid for it!

Dana Clore
-- Tamarac, Fla.'s corrections policy -- Posted: Jan.16, 2006
More stories by Leslie Hunt
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17 sneaky, fairly painless ways to save
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