New sheets usually have the thread count listed on the packaging. There's a misguided notion that more is better, says Barbara Flanagan, author of "Flanagan's Smart Home: 98 Essentials for Starting Out, Starting Over, Scaling back."
Sheets with a lower thread count are better for several reasons, Flanagan says. They can be washed and dried faster, which saves money on laundering, as they take up less space and dry quicker.
In addition to the money saved, lighter sheets are better for your skin, she says.
"You want your body to breathe through the sheets," Flanagan says, "and you want to get your laundry done in as few loads as possible, so the choice of sheets is really important."
Flanagan also recommends using waffle-weave towels over the traditional large fluffy towels that Americans tend to buy. Waffle weave towels are also cheaper to wash -- and can even be air-dried, she says.
"So that really saves a lot of money in the dryer," Flanagan says. "Your dryer is one of the most expensive appliances (to run) in the house."