Opening your blinds is a great way to avoid using artificial lighting. Make it a policy to close the blinds as soon as sunlight hits your windows. Your air conditioner will run less, and you'll have a cheaper bill at the end of the month.

Choose a plant that droops its leaves when it needs water, and plant it among your favorite flowers and shrubs. Cucumber or squash is a good choice. Their big leaves wilt easily, and you'll know it's time to water.

After a summer of high-traffic use, tightly packed mulch can keep water from reaching your plant's roots (despite its benefits in retaining moisture). Use a garden rake to gently work the mulch loose before you water.

Always use the bathroom exhaust fan if you have one. The extra humidity makes your air conditioner work harder which costs you money. Check to see that your fan exhausts outside, not just into the attic.

Look for the Energy Star label on products that use electricity. An affordable way to do this is with light bulbs. The Energy Star assures the most efficient use of your electric dollar when you flip your switches.