Cut your electric bill 10% without ever noticing it! PLUS…24 tools every homeowner needs.

Most people don’t know that TVs, DVD players, game consoles, computers and chargers for cell phones and other electronic devices can draw energy 24/7, even when idle.

The typical American home has 40 of these electronic devices, continuously drawing power. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab says they account for almost 10% of home energy use. Here are some easy ways to cut this cost.

Unplug After Charging. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says one of the best ways to cut costs is to simply unplug devices as soon as they’re charged. That’s because standard chargers keep feeding power to a device after it’s fully charged. They also draw small amounts of energy even when no device is attached!

Set on Energy Saving. Configure the energy settings on computers and monitors so they power down after you stop using them. The EPA says these setting could save up to $85 a year.

Check Standby Power Ratings. Choose home appliances, like microwaves and cordless phones, with the lowest standby-power ratings. These ratings measure how much energy a device uses when idle. You can look them up at

You can also buy energy saving chargers and power strips with automatic shut-offs. But be careful. They all cost money and may save only a few dollars a year, versus the charger you’re using that just needs to be unplugged when it’s finished.


You can save money on little jobs around the house by doing them yourself. Here are the tools to keep handy:

  • 16-ounce rip hammer. Heavy enough to drive big nails, light enough to control. Straight claw can pull nails or rip out a wall. Fiberglass or steel handle, should feel well balanced.
  • 25-foot tape measure with 1-inch blade. Extends without buckling, important when working alone.
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver. Gives you large and small flat-head bits and large and small Phillips-head bits.
  • 4-foot spirit level. Good size for putting up shelves.
  • Line level or torpedo level. Better for smaller jobs, like hanging pictures.
  • 6-inch adjustable crescent wrench for tight spaces.
  • 14-inch adjustable crescent wrench for more leverage.
  • Adjustable channel-lock pliers for nuts and shower heads.
  • Lineman’s pliers for cutting and twisting wire.
  • Needle-nose pliers for fine work.
  • Vise grips to also use as clamps.
  • Utility knife. To mark wood, score and cut drywall and other tasks. Blade retracts or folds into handle.
  • 14-volt lithium battery powered drill. Works as a power screwdriver too, if you get screwdriver bits along with the twist bits.
  • 1-inch putty knife for filling nail holes.
  • 6-inch drywall knife for patching wall dings.
  • 9-inch paint roller frame with disposable roller covers.
  • Paint tray.
  • 2 1/2-inch angled brush.
  • 5-in-1 painter’s tool (blade for scraping, putty remover, spreader, 1/2-round cutout to remove paint from rollers; sharp point to open cracks for patching).
  • Round-point garden shovel.
  • Flat-edge shovel.
  • Rake.
  • Hand-held spade.
  • Hedge clippers.

All of this costs around $200, which you could save on your first job.

Remember, we’re always here to answer any questions…. Have a great day!

PS.  With mortgage rates low and homes super affordable, many people are upsizing, downsizing or refinancing. Please call or email us now to discuss your situation.

Michelle Castle provides mortgage loans to all of North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. Call Michelle Castle at (903) 892-1998 if you are looking for a home loan in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma.

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