By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ok, so you’ve given up expensive lattes in exchange for home brewed coffee. You’re packing lunch instead of buying and maybe you’re doing your manicures at home. Yet you still can’t keep your money from disappearing. Well, there’s hope. 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan has seven ways to save.

One week we’re dealing with a winter storm! The next, it feels like a spring thaw!

The ups and downs of the temperature has many running back and forth to the thermostat.

Lowering the temperature five to ten degrees when you’re not at home with a programmable thermostat can save you $200 a year.

“Then it can start to gradually increase that temperature an hour or two before you’ll come home at night,” said Cathy Engel with PECO.

Just because something isn’t turned on, doesn’t mean it’s not costing you money.

From your cable box to your microwave, even your iPod docking station. If it’s plugged in, it’s using power. Take your smart phone for example, even if you unplug the charger, power is still running through the cord. You have to remove it at the outlet.

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For multiple items use a power strip.

“Very quick to just turn the power strip off. That will prevent them from having what’s called vampire draw,” said Engel.

Your water heater can suck up a lot of energy too.

If you’re going on vacation or will be out of your house for a few days remember to lower the setting. There is no reason to heat your water if no one is going to be home.

And don’t use a lot of hot water in your washer. Using cold instead can save the average household $60 a year.

Older refrigerators cost an extra $150 a year to operate but even new ones can waste money.

“Empty refrigerators cost more to stay cool,” said Engel.

If you have large gaps in your refrigerator fill them up with water jugs and place them in there. Don’t forget the crispers, smaller bottles of water will do the trick there.

Outside your home, if you think that the more expensive, higher octane is better for your car, think again.

“They’re really not giving their car a treat. In fact it can actually be harming their car. If your car calls for 87 octane, you should be using regular fuel. Whatever octane rating that manufacturer calls for,” said John Ryder with AAA Mid Atlantic.

Otherwise, “It is a total waste of money,” said Ryder.

And don’t forget the tires.

“By not having your tires filled up properly you’re going to be wasting money on the maintenance aspect . You’re going to be replacing them early, needlessly,” said Ryder.

AAA also says the right tire pressure could also save you big bucks when your dodging those potholes that are appearing. With an under-inflated tire, you risk bending a wheel or damaging a steering or suspension component when you hit the pot hole. With an over-inflated tire, you might damage the tire itself.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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