I bought an electric tap with a power switch (think "power strip with only one plug-in") to put on the heat lamp in the basement, which keeps the pipes from freezing in the winter. I could just unplug the thing every morning and plug it back in every evening, but that is a pain, and I know myself well enough to know that if it's a pain, I'll just turn the damn thing on and leave it on all winter. And I could crawl back into the grungy, confined corner of the basement to use the switch that's actually on the heatlamp, but that would be an even bigger pain. With this new system, all I have to do is reach in the door and flip the switch.
If I figure correctly, it should save me about 2 kwh a day, which is about 20 cents. That means it will pay for itself in a little more than 2 weeks. After that, it's gravy.
What I really need for that little area is an extension cord with a thermostat on it, but I don't know if such a thing exists. If it does, it would be too expensive.
I also dug all my tighty-whiteys out of storage. Gives me enough underwear that I only have to wash underwear once a month, in theory. Hey, I made it just fine wearing tighty-whiteys for the 25 years before boxer briefs came along, right? What's a little discomfort when it gives me the chance to starve the beast a little more by doing underwear laundry half as often? I don't know yet how it's going to work in the summer when I almost always wear sandals and hence no socks to wash along with my drawers.
On the theory that it's better to make major purchases before the end of the year so they'll count toward George Bush's economy instead of Barry O's, I finally broke down and bought a cheap DVD player. My idea was that I could check out DVD's from the library for free, but the one that looked most promising turned out to be horrible when I got home. So I bought four DVD's (again, George's economy, not Barry O's), three of which were $6 apiece at the Dollar General. Those three were V for Vendetta, Talladega Nights, and Easy Rider. The other was 300, which was 13 bucks at Wal-Mart. I may have to watch those four movies over and over again for the next four years. Maybe I'll find Braveheart or The Last Castle or something else Ideologically Correct at a yard sale somewhere.
(BTW, that "Buy it now, before Obama can benefit from the taxes" idea also works for small nonperishable items. I'm stocking up on toilet paper, shampoo, and cans of soup, for instance.)