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Money Fix: Purchases that pay off immediately

Energy-efficient bulbs use 25-80 percent less energy than

Energy-efficient bulbs use 25-80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, according to Energy.gov's website. Less energy means a lower monthly bill. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/sergeyryzhov

Sometimes you buy something that gives you instant gratification. That feels good, but what’s better is when you buy something that immediately saves you money. There’s nothing better than a smile and money in your pocket.

Here are a few things that can do just that.

Coffee maker

There’s no reason to pump more money into the coffers of Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.  You might miss the ritual of your morning pit stop, but create another, brewing your own.  If your Monday-Friday a.m. includes a cup of joe on the run, you could easily save $100 a month. “A coffee maker pays for itself,” says Rocco Carriero, a private wealth adviser and CEO of Rocco A. Carriero Wealth Partners in Southampton.

Motion-sensor light switches

“Telling my kids to turn off the lights when they left the room proved to be an uphill battle, so I swapped the light switches in most rooms of my house with motion-activated ones. Between swapping incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient ones in my home and the new switches, my electric bill has dropped quite a bit,” says Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution attorney with the Tayne Law Group in Melville.

Water filter

Forget paying $5 for a 24-pack of bottled water. Buy a water filter and a reusable bottle instead. You'll still have the convenience of toting around your H2O, plus, it's good for the environment.

Food savers

Stop wasting money on foods that go bad before you have a chance to eat them. There are a number of products that will help keep your produce fresher, longer. Says Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax & Consulting in Rockville Centre, “Vacuum zipper bags that allow for an airtight seal will keep your food fresh for longer. Fruits and vegetables emit ethylene gas that causes them to ripen faster, but you can actually buy a ‘gas catcher’ to absorb the gas and add days to the life of your produce. You can even buy an avocado pod, to keep the second half of your avocado from going bad after you slice it open.”

Energy Star washing machine

Who doesn't do laundry? “Buying an Energy Star certified washing machine will surely benefit your pockets a lot. Make sure to look into its features and choose according to your needs. That way you save even more money,” says Pratibha Vuppuluri,  blogger at SheStartedIt.co, an online resource for working mothers.

Weatherstripping

If you have a draft in your house, it's like money going out the door. An inexpensive and quick way to fix this is with weatherstripping, foam material you put around the edges where your windows and doors close. This will make a better seal and keep the air you spent money to heat or cool inside the house where you want it.

Having your utilities working optimally is no small matter. “The average American household spends $4,049 a year on utilities,” says Charles Thomas, founder of Intrepid Eagle Finance in Clover, South Carolina.

Smart thermostats

Keep energy costs down further with a smart thermostat. Before you run to the store to buy one, check with your energy company as they may sell them -- and for about a third cheaper than a retailer. Further cut costs with insulated curtains and insulated windows.

LED light bulbs

Energy-efficient bulbs use 25% to 80%  less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, according to Energy.gov’s website. Less energy means a lower monthly bill.

Get a carry-on suitcase

In this era of no-frills flying, having more than a carry-on can be costly, especially if you travel a lot. “One of the best investments you can make is buying a carry-on suitcase that meets airline guidelines. Fees usually start around $30 for the first bag, so buying smaller luggage in the first place is instantly cheaper,” says Michael Bonebright, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com.

Rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be used repeatedly, meaning you save money each time you recharge. To extend the battery’s life (not even rechargeable batteries last forever), be sure the battery is dead before recharging.

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