The penny pincher gift guide

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If you have a frugal family member who is always trying to save money on energy bills, here are some perfect last minute gift ideas.

Kill A Watt P3

You can’t cut back on your energy bills until you know which devices are the biggest electricity hogs. The P3 Kill A Watt electricity meter will give you the information you need to diagnose problem devices at home. The power meter sits between the wall socket and the device and gives you an instant read-out of how much power is being used. Let it run for a few hours and it will give you an averaged total, allowing you to do the math to find out exactly how much money it costs to power a device.

Infrared Thermometer

Most of the inefficiency in your home’s heating and cooling system comes from leaks around windows, doors, wall sockets and other openings. Tracking down these leaks can be a tricky task. The best way to tackle this job is with an infrared thermometer, like the Black + Decker Thermal Leak Detector, which can track subtle shifts in temperature. Simply point the device at windows, walls and doors to discover where those sneaky drafts are coming from.

Vampire Power Switch

Even when powered down, many gadgets continue to draw small amounts of power. This wasted energy, often called vampire power, adds up over time, with some estimates saying it can cost an average homeowner an extra 5 to 10 percent each year. To stop vampire power from putting a bite on your wallet, grab a smart power switch, like the Take Charge Smart Power Strip. These switches are designed to detect when the device is off and then cut the circuit to stop it from wasting energy.

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat

Programmable thermostats can save a lot of money, but they require a lot of tedious button pressing and don’t adapt at all when you change your habits. The Honeywell Lyric smart thermostat, however, constantly learns from your behavior. It can sense when you’re home, learn when you like the temperature a little higher and when you want it a little lower, and build a heating schedule that can save you money over time.

LED Bulbs

For the last decade, consumers have had two choices: incandescent bulbs, which are extremely energy inefficient, and CFL bulbs, which often cast a cold and unpleasant light. Fortunately, consumers now have a third option: LED bulbs, which combine the energy savings of CFLs and the warm hues of incandescents. This year, give the gift of energy efficiency with a LED bulb starter pack. Cree’s LED bulbs are some of the most affordable on the market. Best of all, these bulbs are rated to last up to 25,000 hours, so it’s a gift that will keep giving for a long time to come.

Quirky Aros

Window unit air conditioners are one of the biggest power hogs in any home. In the hot summer months, switching on the A/C is unavoidable, but by using the device much more wisely, you can save a small fortune on your electricity bill. The Quick Aros air conditioner is a smart home device that allows you to control the air conditioner with your phone. Forget to turn it off before you leave home? No problem. You can use the app to turn it off from anywhere with an internet connection. You can also set it up to track whether when you’re home, so it will adjust itself automatically. The app also allows you to set a monthly budget and offers you settings and suggestions to keep your power bill on track.