I made the mistake of attending a very expensive college. I graduated with a degree that I don’t use and a huge debt. I’ve been out of school for nearly five years, and I’m still struggling to pay off my loans. Between insurance costs, cary payments and my mortgage, I can barely keep up. There is no extra money to take vacations, go out to eat or any sort of luxury. I always take advantage of sales, rebates and discounts. I walk to work, clip coupons and am very careful about the thermostat setting. When I purchased my heating and cooling system, I couldn’t afford a top-of-the-line model. The furnace and air conditioner aren’t Energy Star rated or overly efficient. Since heating and cooling add up to about fifty percent of the household energy bill, I take every precaution to trim running costs. Whenever there is a holiday, I ask my parents for practical gifts. For my birthday, they often buy me air filters for the furnace or air conditioner. A couple of years ago, they bought me a dehumidifier and hired an HVAC contractor to install it. The dehumidifier lets me set a higher thermostat setting during the summer and save some money. Two years ago, for Christmas, mom and dad signed me up for a maintenance program with a local HVAC company. A technician comes to my house twice per year to service the furnace and air conditioner. The regular upkeep lessens the chance of a malfunction and keeps the heating and cooling system running at peak efficiency. This Christmas, I am asking for a smart thermostat.