We all know we have to do our part to conserve resources and keep ourselves and our planet healthy. But sometimes it seems like a bit much—do we really have to downsize to a tiny cabin in the woods without electricity, heat, air conditioning, or running water in order to live greener? Must we give up our cars, and bike everywhere within a 20-mile radius? The short answer is no. Although it may sometimes feel as if we’re being asked to radically alter our living situations, the truth is that just a few small changes can add up to big results. Take these tips from former vice president Al Gore, who has helped make environmentalism an important cause:

  • Ditch your old bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs cost only a few dollars, but they save tons of energy and can help slow global warming. According to Gore, if every American household switched out five regular bulbs for fluorescent bulbs, it would be like removing a million cars from our highway system for an entire year.

  • Snuggle under blankets. Instead of turning on your hot-water heater, cozy up under an electric blanket. It’s cheap, and it can cut your carbon dioxide emissions by more than four percent.

  • Buy a programmable thermostat. Why heat your house when you’re not in it? With a programmable thermostat, you can set your temperature to raise or lower automatically. Set it to dip to 60 degrees when you leave for work, and program it to rise to 66 or 67 degrees an hour before you get home. You can also program the thermostat to lower during the night, kicking on again at just about the time you reach for your morning coffee. This is a great thing to have while you’re on vacation, too.

  • Buy your own bags. Purchase a few canvas or cloth bags, and bring them to the supermarket every time you shop. Not only will you be conserving paper or plastic, most stores reimburse you a few cents for each bag you bring.

  • Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. When your hairdryer is plugged into the wall, it uses energy—even if it’s not turned on. So be sure to unplug appliances after every use—not only will you be good to the earth; you’ll see the difference on your electric bill, too.