Do full loads of wash in your kitchen and laundry. It will improve the life of your machine as well as save a bundle of moolah every month in electricity/gas/water bills.
Ready to get rid of (and by that I mean donate it to a local charity or at least recycle it) that old clunker? Purchase an Energy-Star labeled washing machine. San Lorenzo Valley District (near Santa Cruz, CA) gives up to $100 credit.
Tips from San Lorenzo Valley Water District:
More info at http://www.slvwd.com or 831.338.2153