Different times of the year provide different reasons to spend money, be it holidays or weather-related. With respect to the latter, the winter months provide a unique set of conditions that can affect our expenses in different ways.
With that in mind – and the reality that we’re in for a prolonged few months of cold weather where I’m at – I thought I’d put together a list of winter savings tips, including 10 ways to save money during the winter months. Here goes, in no particular order and top of mind:
- Open curtains on sunny days. The sunlight coming in can actually make some rooms bit warmer than they would be with windows partially covered. Let the light in, and feel the warmth. More importantly, let the sun do the work – instead of turning up the temperature in your home. South-facing windows can really help.
- Check windows and doors for drafts. This is often of particular importance in homes that are older, but can apply to most homes in general. Sometimes, we can have our expensive heating efforts somewhat negated by small leaks that bring in cold air. Weatherstripping and caulking can help take care of these efforts. Just spend a few bucks at a home improvement store, and a little bit of time, and you can solve such problems quickly.
- Lower the heat when you’re not home. When not home during the day, why not lower the thermostat by a few degrees? An empty house doesn’t care whether it’s 70 degrees or 65 degrees! Little amounts that are saved each day can add up to something measurable over longer periods of time, which can be reflected in your monthly bill. This concept of lowering the heat can also be applied overnight, as temperatures can be lower while everyone sleeps.
- Lock Santa out of the Fireplace. OK, I like good ole Santa just as much as anybody else. However, on those other time aside from Christmas Night, keep the fireplace damper shut. This is a source of heat loss for many homes. Of course you want to be careful when doing this (as in, not when a fire is going), and not everyone has a fireplace anyway. But if you do, just keep in mind that the damper can be closed, since the jolly man in the red suit won’t be appearing every day. Talk to a professional for details.
- Consider an insulation jacket for your water heater. These don’t cost much, maybe $20 or so, but can save you a small percentage of your heating costs by preventing heat loss. Like many other things, these costs can add up over the year.
- Wear layers. A great example: wearing a sweatshirt! Instead of cranking up the heat even a few degrees, throw on something warmer – maybe a sweatshirt or a heavier pair of socks. Don’t ever go to the point of being uncomfortable though. Personally, I think it’s entirely silly to suffer just to save a few bucks. But for a couple of degrees, which seems more than manageable, layering can work well.
- Be prepared for snow. Depending on where you live, you might be dealing with snow in the winter. In some places – such as where I live (Midwest) – the snow can be significant. Make sure your snow blower is working, snow shovel is handy, and that you can be ready to go if needed. Otherwise, you could waste time and money trying to get someone to do it for you. Not that outsourcing is a bad option – it can be great for many people – but do it if you want to, not if you’re forced into it due to being unprepared.
- Pay attention to insurance. Winter brings on it’s own challenges in terms of weather, and some of this is related to snow. Though we can remove it, as discussed above, we might not be able to remove all risks associated with it. Snow insurance might be a good thing to consider, depending on where you live.
- Prepare your car for winter weather. This includes checking things such as antifreeze, tire tread, wiper blades, etc. Also, keep an emergency kit in your car. More than money costs, we’re thinking of safety in this case!
- Dress for the elements. I’ve seen enough people wear light jackets or no outerwear at all in temperatures as low as the 40’s. That’s a great way to get sick, one would think! Protect yourself against the weather, and stay healthy. Besides the obvious positives of good health, you might save yourself health care costs, and also be able to get to work and be productive!
My Questions for You
Since this was list of ten, I’m sure there are other tips that could be added. Do you have any to share?
What are your favorite ways to save money during the winter months?