Winter is an expensive time of the year. As if all the spending around Christmas and New Years wasn’t enough, the season itself causes us to spend more money. Shorter days mean more hours during which the lights must be turned on, heating an apartment or house is costly, and we tend to spend more time indoors indulging in activities which come at a fee, like shopping, going to the cinema, or to the bowling alley. And though being happy, comfortable, and social is worth spending a little cash on, is it really worth all those extra dollars which could otherwise be spent on a vacation or put towards a dream of yours?
It’s time to trim the fat and shrink that utility bill this winter, and here’s how:
- Turn Down the Thermostat
This one is clearly a no-brainer though many hesitate to take action. Turning down the thermostat so you no longer comfortable in your t-shirt and actually need to wear a sweater is a small price to pay compared to the impact of that difference in temperature on your bill. If you have temperature sensitive people at home, like elderly family members or young children, consider either heating the specific area they are in with a heat lamp or space heater instead of raising the temperature in the entire house. Another solution is to program your thermostat to lower the temperature during the time when no one is home, and to come back up to a normal level around the time the residents return. Remember to lower the temperature as you leave the house for an extended period of time, like a weekend or a week-long holiday. It’s an easy and painless way to save a couple of bucks.
- Switch Your Lightbulbs
With the days being so much shorter and it seems like it’s always too dark to have the lights off, it’s time to switch out your lightbulb for some efficient LED ones. Though it might seem like a hefty investment as first, as they can be significantly more expensive than the traditional version, it all pays off in the end. Not only do they save you money on your electricity bill, they last up to eight times longer, meaning that you will need to buy fewer lightbulbs in the next few years.
- Cook at Home
When it’s snowing outside and the wind is howling, it’s tempting to just get take out or call for delivery instead of cooking at home. During the summer, it’s easy to just throw together a fresh salad or toss some chicken on the barbeque. In the winter months, we all crave comfort food which seems to have so many more steps and take a longer time to prepare. However, instead of going out to eat or getting takeout, try cooking at home. Not only will you save money on your food and dining budget, the side effect of cooking tends to be heat! While making your meal, you will be generating heat from the stove, oven, slow cooker, or even toaster, meaning that you can turn down the thermostat!
- Replace Windows and Doors
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What do you think the weak link in home insulation is? That’s right! Windows! Walls have multiple layers of materials, including dedicated insulation to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Windows, however, lack this insulation, and are often where the bulk of the heat loss occurs, along with doors. And because we can’t get rid of windows all together, engineers have been working on a solution to the heat loss problem we have been experiencing here. In recent years, consumers have been face with an unparalleled choice of doors and window models, interior and exterior doors, garage doors, etc. All of these are produced with heat capture in mind, so if your windows are old and are having issues with keeping in heat, are generating condensation, and more, it’s time to take the plunge and replace them. Like the lightbulbs, it’s a long-term investment that will be showing its worth sooner than you thought! Don’t forget to check with local authorities about rebates that you can claim for making this upgrade to your home. Who knows? You might be able to get up to a few thousand dollars back!
Winter doesn’t have to be a low time in our year, a period in which we drown in colds, bad weather, and bills. Lighten up the mood by saving on your winter utility bill and use these savings to battle the winter blues.