Winter can be an expensive season with all the gift giving, and your bank account may look worse for wear during this time. Don't worry, there are plenty of smart strategies you can take to lower your Winter bills. Here are some money-saving tricks to keep in mind this cold season:
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. Save energy and money by programming the thermostat to control the heating and cooling when you're away from home or asleep. And these don't have to be expensive investments - there are programmable thermostats available for about $35.
- Insulate your home. Figure out if your home can improve on insulation by conducting an inspection. The US Department of Energy website has good tips on DIY home inspections. Save energy and money by installing what works best for your house, from installing windows and doors that fit better or plug and caulk cracks and holes. Be sure to do your research online first, before attempting to make these changes on your own.
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- Consider a space heater. Using a space heater instead of central heating can save you money. If you only need to heat up one or two rooms, you'll save more money and energy using a space heater than central heating.
- Shop smart during the holidays. Sure, the Christmas lights and decor may make the stores look more inviting, but try to hold off your purchases until after the holiday rush because the prices are inflated during this time. Items that will have major increase in prices include jewelry. If you do have to shop, make sure you're getting items that are discounted during this time.
- Save on your ski trips. Taking a trip to ski or snowboard is a common Winter activity, and there are always ways to save. Of course, if you buy your tickets and book your accommodations early, you'll save a bundle. But if you haven't, you can save by borrowing gear from friends, cooking your own meals if you rent a cabin with a kitchen, packing snacks and lunches for the day, and spending some time doing alternative activities so you don't have to always splash money on expensive lift tickets.
- Prepare your Christmas meal from scratch. Prepared foods are generally marked up by 40 percent, according to consumer expert, Andrea Woroch. Take the time to plan your Christmas menu and making your food from scratch. Don't shy away from asking for help from family and friends!