Winter weather can have a big impact on a household budget. These money saving strategies will help keep your toes toasty and expenses low.
1. Bundle up – Duh. This one’s a no-brainer. The trick to cold weather clothing is to think layering, thermals and wool. Also make sure you keep your feet and head covered, as a lot of body heat is lost from both of those areas. Consider keeping a stash of old sweatshirts, flannels, fleece pants and other warm clothing by the door so you can bundle up as soon as you step in the door.
2. Keep the thermostat and a reasonable temperature – You can either purchase a programmable thermostat or make a house rule that the thermostat never moves above an agreed upon temperature. Depending on your family and your location 60 to 65 degrees is probably a good temperature setting.
3. Check doors and windows – If you’re looking to invest some money into making your home more energy efficient the first thing you should do is install high quality, weatherproof doors and windows. If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative consider using caulk or weather-stripping to prevent drafts. If you don’t mind the unpleasant aesthetic you could even tap plastic sheeting over your windows to keep the cold air out.
4. Check insulation – Heat rises, so proper insulation in your ceiling or attic is very important. You can spray insulation yourself if you know what you’re doing or you can hire a professional. You can even purchase soy-based eco-friendly insulation that is safer than fiberglass and gentler on the environment.
5. Use space heaters – It is not energy or cost-efficient to heat an entire house with space heaters, however it is helpful to use space heaters in one or two rooms to avoid turning on the central heating unit. Of course, you should only use safe space heaters and you should be sure to turn them off when you leave the room.
6. Block off unused spaces – Close doors or even hang a blanket in a hall or archway to avoid heating areas of your home not being used.
7. Insulate outlets and light switches – Unscrew outlet and light switch covers and insulate with expanding foam or foam sheeting. This tip is only good for homes built over twenty years ago. Newer homes already have this built in.
8. Use a humidifier – Wet air is warmer than dry air. Like the space heater, a humidifier is not an efficient way to heat an entire house, but it could make a bedroom or den a little cozier.