The holidays are exciting – but they can also be hard on your wallet. If you’re looking to save money while still enjoying all the excitement winter has to offer, then here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Watch Your Thermostat
Heating your house can be expensive, and it’s more important than ever to avoid cranking up the thermostat when the temperature drops. The Guardian reports that 2021 heating bills may go up as much as 54% compared to 2020.
Several factors contribute to the increase. Between the rising costs of heating oil, natural gas and propane, along with a growing market for fuel, demand outpaces supply at a higher rate than normal this year.
So, what can you do to keep your heating bill from going through the roof this winter? Here are a couple of suggestions.
As a child, your parents may have told you to, “Put on a sweater,” if you were feeling chilly inside the house during winter. While, in your younger years, that was likely a pet peeve, the tables turn when you become the adult footing the heating bill.
Use a Space Heater
Heating your whole house can be expensive and may be unnecessary if you’re only spending time in one or two rooms. Instead of turning up the thermostat, consider plugging in a space heater to warm up the room you’re currently in.
Space heaters are generally affordable and available from most big-box stores this time of year. Just be careful to leave it on only when you’re in the room and actively monitoring the heater, to minimize fire hazards.
2. Make Sure the Heat Can’t Get Out
According to the NRDC, caulking leaks in your home could save you as much as $166 on your annual heating bill. Additionally, you can use weather stripping to seal doors and windows that may otherwise let your warm air out.
Preventing air leaks are a simple, affordable way to save yourself some money without going to too much trouble. Both caulk and basic weather-stripping materials are available at most hardware stores for just a few dollars.
3. Take Care of Your Car
There’s no doubt about it – cold weather is tough on cars. Fortunately, taking a few precautions early in the year can help you save money and keep your vehicle running smoothly. Here are a few suggestions for basic car maintenance and winter wear prevention.
Change Your Oil
As a rule of thumb, most cars need an oil change every 3,000 to 7,500 miles. If it’s been a while since you’ve changed the oil in your car, it’s important to have that done before winter comes.
Cold temperatures can cause your oil to thicken, so if the area where you live is exceedingly cold, consider asking your mechanic about special types of oil made especially for cold temperatures.
Schedule a Tune-Up
Take your car to the mechanic in the fall for a tune-up. Basic maintenance like having your fluids changed and battery checked can make a big difference in how your car runs in the wintertime.
Low temperatures tend to exacerbate car problems, so a quick checkup gives you a chance to catch potential problems early.
Change Your Windshield Wiper Blades
Especially if you live in an area with regular snow, it’s important to make sure your wipers work properly. You can pick up affordable windshield wipers from almost any auto parts store, and often, team members will install them for you for free.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Cold weather can cause your tire pressure to decrease, so as the seasons begin to change, it may be wise to put some air in your tires. Additionally, consider having your tires rotated before the temperature drops to avoid unnecessary wear in the winter.
4. Recycle Holiday Decorations
If you love to deck the halls, consider buying on a budget this year. While you’re still building your décor stash, look for gently used holiday items at local thrift stores, garage sales, or estate sales.
Rather than buying a new holiday haul each season, save your decorations from year to year. You can always add a few new pieces here and there to grow the festivities while enjoying the décor you’ve collected over the seasons.
Winter expenses can add up quickly, but by planning ahead, you can celebrate this fun season without breaking the bank.
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Information contained in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this blog should be construed as legal or tax advice. An attorney or tax advisor should be consulted for advice on specific issues.