As the saying goes – Winter is coming, and so are the related bills. Winter is an expensive time of year. Which is why you need to actively find ways to save money and be prepared.
Some of these tasks are easy to do, low cost and have an immediate pay off. While a few require a small investment before the benefit kicks in. Others are more preventative in nature so you can avoid a surprise kick to the ol’ Emergency Fund.
Of course it is always best to prepare for upcoming expenses. So we suggest planning for annual winterization costs before the season starts. But you can also add it to your monthly budget under whatever category you use for home upkeep.
Even if Jack Frost has already settled in for the year. That’s OK. You can still benefit from most of these money saving strategies.
While you’re at it, go ahead and set a goal to plan ahead next year!
Ways to Save Money this Winter
- Save on Energy Bills
- Window Insulation Kits
- Draft Stoppers and Door Sweeps
- Adjust Thermostat Settings
- Proper Upkeep of Heating Units
- Energy Saving Curtains
- Insulate Exposed Outdoor Pipes and Faucets
- Save on Winter Apparel
- Repair Winter Apparel
- Shop Second-hand for Winter Apparel
- Buy Winter Apparel during Holiday Sales
- Save on Auto Maintenance
- Check Tires
- Check Battery Charge
- Protect from Salt
Save Money on Energy Bills this Winter
One of the best opportunities to save money during the winter is your heat bill. Energy prices are rising and so is the cost of heating your home. But many people are unaware that there are a lot of ways you can reduce those costs.
Replace insulation stripping on doors and windows
This is a good idea at any time of year, but especially in winter. By replacing the weather stripping and insulation on windows and doors you can reduce both cold drafts and the loss of warm air.
The simplest method is using foam tape that comes in different widths and lengths to suit your needs. Weather stripping can be found at your local hardware store.
Add insulation to windows and doors
If you live in an old home or have single pane windows, Another way to save money on heating is to use a Window Insulation Shrink kit. These help significantly reduce drafts. By putting these up on windows and doors that will stay closed during the winter, you prevent cold air from coming into your home. That means your heat won’t have to work as hard to keep you warm
These kits come in different sizes so make sure you measure the windows you want to insulate before purchasing your kits.
Make or Buy Draft Stoppers or Install a Door Sweep
Noticing a trend? Keep the warm air in and the cold air out!
This can either be a fun craft or a simple purchase from your local hardware store. If you’re a bit crafty and like to DIY things, a draft stopper is cheap and easy to make. It is also a great solution if you are renting your home. While a Door Sweep is a more long lasting, permanent solution that is made far easier with a few power tools.
Adjust Thermostat Settings
Your thermostat settings should be adjusted regularly, at least with every season. During the winter the suggested temperature for your home is 68° Before you disagree, know this. You can save up to 10% on your heating bill by adjusting your thermostat just 7-10° degrees for 8-hours a day. Perfect if you’re gone all day for work or school.
Proper Upkeep of Heating Units
Make sure to turn the heat off before doing this one!
Without proper upkeep and cleaning, your heaters are less efficient and have to work harder to heat the same size space. This is because dust, grime and build up constrict the amount of heat that is able to make its way into your home. Requiring more energy to bring your home to a comfortable temperature. Proper cleaning however, improves air flow and allows heat to fill the space, drawing less demand on your energy consumption.
Make sure you are cleaning dust and grime off of radiators, dusting air vents, and clearing out ducts.
Energy Saving Curtains
Energy efficient curtains are yet another way to cut down on cold drafts making your home feel frigid. According to the U.S. Department of Energy “About 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows.” That is a lot of energy! And while a standard curtain can help reduce heat costs up to 10% – a thicker energy saving curtain may help even more.
BONUS! Curtains with light colored backings can also reduce heat gains in the summer. Meaning this investment will not only help you save money in winter, but year round!
For more home energy saving ideas – consider conducting a DIY Home Energy Audit
Winterizing outdoors is all about preparedness and avoiding disaster. By investing time and a bit of money you can protect yourself from costly damages that can set you back financially.
Protect Exposed Pipes
Shut off, drain and wrap exposed outside pipes to protect them from freezing and bursting! You can find proper pipe insulation at a hardware store. But, if you can find them this time of year, you can also use a simple pool noodle! Whatever is on hand, or saves you more money.
Outdoor hose spigots attached to the exterior of your home need to be insulated and the solution is simple. Disconnect and drain garden hoses before installing a faucet protector. When installed and stored properly when not in use, these can last a few seasons. While you’re at it, don’t forget to store your hoses properly over winter to extend the life and use of them as well.
Save Money on Winter Apparel
An absolute necessity, replacing proper winter attire is a large expense during the colder months. In general winter clothing and footwear is more expensive than summer apparel, we all know that. Which is why it makes so much sense to plan ahead. That in mind, it is a good idea to take inventory of your winter clothing before the cold weather truly arrives.
Find your gear looking worse for wear? Here are a few ways you can save money on these critical winter items.
Repair before you Replace
A good winter jacket can cost $500+, but a repair can cost as little as $10. If items need small repairs you can easily do a lot yourself. A simple patch, or sewing on a button is simple.
Bigger jobs can be sent out to a local seamstress or cobbler for winter footwear. You may also have the option of sending it to the original manufacturer if they have a repairs department. This is especially common with outdoor apparel brands.
Want to take it a step further? Inventory your items in the Spring before putting them into storage. Send in items that need to be repaired and make a note of the items you need to replace next season. Then add the planned expense to your annual budget so you won’t be caught by surprise.
You would be amazed at the fantastic items you can find in local second-hand shops. You can also find a large selection online with websites like Thread-Up or eBay! Many items are slightly used and in excellent condition. But it is not uncommon to find a good deal on new items still with their tags.
Save during Holiday Sales
A great way to save money on winter apparel is to shop holiday sales. Winter coats and boots are big ticket items, and Black-Friday deals are a great opportunity to save big.
Before sales start, make a list of your winter needs and set your budget. Stick to your plan to spend mindfully to ensure you save money. This is key if you want to save money, avoid overspending and not incur debt.
Buying necessities during these promotions is second only to buying the items when they are out of season. Believe it or not, many retailers put all of their winter items on sale starting in January because they are already planning for spring! Buying winter clothing and footwear at these times can be a great money saving strategy. However, this approach may not work for you if you wear a popular size.
Save on Auto Maintenance
Check your Tires
At the beginning of winter check your tread and make sure your tires are in good condition. If you have winter tires, have them installed. If you need new tires, check out deals available at Costco or TireRack!
During the winter you also need to check tire pressure regularly. Changes in temperature from driving and as the day warms up, can impact your tire pressure which affects your traction and fuel efficiency. Making it not only important for your wallet, but for your safety.
Check battery charge
Winter can be tough on car batteries. As temperatures cool, battery power drops. But don’t worry this might not cost you much at all!
Take your car to a local AutoZone, or similar. Once there, request that they check the charge of your car battery. They will be able to tell you if the battery just needs to be recharged, or if it needs to be replaced and how soon. In either case they can either charge your existing battery for a very small fee, or help you find the appropriate replacement.
This might sound like a potential large expense, but it is far less of an inconvenience than road side assistance, and definitely less expensive than needing to get a tow because your engine can not start.
Avoid Winter Damage
If you live where there is a heavy winter and lots of salt use – you need to protect your car from rust.
Hit the local car wash and clean the salt off once the roads clear, if it only snows a few times a year. In more severe winter climates where it snows a lot, you should consider investing in a protective seal put on the undercarriage of your car.
This won’t save you money now but it will keep your vehicle in good condition and reduce costly repairs later.
When it comes to cars, maintenance is always cheaper than the true cost of neglect.
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There is no question that winter can be an expensive time of year. But with the right planning you can reduce costs and save big! Seasonal and periodic expenses like the ones we see every winter, are exactly why we’re big fans of using an annual budget.
What do you do to save money on winter expenses?