In many areas of the U.S., winter can feel long and brutal. From the frigid cold of the Midwest to east coast blizzards to the overcast, rainy conditions in the Pacific Northwest, the winter months seem to drag on and on. Having a little extra spending cash this time of year can help lift the spirits and get you through the home stretch of winter. Use these five tips to save money and have more cash to spend on dinners out, skiing trips, weekend getaways, or other fun winter activities:
1. Address Air Leaks
Find air leaks in your home via doors, windows and venting by walking around your home with a lit candle or stick of incense on a windy day; wherever the flame or smoke moves, you'll likely find an air leak. Use caulking as well as weather stripping as a sealant, and you'll likely have lower heating bills and a warmer home.
2. Work with the Elements
Time the use of your curtains, shades, blinds and other window treatments by closing them at sunset to help with keeping cold air out. Open them wide on sunny days so that the sun can warm your home.
3. Optimize Your Heating System
Tune up your furnace each year, or have a heating repair service, such as Pioneer Comfort, do it for you. Installing a programmable thermostat can help to reduce wasted heat energy throughout the day; set it lower at night while you're sleeping as well as during the day while away at work or school.
4. Smart Lighting Usage
Change out your lightbulbs to LED models in place of inefficient incandescent bulbs. Remind your family to switch off lights as they leave a room, and consider making use of light control mechanisms such lighting timers and darkness and motion sensors.
5. Appliance and Electronics Considerations
Buy the most energy-efficient appliance makes and models possible to help save on kitchen energy usage. When the time comes to purchase a personal or gift electronic device, opt for refurbished whenever available; there are many options to purchase quality used electronics online. Remember also to unplug all appliances and electronics while you're away on vacation, as they can drain energy even when switched off.
Winters in the U.S. are long and grueling in some states. While cold weather and less sunshine can start to wear on us as the winter drags on, saving money brings a surplus of resources with which to do something fun this winter. Use these five tips to save cash and keep more funds in your budget for fun winter activities.