Tips to Save Money During Winter

 

Tips to Save Money During WinterGoodbye Christmas!!! (Thank God!) Hello Snowpocalypse 2012!!!

As you may have heard, we here in the Midwest took a fierce body punch from one of the first major winter storms of the season. We were covered with about about 10 inches of  snow a few days ago. For those of you in the South, that sounds like Armageddon. For those of you in Minnesota, that sounds like a Tuesday.

 

The cold is finally here, which means some increasing costs for staying alive. What in the world are we going to do about it? You already know about our cheap-ass Santa tactics, but here are some great tips to save money during winter.

 

Tips to Save Money #1: Turn the Heat Down

OK, you ninny. You know it is cold outside. Big deal. Toughen up. Your natural tendency may be to turn the thermostat up to 89 degrees – that is Farenheit for you Canadians out there. However, doing so is going to cost you an arm, leg, and possibly your first child just to heat your home for the winter.

One of the best tips to save money when it is cold out is to buy yourself a warm blanket. For the cost of about $20, you can save thousands of dollars over the course of the winter. It is estimated that you can save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree that you turn your heat down. So, if you turn your heat down from 75 to 65 while you are at work and when you are sleeping, you will save an estimated 14% on your heating bills for the winter. So, put on some layers, cuddle up to your honey bun, and experience a savings as sweet as a cup of hot chocolate!

 

Tips to Save Money #2: Buy a Programmable Thermostat

Are you still using one of those old-fashioned, turn the dial or slide the switch type thermostats? Well, here is a great tip to save money for you: join the 21st century and buy a digital thermostat. Better yet, buy a programmable thermostat! That way, you’re forgetful ass doesn’t even have to remember to turn the heat down when you leave.

Digital thermostats are way more accurate than the old-fashioned ones. By spending about $50 upfront, you can save a fistful of dollars just by having an accurate gauge of the temperature in the house. Even better, this tip to save money will help you keep your house regulated during the summer months as well. Double bonus!

 

Tips to Save Money #3: Turn Down the Water Heater

Taking a hot shower during a cold and stormy day feels great, doesn’t it? I just love taking my sweet time in the shower. I’m not sure if it is the heat that feels good or the fact that I am dreading stepping out into the cold air of the house. Regardless, I am not saving money. In fact, I am wasting a bunch of money by doing this, and so are you.

By turning down the temperature to the water heater, you are going to be reducing your power usage. Whether you water heater is gas or electric, you will be able to lower your monthly bill without noticing much in the way of water temperature. While you’re at it, shorten your shower times and warm your thoughts with the visions of dollar signs that you are saving.

 

Tips to Save Money #4: Keep Your Furnace Working in Top Shape

I have to admit, I am terrible at changing the filters on our furnace. I usually do it a few times a year. However, changing your $10 furnace filters can save you money on energy by making sure that your furnace is working at top capacity. Don’t be a lazy bum, and change that filter when you are supposed to.

 

Tips to Save Money #5: Make Big Improvements for Next Year

While it may be too late for you to do it this winter, you can always try to improve the efficiency of your home for next year. Look at buying energy efficient appliances. Maybe it is time to replace your windows. Perhaps it is time to add more insulation to your home. Although these changes can cost a lot of money upfront, they will eventually pay off  as your utility bills decrease.

 

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to save money during winter . While some of these options may put a small dent in your pocket-book, there are plenty of ways to save without spending much at all. Although these tips to save money may not seem like much savings individually, when used together they can really make a difference over the long haul.

 

Do you have any tips to save money during the winter that you would like to share? I know the Canadians out there should have some great tips for us! Please share them in the comments below! Happy Winter everybody!

About Greg

Greg Johnson is a proud husband, father, and debt crusader who is in the process of becoming debt free. He is the co-founder of the personal finance website Club Thrifty, where he brings the awesome sauce each and every day.

Comments

  1. These are all really great tips! We really need someone to come to our house and look at our furnace, we have NEVER done that. Sad to say.

  2. My house is warmer this year than normal thanks to the new baby. I still have the house set at 62 during the day, but when we are there it is 68 (and I had just trained my wife to deal with 66 last year, oh well).

    We did the insulation thing last year and the new HVAC back when the tax credit was $1500 so other than that we are pretty much set for a little while.

    • I know what you mean about keeping it warmer for the kids. I used to be a huge thermostat nazi but I have had to lighten up so that my little kiddos don’t freeze in their sleep!

  3. I’ve instituted a new rule this year. Mr. PoP can’t turn the heat on unless he’s already wearing socks and long sleeves. (We live in south florida!) So far the heat has only come on once, and it actually was cold that night – 39 for a low!

  4. I like that idea of turning down the temp or getting a programmable thermostat. I bet it’s also good for the environment because we’re using less energy :D I would also suggest instead of buying earmuffs, just get one of those toques with the side flaps to keep your ears warm. Everyone wears toques anyway so it’s like getting 2 things for the price of one :) Also, if you get Timbits, you can save by buying in bulk with the 20 or 40 option, instead of the snack pack of 10.

  5. Although I live in southern California, I do all those things and more. I also raise my thermostat temperature during the summer to 78 degrees during the day when no on is home. During the Summer and well into Fall the temperature can reach in the low 100s during the day. This keeps my utility bill fairly low ($50-60 per month year round.)

  6. Great info ! We unfortunately have baseboard heaters so it’s tough to regulate temperature, but we’ve just been very aware and turn the heat off when we aren’t in that room. Needless to say our house has been pretty chilly as of late!

  7. Great tips. Our furnace is really old so I really need to have it replaced for one that is more efficient.

  8. Is it bad that I read this, and think, “my goodness, I am lucky to be in a mild climate!”? Because, while our weather is really crappy right now, it is nowhere near ten inches of snow. TEN INCHES OF SNOW?! Yeah, I’ll take the rain.

  9. I’m too skinny to follow any of these tips….Hypothermia would set in and I’d turn into an icicle. Tell you what, I’ll follow your steps, and when I freeze to death, you can have my blog domain, my leftover frosted donuts, and my sprinklers….

  10. These are some great steps to take to use less heat this winter. I just helped a friend install a Nest wifi enabled programmable thermostat! It’s super cool, but should be just about as effective as installing a $50 model.

    A few other cheap and cost effective energy savers in the winter are insulating hot water pipes and switching to a 1.5 gpm shower head. There are some super fancy low flow shower heads that don’t feel like a sacrifice…

  11. Probably the best thing we did was buy the programmable thermostat. Some Ontario Cities will give homeowners a rebate as well as the gas company so it’s worth it to ask. We also bundle up at home wearing sweaters and I make sure the furnace is in top notch condition. Saving money in the winter can be as easy as simple home maintenance. Mr.CBB

  12. Good tips! We layer up with dark, loose fitting clothing whenever we turn that thermostat down. Hope you all are surviving out there! They’ve mostly got us taken care of here….two days later….haha. 2010 was the absolute worst. Couldn’t get out of my neighborhood for literally weeks.

    • It isn’t that bad really. I like a little snow on the ground in winter. It gives me hope that global warming isn’t as bad as everyone thinks!

  13. Sadly, we have a programmable thermostat sitting in the garage waiting to be installed. I am super vigilant though and we rarely set ours over 67 degrees in the winter.

  14. Oh man we are such weather wimps here in Socal. I turn up the heat in my place all day (it’s a gas heater with no settings). With my high rent, I’m so incredible thankful that my landlord pays for gas and water, so it has no affect on me! One thing I can do to help though is at least put towels near the base of the doors so cold breezes don’t come in. My places is not very insulated.

  15. We have programmable thermostats but have yet to actually program them haha. We normally like it fairly cool but we’re keeping the house a little warmer this winter with a baby around- next winter she’ll be old enough to tough it out and layer up haha. We also really need to turn our water heater down our water gets outrageously hot.

  16. We have a programmable thermostat and we love it. Ironically while my mom was visiting (and got stuck two additional days due to the snow and flight delays) she told me the house was cold all day. I felt bad but we both laughed when I told her that we programmed the thermostat to work that way (since we’re normally at work during the day).

  17. Great tips but I’d use a little bit of caution on the energy-efficient appliances. They may be so energy-efficient that they don’t work.

  18. Wow, 10 inches of snow! We haven’t seen any snow (except maybe a dusting) in 2 years here in NC. My 5-year-old is always begging for us to tell her when to expect snow. It’s almost enough to make me want to drive up to see my parents in VA on a random day just in time to see the snowfall!

  19. Getting a heated blanket has been one of my best purchases to keep me warm while lowering the heat in a big house. I loved it so much that I bought some for my family as a Christmas gift.
    I hate being cold but I hate paying for utilities even more.

  20. Good tips. Anyone here have any experience with on demand hot water heaters? Looking to upgrade when ours goes out (any day now), and was curious of the energy savings versus the initial investment.

    • No…but I have seriously thought about upgrading to one at some point. I hate the thought of my water being constantly heating 24/7….even when we arent home!

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