Goodbye 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!