To quote a certain dragon-heavy fantasy series, “Winter is coming.” Whether you start counting down the days as soon as you see the first Halloween decorations or you're considering moving to the Caribbean to avoid the snow, winter is inevitable, so you might as well prepare now. Plus, if you prepare early enough, you could save yourself some money.
What with heating bills, winter coats, and snow tires, winter can be expensive. And that's before you even start thinking about the holidays. But fret not. We've got some tips to help you prepare for winter early and save money at the same time.
If you follow our tips, you may very well find yourself with more time and cash to spare once winter arrives. If you're properly prepared for the colder months, that's one less reason to get the winter blues.
Coats, boots, scarves, gloves, woolly hats, sweaters, and thermal undergarments — you wear far more clothes in the winter than you do in the warmer months, and it all adds up. If you need to bulk up your winter wardrobe, you'll save cash by doing so when winter clothes are on sale. As soon as spring and summer come around, the majority of apparel merchants have sales where you can pick up cold-weather clothes for a fraction of the usual price. If you stock up while they're cheap, you'll be smiling once winter comes around again.
With the nights getting longer and the mercury dropping, a higher energy bill is a major winter expense for the average person. You don't have to sit around in a cold, dark house to lower your energy bill; there is another way. Consider investing in a smart thermostat that adjusts itself based on your most active hours at home. You can program your thermostat to lower your home’s temperature during those periods that you don’t really need the extra heat — when you’re sleeping or at work, for instance.
A draft stopper is an inexpensive and simple way to keep the cold air out and the warm air in during the winter. In turn, this can save you money on your energy bills.
The money you save by investing in a smart thermostat will go straight out the window (literally!) if your home isn't properly insulated. Check for any gaps or holes where you might lose excess heat, and fill or seal them with caulk or expandable foam. Don't have double-glazed windows? Buy a special film that you can fit yourself to reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows. It's also surprisingly affordable to install extra loft insulation. Even if you end up spending a little money to boost your home's insulation, you'll soon gain it back with interest thanks to the savings you'll reap on your heating bill.
If just thinking about the cost of snow tires gets you down, consider whether you really need them. Unless you live in an area where it’s normal to have several feet of snow from November to March, all-season tires might suffice. They may not be quite as good as snow tires, but they should give you the traction you need for driving on ice and snow. Next time you get a tire change, ask for all-season tires. That will be one less thing to worry about when winter rolls into town.
Getting outdoor plumbing ready for winter could save you a fortune in repairs and plumber's bills due to burst pipes. It's quite simple to do. Just turn off and drain any outdoor faucets so there's no water inside to freeze and damage pipes. While you're at it, drain your hose and store it in a shed or garage for the winter to save having to replace it come spring.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or another winter holiday, the cost of gifts, food, drinks, decorations, and cards can add up. However, it's not hard to save money by spreading the cost of the holidays throughout the year. Any time you see something that a friend or family member might like as a gift or that would be generally useful for the holidays, consider buying it. If it happens to be on sale, even better! Before you know it, you'll have accumulated practically everything you need.