How can I cut energy costs during winter?
Let’s face it, sometimes it feels as though we’re willing to pay anything not to be cold on long winter days. Unfortunately, spending money outside of your budget is the number one way to derail financial plans and future goals. We understand that life can’t always be planned (example: your entire family is currently at home all the time), but when we adopt smarter habits now it can help prevent surprises such as large utility bills later on. Try these simple habits to keep energy costs down without sacrificing your savings.
- Don’t fuss with the thermostat. Make it a habit to lower the thermostat before you go to bed or when leaving the house for an extended period of time. If you can, invest in a smart thermostat. These can be programmed to lower the heat during sleeping hours or when you’re not home to help keep costs low and reduce energy consumption.
- Get moving. Bundled up and still cold? Jog up and down the stairs, do fifteen jumping jacks, or stretch your body for ten minutes. We tend to move less when hunkered down for the winter, so this warms us up without cranking the heat.
- Check your doors and windows. If your windows are older or single pane, you can cover them in plastic to prevent drafts. You can also add weather stripping to all of your doors and windows to stop warm air from escaping.
- Keep shower times low. We get it—a hot shower on a frigid day sounds like the perfect way to warm up, but it can be wasteful and costly. It’s best to take a shorter shower and then quickly bundle up.
- Create a Winter Cash Stash. We don’t always know how much heating oil, gas or firewood we may need or how long and cold the winter months might be. By setting some money aside throughout the year, we can rest assured that our family will be warm and cozy all winter—no matter how long it lasts.
- Only heat the rooms you use. Block off unused rooms such as your attic, an enclosed porch or entry ways. You can keep energy use lower when the square footage of your living space is smaller.
- Use space heaters cautiously. While space heaters can be a great alternative, some require a lot of wattage which may bump up your electric bill. Use space heaters sparingly and always when you can monitor them.
- Leave the door open. If you’ve just cooked a meal or baked cookies, leave the oven door open after shutting it off. That residual heat can warm up your kitchen, dining room or adjacent rooms.
While these suggestions may not save thousands of dollars, they certainly can help reduce energy costs and consumption. Remember, these changes will only work if your entire household is on board. Let all family members know that keeping energy costs low helps your family stay within budget all year long.