By Linda Gimmeson
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Maybe for spending time with the family, but our wallets suffer big time during this season. It seems like everything involved with the holiday season requires money. Gifts, flights, warmth. Household bills tend to be the least of your worries during the winter months with all the other expenses, but it can really rack up. Here are 11 ways you can save money during the holidays by cutting down on your bills.
Turn down the stat
Turn down the thermostat. Turning your thermostat down by just two degrees can save you at least $100 a year depending on your provider. It might be a little colder inside, but throw on a sweater or cuddle up under a blanket and you’ll feel just as warm and toasty. You can also program your thermostat to be cooler during the day when you are gone and warm back up right before you get home.
Fill ‘er up
Make sure your dishwasher and laundry machines are filled to capacity and try to run them in the “off hours”. You can find out when these hours are simply by calling your power company. These machines are also more energy and water efficient when they are full, so you’re saving in more than one area.
Before the cold really starts to kick in, make sure your home can stand up to the weather. You can go big with this one and buy better installation or double-paned windows. Door sweeps are a less expensive way to keep that pesky cold out. Or you can simply block all the drafts with a pair of socks or a blanket. Whatever you decide, you’re stopping money from just flowing out of your home in the form of heat.
Close those drapes
Keeping your blinds open lets the warm air leak out and the cold air in. During the night or anytime the sun isn’t shining through, keep those drapes shut. When it’s sunny though, open those babies up. The sunlight will naturally warm up the room and money will magically appear in your wallet. Okay, not really. It just won’t leave your wallet as fast.
On cold mornings, it’s habit to go out and start the car 5-10 minutes before you leave. All your new Toyota Highlander santa left under the tree needs is a quick 30 seconds. Anything more than that is wasting gas causing you to constantly be filling up.
Check out that fridge
The only place in your house that should be cold is the fridge and freezer. Clean or change out the coils on the fridge and make sure everything is sealed up completely. Next time you need to purchase a fridge, make sure to look for an Energy Star model, which is as energy efficient as you can get.
Clean the filter
This one will take less than a minute and save you tons of money. Clean your furnace filter every two months and you can increase its efficiency by 50%.
Close the damper
Your fireplace is a great way to warm up, but it’s also a great way to lose heat. When it isn’t in use, close the damper. Otherwise, you’re just letting the heat get sucked right up your chimney. It also creates a draft that you should have already gotten rid of.
Warm up the water heater
Insulating your water heater will keep the water warmer while it travels through the pipes to you. Getting a low-flowing showerhead also means you get a warm shower. It uses less water and, in turn, uses less heat. You get warmer water while your wallet keeps a little cash. This trick can save up to 10% on your gas bill.
This is one that you can implement year round. Changing your old light bulbs out for LED light bulbs will make a huge difference in your electricity bill. This may not help cut down any costs in the heating area, or heat up your home at all, but it will make your home brighter and consume less energy.
Another tip you can use all year long. Even when you think the tv is off, it really isn’t. Items that use electricity, keep using electricity while they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off. Make sure to unplug them once you’re done using them and you can save up to $75 on your energy bill a year.
Following these simple tips can save you hundreds. And we all know how valuable every penny is during the holiday, or shall we say spending, season. Now go use all that money you saved to buy your loved ones the gifts they’ve been bugging you for all year.
Author: Linda Gimmeson
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