My DH works in the construction industry, and while he does still work in the snow, the hours are less and more unpredictable. So, my number one way (first time ever) to keep our costs lower this winter is I have stockpiled! I have about 4 months of groceries and household items stocked and ready to go through starting in December. It'll be neat to see how much we can save, as we'll be buying mostly just produce and dairy.
I have a list of to do's to save money this winter. First thing is to buy everyone long johns because we won't have to heat the house to high heaven and pay high electrical and oil bills. Going to put up some nice decorative curtains in doorways to keep heat from leaving. We are also stock piling. We buy all meat from a local farm and if you buy in bulk you get huge savings so we buy for about 1-2 months at a time and it saves us travel and gas money also because the farm is 40 minutes away. Hmm i know there are others. I will post more as I think of them.
We have already been using our fireplace instead of central heat this fall. The wood is free from trees in our yard. DH and I spend most evenings in our den so many nights we haven't turned on the heat anywhere in the house.
My financial challenges are different for sure but no less compelling for us to save. Major expense for the next unforeseen future is travel between here and Kauai. I did find a three day window and booked eight flights for great fares. Plus I will be able now to use airline amenities for all my travel next year. Shall continue to be vigilant is me fare search.
I had a fan installed in my gas fireplace and it really heats up my great room faster. I also installed insulated drapes in the same room which should help keep it warmer. I have an entire wall of windows so it is the coldest room in the house. And I spend most of my time in it.
This really isn't winter related but I just inventoried my freezers and am planning on eating from them for the next few months. I have too much food on hand. I have been buying like my 2 boys still lived at home and that needs to stop.
We have a outside wood boiler, so now I can keep the house at 75 on the one end, and it is about 70 on the end farther from the furnace. Plus it heats our hot water instead of using electric to do that.
I try to stay current on laundry. I hang a few things. We have 2 bathrooms, and I do use a wooden clothes rack in the second tub for heavy stuff like blue jeans and big towels. Small stuff I just use the dryer.
I like homemade meals that are 1 pot and can be used for leftovers. When I did the defrost last time in the freezer, I made sure to sort the meat by shelves. So much easier to do a visual inventory now. I bake more in the winter and it helps warm up the kitchen.
I run to town less often and make sure I have a list with me, for what I need to buy.
I like hibernating I keep challenging myself to come up with ideas not to spend any more money than what is needed. I stay plenty busy at home.
Our winters are pretty mild - we can have really cold spells but they only last a few days. I'm planning on keeping the apartment a little cooler, which I will prefer for myself. The last couple of years I've kept it warmer to accommodate my birds more comfortably, but this year I've put a ceramic heat lamp on the cage on a timer to turn on with their lights - they get out of bed long before I do and that's when it will be coldest. I'll run it during the day if they seem chilly and are perching under it. At night they are snug in their nests and should be ok. It should be cheaper to run a 60 watt heater than to keep the whole apartment warmer.
I can't say I *will* save any money this winter... but I'll *TRY*.
One thing I do (and this is mean) is I turn the thermostat down a lot whenever the girls and I aren't going to be home. Hubs works shift and is home a lot when we aren't, but he's a total bed-potato, so why heat the whole house when he's just lying there under the covers reading, on the computer, watching TV, or playing a game?
Also I've been working on insulating the attic, but not done that yet (lots of junk to move around next week). I can't justify paying $54 for an "attic door tent" (a teepee made of that silver bubble-wrap people put in there car windshields in the summer) so I built one out of just-right cardboard boxes that come my way. Needs a little more work, and maybe I'll add bubble wrap should I chance across any, but in the meantime, same idea, and supposedly that saves a lot of heat from leaking out around the drop-down and out into the attic.
Won't know for months if any of it worked, of course.
One thing I'm *NOT* doing well on is turning off the lights. The early sunsets get to me, and sometimes I just NEED a bunch of bright bulbs on all at once... but most of the time I'm just lazy and forgetful ;D
We switched out a lot of our lighting to LED and CFL, insulated our pipes, installed some faucet aerators, and are in the process of sealing our windows. We also beefed up the insulation in the floors of our addition and front parlor...hoping that will help keep in some of the heat.
I'm having a really hard time tolerating the cold this year, so our thermostat is up higher than usual. I'm hoping that the changes we're making will help keep the heat in so the furnace doesn't have to run as much. Otherwise, it's going to be a very expensive year gas-wise!
I think I heard that a dry room feels colder than a humid room... I'm going to get some new filters for our humidifier and put it in the living room and see if it makes a diff in there, it's a cold room.
Having a budget and sticking as close as possible to it. By starting it this month, I can safely say it has improved our finances greatly in just the past two weeks or so since we started one. We were able to save 1000 in our emergence fund, start attacking the CCs aggressively and save money for most of next month's bills.
I think I bug my wife a bit by watching every penny so closely but, I figure if I keep a close eye on the money for the next 3 1/2 years, we will be completely debt free (House, Car and CCs paid off) plus buy a second new car with cash.
I do like to keep my house warm and I won't change much over winter. However, I like to do more baking on the weekends in winter. That has the triple benefit of good cheap food, good smelling house, and keeping it nice and warm.
Holy moly you guys have some awesome ideas...at our house I'm trying to remember turing off the laptop and printer at night...turning the heat down when we are away...we keep it at 20*C...our DD has sensory issues and her piling on more clothing just to save 10 bucks isn't in her best interest...also bathing every scond day with helps out the dry skin issues.
I just picked up some Blizzard Fleece from joann's @ 50% off in a color to match the door trim in our unfinished basement. I bought some heavy duty curtain rods at WalMart for 97 cents each and will hang seamless drapes over those three doors to block any cold air. The material is 57" wide, so I'll just do a running stitch on the top and bottoms. We never use the door to the big room and the closet is empty. I'll just push aside the drape to the room with the washing machine when I have to do laundry .
I just picked up some Blizzard Fleece from joann's @ 50% off in a color to match the door trim in our unfinished basement. I bought some heavy duty curtain rods at WalMart for 97 cents each and will hang seamless drapes over those three doors to block any cold air. The material is 57" wide, so I'll just do a running stitch on the top and bottoms. We never use the door to the big room and the closet is empty. I'll just push aside the drape to the room with the washer when I have to do laundry .
Last year I covered our front entrance with two lengths of the Blizzard Fleece and it really makes a difference.
These steps are my rules of life alone and under-employed on SSDI:
1. Set thermostat low and forget it. Long sleeves/pants are normal inside in winter, not shorts/tank tops. Lower it more at night.
2. Eat at home. Plan to prepare whole recipe to have leftovers for rushes or lazy nights.
3. Look in cabinets to inventory foods available and fridge to determine what needs to be used soonest. Check store ads. Make a menu using a lot of what is available onside and on sale. Make list and shop when store isn't busy and you are not hungry.
4. Shop once a month at Aldis for basics and fill in using grocery sales at bested price/cleanest store.
5. Shop monthly for toiletries, pets, health/beauty and paper. Plan a no-spend the rest of the time with exception of small cash allowance.
6. Take leftovers to work. Only eat out once a week at work.
7. Some coworkers will participate in a work-lunch club where a different person brings lunch for the whole office each day. Ask around to determine interest.
8. Limit the pets for what you can afford and care for easily. Not everyone can leave work over lunch daily to care for a dog after a change of jobs............Cats may be cheap until one gets sick so please spay/neuter your animal and do not collect pets. If you travel a lot for work, do you want to bother with boarding a dog or inconveniencing a friend/family?
9. Is your cable package up for renewal? This works best with flat-screen TVs and requires more hardware with old-style TVs so more expensive. Get a cheap indoor antenna through discount store and check broadcast TV reception in your area. Some places have good reception, good quality picture/sound and a good selection of channels for free. Return the antenna if the reception does not meet your standards and check for new cable package deal.
10. Learn to maintain your house through free workshops at big-box hardware stores, county extension offices, community colleges or city recreation centers.
11. Learn to cook or sew to alter clothing (especially if you are petite) to occupy the cold winter indoors. Same places as above plus ethnic or organic markets offer these classes for low prices or free.
12. Eliminate recreational shopping...If you walk the mall, leave wallet in car. If you are with friends, you can carry their packages and a little pocket money for a beverage.
13. A great read: 'Your money or your life' by Joe Dominguez is a great read cuddled up in a blanket in winter at home.
14. Invest in your home. The best investments you can make to your budget is replacement of windows and addition of attic insulation. There are some programs offered through City Housing Authorities, County Development Districts, nonprofit charities, HUD and USDA to offer these services at low cost or no cost to those who qualify...some do require sweat equity, volunteer hours and/or a minimum stay in house for lien forgiveness.
15. Automate savings as you get debt paid down so you can build up your emergency savings. Make competitive/aggressive lifestyle cuts by choosing only specific, occasional luxuries to increase your monthly planned savings amount.
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