Wintertime can present some challenging months. With the cold weather outside comes unexpected costs inside. From higher energy bills to hiked entertainment prices, it can be an expensive season. Fortunately, there are four smart steps to winterizing your home that can help lower bills and boost the fun for your whole family this year.
1. High Heat on a Low Budget
One of the top seasonal expenses, heating your home can tax your budget as well as the environment. Whether you use electricity, gas or another fuel to crank up the heat, there are some smart ways to make your house more energy efficient while bringing down high energy bills caused by low temperatures.
Start with simple steps like moving beds, sofas and chairs towards the middle of the room and away from cold walls. Exterior walls are typically the coldest spots in a home. Rearranging your furniture can make your home warmer and result in a fun way to mix up your interiors during a long cold winter. And check to make sure that drapes, carpeting or large furniture pieces are not blocking heaters or warm-air registers.
Another cost effective step is to check all of the windows and exterior doors in the house. Caulking and/or weatherstripping can prevent heat loss. These are easy DIY projects that can make a huge different by trapping warm air inside the house and prevent chilly and wet weather from penetrating your home.
Finally, keep tabs on your home’s thermostat. Before leaving the house, go ahead and lower the temperature to save on costs while no one is at home. You can even install a programmable thermostat that will automatically alter the temperature at pre-set times during the night or workday.
2. Alternative Forms of Heat
Another way to reduce your heating bill each month is to switch to alternative ways to stay warm. If you dwelling already has a fireplace or wood burning stove, don’t hesitate to use it. Building a cozy fire can warm up an entire room. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the comforting smell and the crackling sound.
If a chimney is not popping out of your roof, turn to space heating. Inexpensive space heaters can cut heating bills, if you turn down the thermostat and rely on these plug in units. Space heaters typically work best in closed rooms where the heat will not escape throughout the house and become less concentrated.
3. Trim Entertainment Costs
When it is icy outside, families must move the fun indoors. This presents another opportunity to examine entertainment costs and find less expensive alternatives. Football loving families enjoy spending Sundays together cheering for their favorite teams. But access to all the right channels can be pricy. Researching different packages like Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket can be an easy way to keep the channels you love at a lower price.
Instead of braving the rain and ice to drive to a movie, plan a fun movie night right at home. Try new recipes for homemade popcorn and cuddle with lots of blankets and pillows. Not only can you make new memories over classic Christmas movies, you can also save money on high theater tickets.
4. Soups Up!
Winter is a great time to get creative with your cooking. Switching from expensive meats to vegetable based soups is a fantastic way to warm up your family with healthy and cheaper recipes. From stew to chili to classic chicken noodle or tomato with grilled cheese, there are so many options to try while making sure your family stays healthy throughout the winter. Some exciting recipes include:
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Creamy Broccoli Potato Soup
- Hearty Lentil Soup
- Oyster Stew
- White Bean Chili
- Butternut Squash Bisque
- Spicy Corn Chowder
With so many energy efficient and cost effective ideas, this winter can by cozy, frugal, healthy and fun. Get creative with alternative heating, entertainment and eating ideas for the entire family.
Image from decoist.com