In places with cold weather, winter can come with costly challenges. Heating systems increase electricity bills, holidays inspire special purchases, and dining and entertainment can add up over time. If you're not careful, you may end up spending more than you'd like. Luckily, there are many ways you can reduce your spending during the cold months of winter. Here are some tips.
1. Plan and Budget for the Whole Winter
If you don’t want to run into holiday spending fever, you should create your family holiday spending budget and stick to it. This is not easy but it is the best way to avoid spending money on unnecessary things without a thought. If you are a person who goes to the store for a couple of items and comes out with ten, you definitely need a budget. Even though there are a lot of promotions and plenty of goodies to buy, you must learn to control yourself. Make a list of the things you will need for the holiday and the amount required and be disciplined.
2. Minimize Heating Usage
If you can, start with energy-efficient appliances and electronics. Reducing your power consumption not only saves you a lot of money during the winter, it increases the energy security of your community by taxing your shared resources less heavily.
Turn off your heating system, lighting, TV, cable box, and other power draining devices when you're not home. Put heavy electricity consumers like video game consoles on power strips so you can cut off their draw.
When you are home, use clothes and covers creatively as a way to minimize reliance on heating. How about putting on warm pajamas, heating pads, or covering yourself with a thick blanket as an alternative to having electric space heat on at night?
Throw up the blinds and welcome daylight into your home to avoid turning on your electrical lighting system during the day, and insulate and seal your windows or keep your window curtains always closed so heat doesn’t escape from the house and cold air can't seep in.
3. Make Gifts
Winter is a season for catching up with far living family members and sharing gifts. While it is true giving gifts is fun, purchasing every gift may mean spending a fortune. How about if you make the ones you can instead of buying? If possible, make every gift such that you only have to worry about the supply expenses.
4. Freeze Extra Meals
Cooking in excess is great for every celebration and it is never a waste. However, it may be considered a waste when you throw away the extra food you made. Whenever you make a bit extra, it is prudent to freeze food for later use. Having a backup dinner in the freezer ready to heat and eat will save you from spending on the next meal.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Traveling
Hitting the road anyhow means spending a lot on fuel. You can save on your budget by limiting your trips. Cars eat gas much faster during winter since you have to turn the heat inside of your car on. For this reason, you may plan to visit the grocery store twice a month. You may also use public means to get to some places.
6. Find Second-Hand Decorations
Every year, people spend on decoration and at the end of the festive season, they plan on how to get rid of them. Normally, when people are clearing junk, they charge small amounts for the used decorations. You should take advantage of such to avoid spending a ton of money on decorations. Given that they are being disposed of doesn’t mean you won't find some treasures in the junk. Seize the opportunity and make your home pretty at a very low cost.
7. Have Cozy Winter Fun at Home
You don’t have to go out to have fun; you can have a movie night with your family or just play games. Serve glasses of wine and popcorn as you run through the latest movies on Amazon and Netflix. You will never enjoy such comfort in most movie theaters. Having movie night fun at home will save you a lot of money while you still stay warm and cozy.
8. Buy in Bulk
Last but not least, once you have created your budget, buy whatever you may need in bulk. This is the best way to avoid going on a shopping binge. You will be amazed at the savings you make once you reduce your trips to the store! In addition, when you limit the trips to the store you save on fuel.