Growing your savings account doesn’t necessarily mean cutting back on everything you love. Here are some clever expert-recommended ways for saving money during the coldest time of year.
1. Heatproof Your Home
You probably know that keeping the thermostat down will save you money, but when was the last time you paid attention to your home’s heating system? Is the furnace working as efficiently as it could? If you’re unsure, get it checked by a professional – it could save you a hefty sum in the long run. Do your windows shut tightly? You’d be surprised by how much hot air escapes while cold air seeps in. Closing off unused rooms, keeping curtains closed during the evenings and air-sealing your home (using draft stoppers where needed) will all pay off significantly. (Get more tips for winterizing your home with our guide.)
2. Wrangle Your Budget
Thinking ahead whenever possible can help you avoid unexpected events that could cost you a lot of money. While it’s cold and rainy outside, take a few hours to audit your bills and organize your budget. Decide what you really need to pay for, and compare prices online. While you’re at it, take some time to clip or print coupons – all those individual savings add up!
3. Start Cooking in Batches
It’s colder, so we’re all craving comfort foods – and a pizza delivery is just a phone call away. But a bit of advanced planning can save serious cash when it comes to dinnertime, and batch cooking saves money and time. Check on foods you can and can’t freeze (you can’t freeze lettuce and uncooked potatoes, FYI), and pick a date each month or every two weeks to prepare several freezer meals. Not only will you waste less food, but you’ll always have something on standby for those nights when the thought of cooking is unbearable. And you can even save money when it comes to the washing the dishes – just a few drops of Dawn dish soap are all you need to clean the dirty dishes after your meal.
4. Make Your Wardrobe Work Harder
As soon as the cold weather hits, it’s tempting to buy cozy knit sweaters, sturdy winter boots, and hats, scarves and gloves. But before you do, spend a day going through the closet and determining what you can wear more regularly. Donate, sell or toss anything that doesn’t fit or that you don’t feel great in. Are there any outfit pairings you hadn’t considered? And when it comes to hitting the stores, winter is a smart time to stock up on discounted summer clothing, even if it feels like a million years away – you’ll be pleased you did when June rolls around. Finally, stop buying dry-clean-only items and start putting that money toward essentials like Tide PODS Plus Downy and Bounce dryer sheets. When your outfits smell fresh, feel soft and are free of static and wrinkles, who needs to buy new ones?
5. Treat Yourself (a Little)
Cutting out every expense above and beyond your essential bills can feel harsh, so allow yourself a little leeway now and then. If you’re giving up your morning coffee at the coffee shop, you don’t necessarily have to skip lunch with a friend once a month. By rewarding yourself every so often, you’ll be more likely to stay on track with your budget overall.
Have we missed a tip? Comment below to share your best money-saving hints and advice.