Pre-Winter Home & Financial Prep
With winter just around the corner, now is the time to start prepping your home and your finances to withstand the upcoming months. The winter months can be harsh and our budgets can be affected by heating costs, among other things. While these months may be the hardest for some to get through, there are things you can do to help cut down on winter utility expenses, gas costs, food bills, etc.
Preparing Your Home for Winter
Wrap your Windows to Prevent Heat Escaping and Drafts
Even a small draft can impact your heating bill and cause you to have to spend more. Most home improvement stores sell the supplies you need for relatively cheap, and this is a project that most people can do on their own.
There are also many online tutorials to help walk you through the process. According to Energy Star, depending on where you live, sealing up leaks throughout the house can cut your utility bills up to 20 percent.
Switch the Direction of your Ceiling Fans
Did you know that most ceiling fans spin both clockwise and counterclockwise? It’s true! If you check the base of your ceiling fan there should be a switch to control the direction. During the winter or cooler months, flip the switch to change the direction of airflow to clockwise instead of counterclockwise.
Because hot air rises, clockwise blades produce an updraft and push heated air down from the ceiling. This can make everyday living more comfortable, and if you adjust your thermostat, it could lead to savings on your heating bill too.
Protect Your Pipes
Frozen pipes can lead to expensive headaches, or worse, having to go without water for a period of time until they’re repaired. Doing a little pre-winter prep can help prevent pipes from freezing in the winter. Before the freezing temperatures begin, drain the water from all outdoor spigots and close the interior shut-off valve. You can also apply heat tape or pipe insulation to any pipes that are near exterior walls or prone to freezing, as an added level of protection.
Preparing Your Finances for Winter
Obviously, your heating bills affect your finances, but there are other financial impacts of winter weather that can be avoided to help you save some money.
Lower Your Gas Costs
In the winter time, especially during snow storms, our cars work extra hard. Many of us start our cars up and let them run to get warm before actually going anywhere. This is an unnecessary use of gas. If you’re able to, try parking somewhere that’s covered or keep a blanket in your car to stay warm until your car heats up.
Cold weather can also cause air to leak from your tires, causing a drop in tire pressure. This can result in your car using more energy to make it down the road. Try inflating your tires fully when the weather starts turning colder, and check them regularly to make sure they’re not low.
Another way to cut down on gas? Skip the snowblower or snow plow if you can. If you’re able to, use a shovel instead. We realize this might not be realistic for a full driveway or a large area, but many people use a snowblower just for their sidewalk and around their vehicles, when they could be saving that gas money and shoveling instead. It may take longer and be more labor intensive, but it can save you some money.
Look for Energy Efficient Decor
Cut down on the cost of festive holiday lighting and décor by looking for LED lights and battery powered items. LED lights might seem more costly up front, but they are more durable and last longer than traditional bulbs, meaning they can be used annually for years to come.
Cook at Home
We may sound like a broken record here, but cooking at home can save you a ton of money compared to going out or ordering delivery. It can be difficult for some of us, we get out of work and it’s already getting dark, we’re cold and we don’t feel like cooking. Try cooking on the weekend or during snow storms and freezing meals, or look for quicker meals to make. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to make a delicious dinner.
If you plan your meals for the week and do your shopping (looking for sales and coupons to save) you can have everything you need to make your meals waiting at home for you, and you can save even more because you aren’t making frequent trips to the store (using more gas) and you can compare to find the best prices instead of just running to the closest store on your way home. You may be paying more than you would have somewhere else.
Winter may be very close, but armed with these money saving tips you’re well prepared to withstand the next few months and stay in good shape financially. Is there a larger home project you’d like to tackle before the winter weather sets in, but you’re not sure how to pay for it? Tap into your home’s equity to get that project completed before it’s too late. Give us a call or visit our website to learn more.
Citizens Savings Bank has multiple locations throughout Lackawanna, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. For branch locations and hours, visit our website. We also have a Customer Support Team ready to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 1-800-692-6279 or email [email protected]. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.