If you’re a homeowner, you probably already know staying warm in the winter can be costly. Heating your home itself can make up more than 40% of a utility bill. On top of that, natural gas inventories have dropped this year, causing prices to increase by 300%. Staying warm is important, and luckily there are tricks to cutting those costs without having to completely turn off your thermostat.
Winterize your home
To avoid cold drafts and heat from escaping, winterizing is essential. Don’t get stuck wondering where the cold air is coming from – get ahead of it with this checklist:
- Seal your windows and install thermal curtains
- Get a weatherstrip seal to cover door gaps
- Clean or change your furnace filter
- Ensure your attic is properly insulated
- Caulk gaps you find around your windows or on the walls
- Install a programmable thermostat
Prevent winter damage
Without proper maintenance and preparation, homeowners risk having pricey damage to their homes. Severe winter conditions like snow and ice can lead to strain on your roof and gutters, plumbing problems, flooding in the basement, cracks in the foundation, and even potential fires. This can lead to heavy repair fees and long-term issues. Here’s what you can do:
- Clear your gutters
- Hire a chimney sweep
- Clean your dryer vents at least once annually
- Install monitoring devices on your water pipes
Use heat alternatives
If you plan on lowering the heat to cut costs, make sure you’re stocked up on blankets, slippers, warm pajamas, and heating pads. A space heater is a good alternative if you’re warming a small area as well. During the day, you’ll want to take advantage of the natural sunlight and keep the curtains open (but close them when the sun goes down).
Cook at home & buy in bulk
Save money on dining out and cook cozy meals at home like soups, pasta dishes, stews, or pot pies. Not only will these meals warm you up, but they’ll also keep the kitchen toasty from using the oven or stove. When getting ingredients for these meals, it’s best to buy in bulk from membership stores. This way you can save on your grocery bill and spend less on gas by reducing the amount you’re driving to the store.
Choose an inexpensive resolution
The post-holiday season is the time of year when many people choose a New Year’s resolution to start fresh. However, many tend to buy into expensive membership programs that they slowly stop using. If your goal is to get fit, try at-home workouts instead of joining an expensive gym (especially if you’re not really going to use it). Are you looking to break your record on good reads? Get a library card and borrow books instead of buying new ones.
No matter what winter brings, the team at First Financial can help you better manage your money and reach your financial goals. Call us at 732.312.1500 or stop by any of our local branches.
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