As winter approaches, many of us here in the Northeast are dreading our utility bills. Heating costs can really put a damper on budgets and other personal financial goals, like debt reduction. That’s why it’s important to find winter energy savings wherever possible. Here are a few easy ways to save money this winter by reducing energy consumption.
How to Reduce Utility Bills With Winter Energy Savings
Budgeting for High Heating Costs
Paying for high energy bills in the winter can be frustrating and challenging if you aren’t prepared. There are two ways to approach budgeting for high heating costs: use a fixed amount or estimate the actual cost for each month.
Take a look at the previous year’s heating bills. If you would rather estimate the actual cost for the coming months, simply budget what you paid out last year. Consider adding a 5% buffer for any increase in cost.
To budget a fixed amount, average the cost of the year over 12 months. If you paid $1,200 last year, then budget $100 each month ($1,200/12months). You won’t necessarily pay the average amount for your heating bill; some months will be higher and some lower. The money will be earmarked so take what you need from the “fund.” This way you won’t have to tinker as much with your budget.
Either method can be helpful and may aid you in managing your debt reduction since your budget will work with you and not against you!
5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Energy Bills
- Unplug Electronics. Unless you have a “Smart” surge protector, your chargers and appliances are consuming energy even when not in use. Make sure to unplug them when you can.
- Turn Down the Thermostat & Program It. This sounds silly (and terrible if you’re cold like me!), but turning down the thermostat by just a few degrees will absolutely save money on energy bills. Program the thermostat to be colder at times when people aren’t around the house.
- Install Heavier Curtains or Add Plastic Over the Windows. Hopefully, your window seals are in decent shape to block out the cold air. Try using more substantial curtains or even hanging blankets over windows. If you want to seal out the cold air with shrink wrap, you can find kits at most major retailers.
- Use Aerated Faucets and Shower Heads. You can lower your water bill all year round by installing aerators. These simple devices reduce your water consumption and save you money by adding air to the water stream.
- Do Easy Maintenance. Remember to change furnace filters, seal ducts, and insulate pipes. These simple DIY home maintenance projects will help lower your energy bill and avoid bigger issues down the road
Lowering your energy consumption is one way to keep your budget and debt reduction moving in the right direction.
Do you have any winter energy savings tricks to stay warm this winter?