The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a particularly chilly winter for many regions. That means you'll be turning the heat up higher, and your pocketbook will also take the heat. However, there are steps you can take to minimize your energy use in the winter, stay warmer, and save your cash for more enjoyable winter activities.
Don't have drapes? Then hang sheets, old blankets, or any other large heavy fabric over your windows. The material blocks and absorbs some of the cold air that might be getting in through tiny gaps in your window panes or frames. If you have old, single pane windows and can't budget for new ones in your home, this is an affordable alternative. You can also cover your windows with thin plastic from a hardware store, though this is a little less green.
Insert Foam in Windows and Frames - Windows are where most drafts come through, so you will want to block air from coming in as well as you can. Get some foam strips, either scrap or bought from a hardware store, and stuff it in wherever there's a tiny gap.
Close Vents in Unused Rooms - If you have central heating, your heat gets distributed through vents all over your home. If you don't use all of these rooms, you are heating wasted space. Shut or cover vents in rooms you don't use often, and the heat will be redistributed to other parts of the house, keeping you warmer and using less energy because you are heating a smaller space.
Add More Rugs - Carpets and rugs will keep the cold hard floor away from your feet. Get a durable rug for about $20 for your kitchen and vacuum or scrub it regularly. When you're warmer, you won't feel like you always have to turn up the heat. That's how this tip will save you some cash.
Stand Up and Move Around - This one is good for your waistline, too. Instead of snoozing on the couch, do some of those projects you've been putting off for months - organizing your taxes, repotting some plants, or using that soup stock you've had in the freezer since thanksgiving. The more active you are in your home, the warmer your body and the less you'll need your heat.
Even if you implement just one of these options, you'll see the difference in your heating bill. Enjoy winter and stay warm for less! Edited by Chris McGrath
About the Author Jessica Oman is the T&G Saving Money & Personal Finance Editor and a writer in Vancouver, Canada. She writes on sustainable business and money-saving tips for families and entrepreneurs. She is the founder of Write Ahead Consulting, a copy writing, editing and business consulting firm. You can also read her Blog at Writeahead.ca/blog Or follow her on Twitter: @writeahead Also connect with her on Write Ahead's Facebook page.