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Ways to Reduce Winter Expenses

While it doesn’t have to be winter in order to make a change in your household expenses, but given the fact that it’s now it’s a new year and a clean slate, now is as good of time as any for improvement.  The winter blues can cause extra spending by looking to other avenues instead of the dreary, cold, and snow outside, causing you to either continue to making online shopping clicks, or leaving the house to splurge on food or drinks. By making the difficult change to curb spending and really tighten up the money going out and maximizing putting your hard-earned money to better use, such as creating an emergency fund, paying down debt, or saving for retirement, you can set yourself up for success for the remainder of the year, and by summer, could really be ahead where you were to start the year.

Maximize Energy Efficiency

There’s no reason to have dollars leak out with the cold air, so it’s a good idea to take a walk around and make sure there you don’t feel any drafts around doors, windows, or outlets that share an outside wall.  By caulking you can give your furnace a rest and not kick on every ten minutes.  Since the winter does cause the furnace to run more than usual, don’t forget to also replace air filters every few months or so to ensure maximum air flow is occurring and your furnace does not work more than it has to.

Take Advantage of Programmable Thermostat

Speaking of your furnace, the higher you set the temperature and the more often it turns on you’ll notice your gas bill really start to spike.  By taking advantage of your programmable thermostat, you can set temperatures throughout the day to keep the house warm when you’re home, and cooler throughout the day while you’re at work or even sleeping, for a better night’s rest curled up with the covers.  You can even program to start warming up on your way home from work so that you don’t have to come home to a cold house.

Avoid Going Out to Eat

Although this time of the year is when diets start over due to a new year’s resolution, it can be easy to go back into your old routine, either because it’s simply not beach season yet and you can hide under your clothes, or you just find yourself snacking a little more or having a few extra beers, instead of watching your weight.  By avoiding going out to eat and going to the grocery store to prepare meals at home, you’ll not only watch the savings add up, probably in the hundreds of dollars range every month, but you’ll notice the waistline start to improve as well with hopefully a little healthier eating.

Binge TV Shows

Well maybe it’s not the most productive to sit on the couch with popcorn all day watching TV, but if you start to catch up on shows, it can also take you away from going out and spending money.  Also, you could even take a step further and cancel your cable service and just stick to streaming services, because let’s face, those have the best programming anyways, so you may not even miss flipping through the channels only to either have nothing on, or watch commercials.  If you’re concerned with cancelling cable and not receiving the local channels, you can invest in a $20 HD antenna so you can still watch the local news.

Track Every Purchase Made

Now that we’re in as good of time as any to change spending habits, it’s a good time to review last month’s debit or credit card statement and begin to track every purchase in order to reduce unnecessary spending now that you are keeping an eye out where maybe it was a little looser with the swiping of the card in the past.  If you share the finances, make sure you loop in your significant other as well so you can promote good spending habits with each other, with the intent to watch spending, not call each other out or have only one making the tough sacrifices to put the spending spree on hold.

Earn Credit Card Rewards

If you aren’t already, now is a good time to get a rewards credit card that you can earn cashback or points on the purchases you were going to make anyways, that you currently are leaving free money on the table by not taking advantage of these cards.  The rewards could earn you free restaurant gift cards or airline miles that you can use to celebrate your newfound strict spending habits.

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