With all the snow recently, many of us can anticipate a much higher billing cycle next month. Even those who have gone without power could still see a spike in energy costs as their homes crank the heat to keep up after an especially cold stint. There are small ways to improve your home’s efficiency and keep costs less expensive, plus many of them may actually work to keep you warmer in the end.
You can and should invest in a window insulation kit. They’re not too expensive, especially when you consider what they end up saving you in the long run. Double-sided tape and strong plastic provide a great protector from chilly winds slipping in and making your heater work double time.
Speaking of sneaky breezes, door frames are another way that cold air gets into your home. Since you can’t plastic wrap a door shut like you can windows, you’ll need to find a creative solution. You can find a draft stopper online or at a local home goods store, but a rolled beach towel or fuzzy blanket will do the trick, too—and save you a few bucks.
Close doors to empty rooms
If you’re not using guest rooms or office spaces, shut the doors so your heater isn’t working so hard to pump heat their direction. Fair warning, when you open the doors it will be freezing inside — but the rest of the house will stay warm and cozy.
Cook at home
Not only will you not have to deal with braving the temps or bringing the chill of outside in, but using your oven will bring up the overall temperature of your home. As a bonus, working up a sweat in the kitchen with the hot oven might spike your internal temperature as well, making you warmer right at the source.
It’s not fun to choose budget over comfort, but I’m not suggesting you spend the winter freezing your toes off. If you start with layers — big socks, warm pants and a fuzzy sweater — before you set the thermostat, you’ll likely set it at a more reasonable number for your budget.
And remember to keep your car stocked with things to keep warm, too. Put blankets, extra socks and warm hats and gloves in your trunk in case you find yourself in an emergency situation. Enjoy the warmth this month and hopefully no shock on the bills next.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.