While the holidays are a great time to spend time with family, catch up on each other’s lives, eat good food, and swap gifts, let’s face it – eventually you’re all caught up and need some good activities for the rest of your time off. And if you’re anything like my family, you probably also feel a little broke once Christmas is over, so here are 5 things that will help you save money, while keeping everyone entertained.
As the thermometer continues to plunge, utility bills generally tend to start soaring. If you’re like me, you try to fight the cold and wait until you simply cannot bear it any longer before you turn on the heat. Winter is rapidly approaching and sooner or later, your energy bills are going to increase. Here’s some ways to keep them in check:
1) Home Energy Audit – Schedule a professional audit with a specialist. They will completely examine your home including: heating and cooling systems, appliances, insulation, air leaks and lighting. Finding out what upgrades you need before the winter hits can save you money and stress, and some energy-efficient upgrades are eligible for up to $1,500 in federal tax credits, which are set to expire Dec. 31. Always consult your tax advisor before making any upgrades.
2) Turn down the thermostat – You can save about 3% on your heating bill for every degree you set back your thermostat. If your home has a programmable thermostat, use it! You can also manually turn down the thermostat before you go to bed and when you go to work.
3) The sun is your friend – Open the curtains and shades on south-facing windows during the day and let the sun shine in! The winter sun is lower in the sky than in the summer. You could also buy curtains that take advantage of the placement of the sun during both seasons.
4) Make a draft snake – Stop drafts from sneaking in through the doors by making an adorable draft snake! Check out these cute draft snakes from The Daily Green. This could be a fun craft to do with your family while teaching them about the importance of energy conservation.
5) Cook a hearty meal – The steam from your oven will raise the moisture level in your home, making you feel warmer. Fall and winter stews, soups and breads are filling and body warming meals. If you leave the oven door open after baking you’ll be making the most of the heat you’re using by allowing it to warm the rest of your living space.
These are some simple ways for you to keep warm this winter. Remember, there are also government programs and initiatives designed to help all homeowners improve energy use in their homes. It’s easy to stay warm and save money this winter.