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Money Saving Tips: Winter Waste

Updated on June 21, 2014

Waste Not Want Not

Times are tough. When you're already on a budget it can be even more difficult to make ends meet come the colder months of the year. Heating bills go up, as do electric bills with less daylight to offer warmth and light to our homes. Keeping these bills down to a manageable level along with other money saving tricks can help you get through winter without feeling like you're just tossing your money into the fire.


Window Treatment:

Often times, particularly in older homes, the largest source of heat loss comes from leaky windows. Your hard earned money and heat is literally getting sucked right out of the window!

Here are some ways to put a stop to higher heating bills through proper winter window care:

  • If you have storm windows, install them
  • Place plastic around the inside and/or outside of each window
  • Use heavy curtains to cover windows, preventing drafts and forming an insulating barrier

If you have pets or small children, using an outdoor plastic may be a safer and more economical choice to ensure the plastic is not punctured and/or your pets and children do not come to harm from misuse of the plastic.

Plastic coverings can also be found for sliding glass or French doors. Read the packaging to make sure you are purchasing the correct type for your home and use.


Draft Stoppers:

Doors are the second most troublesome area where heat is lost. There are a number of ways to prevent heat loss when dealing with the doors in your home leading to the outside:

  • Check to make sure that your door has a proper seal. There is weather stripping available for doors in the event that you can feel a strong draft coming from the space between your door and door frame.
  • If you have an attached garage, consider using the garage door rather than the front door. When doing this enter the garage, close the garage door before opening the door leading into your home. While the temperature of your garage may be the same as outside, the wind will be blocked, therefore resulting in less heat loss when entering the home.
  • Use draft stoppers at the base of your exterior doors. The more heat you can retain, the less your furnace has to work to replace it.


Clean and Efficient

Cleanliness is cost effective! Clean out your air ducts and furnace. Be sure to change your air filter regularly. Not only because you want to have clean air cycling through your home, because it's cheaper too!

A dirty furnace runs at nearly half of it's capability, meaning it has to work twice as hard to keep you warm! Ouch! Not only is that going to nickle and dime you to death each winter, it's going to shorten the life of your furnace substantially, which is going to cost you big time when it finally quits all together.


Alternative Heating

A great way to save money during the winter is by doing something that has a double benefit, rather than just a single cause. Cooking on the stove or in the oven helps heat your home back up without the use of the furnace. With all of the other winterizing you've done, it does an even more efficient job!

The more you can bake or use the oven, the better. Here are some great ideas that will warm the belly while also warming your home:

  • Homemade breads, rolls, biscuits, pies, and cookies
  • Casseroles, bakes, or hot-dishes
  • Chili, stew, or soups

In the fall, when the weather is just starting to chill down; making your own jams and jellies is a great way to get into the swing of using your stove and oven to help warm up the home. Don't forget about baked potatoes and meatloaf!


Jump Around!

Exercise is a great way to produce heat, body heat that is! The more you move the warmer you will become. This will allow you to keep your home at a cooler temperature without feeling chilled to the bone.

It doesn't have to be an exercise routine filled with sets, reps, and some hyper guy screaming at you from a DVD on your television screen. There are plenty of ways to keep busy and warm during the day (or evening) that don't appear to be a work out (but they really are).

  • Folding and putting away laundry
  • Walking up and down the stairs
  • Sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming
  • Dusting, moving furniture to either rearrange or vacuum behind (or underneath)
  • Playing a game with your kids
  • Playing with your pet
  • Dancing in the living room
  • Scrubbing or deep cleaning

If you're moving, you're exercising. Get up off that couch and get moving! Staying active means staying warm without any extra cost; plus it has the benefit of keeping or getting you in better shape. Double bonus!

Dress Up!

Or at least dress in layers. You can always add more layers to an outfit if you're getting chilly. Keeping your furnace set at a lower temperature while adding a few extra layers saves a bundle (pun intended).

  • Long-johns
  • Wool socks
  • Sweaters or sweat-shirts
  • Afghans, shawls, or blankets
  • Booties or fuzzy slippers

10% of your body heat leaves through your feet, while another 10% escapes through your head! If you cover just those 2 parts of your body you can conserve 20% of your heat. That's a lot of heat! Don't be afraid to grow your hair longer, wear hats, or keep your neck covered, and cover those tootsies!

Plan Ahead & Save

Now that you're saving so much more money this winter by implementing the tips above, it's time to save even more:

If you know that last year you spend an average of $200 each month on heating and this year you've cut that down to even $150 each month; take that $50 per month and put it away. This is to be used as your "upgrade" fund! Even if it is enough to purchase a single new window, that new window is going to save money for you next winter!

Is your furnace on it's last leg? Use your "upgrade fund" to purchase a newer model when they go on sale during the hot season when not very many people are thinking about purchasing a furnace.

Planning ahead and purchasing newer, more energy efficient windows, doors, or appliances is only going to benefit you even more in the long run. Not only is it going to keep your costs lower, it is going to raise the value of your home.

Stay warm & enjoy the savings this winter!


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    • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

      Mom Kat 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks pstraubie48. Isn't it funny how quickly we get used to our environments? I'm a born & raised Minnesotan, I doubt I'll ever leave here. 13 below zero with added wind-chill is not uncommon here. Winterizing a house here is practically mandatory :)

      I appreciate your comment & support!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      8 years ago from North Central Florida

      Hi Mom Kat...

      These are excellent tips. I live in Florida and when it is below 50 I start to feel a chill which is rather amusing as I grew up in Virginia where we had snow each winter and lived other places where we had cold weather. In South Dakota when it was 30 I did not often wear a coat as it felt like a heat wave in the winter.

      Seeing these tips gives me more ways to remedy in cold trying to sneak in and steal the warm this winter. thanks for sharing this..Voted up

    • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

      Mom Kat 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks Ruchira. Thrifty and frugal choices are all around us, we just need to look for them :)

      I agree, with the economy in the state it's in, the best thing we can all do is find ways to reduce spending.

      I appreciate your comment. Have a terrific day :)

    • Ruchira profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Great tips, momKat. Being frugal is a good choice these days 'cause it helps in the long run esp with this kinda economy.

      loved your ideas :) voted up as interesting!

    • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

      Mom Kat 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks rachelattech. I appreciate your added input. Congrats on the new windows! You're correct ~ they do help out a great deal.

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Hot Springs, AR

      I would like to add to check and see if your electric company offers levelized billing. I have found that too helps. I also go with the recommendations Lipnancy. We recently went through our house and was able to replace most of our windows and it seems to have helped out alot.

    • Mom Kat profile imageAUTHOR

      Mom Kat 

      8 years ago from USA

      You're so right Lipnancy. My hubby and I are looking into getting a new furnace this spring... it's our last year with the dinosaur we've had since I got the place. I'm looking forward to all of the savings the newer models offer! Window replacement is also on the list :)

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      8 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      You would truly be amazed how much money can be saved by replacing just a 15 year old heater with a new one! Also replacing old windows with new energy efficient one cools you in the summer and heats you in the winter.


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