While winter certainly does not prompt a time to save money, but now is as good of time as every to start making money moves that will help you save money and be able to get ahead, for example, paying down debt, building an emergency fund, and contributing more towards retirement. With Christmas shopping coming up in the next couple months or so, even for some that already started, it’s not a bad time to take control of your finances so you can afford to splurge a little on gifts for your loved ones. After all, there is more to life than pinching every penny. Sometimes you have to live a little, while still making practical purchases and not throwing money out into the cold air.
Check Your Home for Energy Efficiency
While you may have noticed in the summer, your air conditioning kicking on more than you’d think it should be, quickly adds up on your electric bill statement. With the winter coming, any loss of heat can cause your furnace to do the same, kick on more often and cause your gas bill to go through the roof. By taking a look at doors, windows, even outlets that are shared with the outside and sealing properly, you can try and limit and drafts that can cause cold air to enter. Additionally, be sure that you chance the air filter in the furnace every few months as needed, to make sure it’s runny to its optimal level.
Use a Rewards Credit Card
If you are using a credit or debit card that does not earn you points or cashback for using, now is the time to stop there and apply for a better one. By missing out on rewards, you can be looking at leaving hundreds of dollars a year on the table, depending on how much you spend. Monthly bills and purchases add up as they are, so why not try and get back every penny you can. Just be careful not to overspend now that you see the rewards add up because if you’re not able to pay back the balance by the due date you’ll begin getting charged interest and that would negate any rewards you’ve earned and just amount to a load of debt.
Eat More Meals at Home
While going out for lunch, picking up carryout, your favorite restaurant for dinner, even grabbing coffee in the morning, adds up quickly. If you can reduce the amount of times going out, go grocery shopping, and prepare meals at home, you can quickly see hundreds of dollars a month add up, and you may even see a few pounds fall off as you start to eat healthier at home. Not saying you have to never go out to eat again, but even cutting down to once a week out would still make a significant difference.
Curb Online Shopping Habit
You can find yourself trapped inside during the winter months, whether it’s the roads, or just feeling lazy and would rather stay warm in the comfort of your own home, that can open up online shopping a little more as you don’t feel the need to go to the store. The problem is, you don’t actually see any money change hands and the click of a buy-now can turn into plenty of extra costs on your next statement that you will find yourself wondering how you will be able to pay back.
Cut the Cable Cord
While summer is probably a more opportune time to cancel cable so you can spend more time outdoors, but why continue to waste money every month on a cable bill when you no longer have to. By getting an HD antenna for around $30 you are still able to get all of the local channels in perfect high definition, while subscribing to a streaming service for two for around $10 a month or so each will still let you catch up on all the best shows, there doesn’t seem any reason to continue to pay a couple hundred dollars a month on hundreds of channels you only watch when you DVR a show.
Avoid Service Fees
As someone who enjoys attending concerts and sporting events, whether you buy tickets on the even site or from a secondary market, there are service charges that add up to seemingly half of the ticket price that is tacked on at the end. Save yourself a lot of trouble and buy directly from the box office. You’ll only pay for face value, and if you plan ahead, you can buy multiple events while you’re there, in case it’s a drive to get there.