While there’s lots to love about winter, from holiday celebrations to opportunities for skiing and other snow sports, the season can also be expensive. All of those Christmas presents, parties, and often higher utility bills due to the chilly weather can really add up.
While you could buy one of the Oakland houses for sale or a home in another city with a more mild climate to avoid the insane cost of heating that comes with living somewhere subject to frigid winter weather, there are lots of other ways to save without having to pack up and leave.
Give Free or Almost Free Gifts
A Gallup study found that consumers planned to spend $942 on Christmas gifts in 2019, but there’s no reason to shell out that much cash (or wrack up credit card debt). The best gifts aren’t necessarily the most expensive. In fact, free or almost free presents tend to require more thought and creativity and are likely to be even more appreciated by the recipient. You could give them the gift of time, perhaps offering to watch your sister’s kids so that she can have a day to herself. Coupons good for babysitting, pet-sitting, or house-sitting are often highly appreciated.
Or you might use your talents to make a homemade gift that will only cost you the supplies. If you have special recipes for dishes your friends are always wanting to know the secrets for, perhaps handed down from your grandmother, you could write out the best and combine them into a booklet.
Instead of throwing fancy dinner parties, host potlucks, which will not only help you save on the expense of putting together elaborate meals, but also a lot of time, something that’s precious around the holidays.
Turn Down the Heat, Using Sweaters and Blankets Instead
One of the biggest expenses of winter are those exorbitant heating bills, especially if you live in an area subject to below freezing temperatures. You don’t have to go extreme by living without heat – turning it down even just a few degrees at night and when you aren’t home can help you save big. Instead of instantly turning up the temperature when you feel a chill, use sweaters and blankets instead.
There are other ways to reduce the cost of heating, too, like installing a smart thermostat, covering bare floors with throw rugs, and blocking all drafts using weather-stripping or a small rolled-up blanket. Keeping your curtains closed can help prevent cold air from coming in through the windows too.
Don’t Leave the Christmas Lights on 24/7
Many people forget about all the holiday lights they’ve strung up and just leave them on 24/74, from the lights on their Christmas tree and the garland on the mantle to exterior lights. Anything left on while you’re away or asleep is going to raise the total on your electric bill unnecessarily – and those holiday lights on your tree can be a fire hazard too. Be sure to turn everything off before going to bed or leaving the house to save the expense and reduce the safety risk.