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Hello, Wealth Builders (especially our North American Community),
We are halfway through our winter and it seems that it is becoming worse every week, a couple of cold snaps here and there. Lots of heavy snow storm. Some freezing rain during our commute to and fro work. Oh man, this year’s winter is restless.
Weel, we cannot do anything about our weather and changing climate, but at least we can winter-proof our budget! If we are not watchful of how we warm ourselves, our electricity bills and/or our personal budget could sky-rocket! So in today’s article, I will show you what are the ways you can do to lower your expenses during winter.
Upgrade for Energy Efficient Furnace
If you bought a 20-year-old plus house that has a furnace that is never been replaced, then it might be a good idea to invest in a new energy efficient furnace. The good news is many states in America or provinces in Canada encourage their citizens to upgrade their house into an energy efficient by providing grants on energy efficient furnace, windows, insulation, etc. be sure to check out for these grants and use them wisely.
According to the electric power and natural gas utility in Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, a brand new energy efficient furnace can save you as much as $12000 over its 25-year lifetime, so if you are not planning to move out anytime soon and you have an extra savings to upgrade your furnace, then I recommend that you should do this. Remember! $12000 over 25 years or $480 per year plus you reduce your pollution.
If you do not have money to buy for a new one, then at least get it checked by a specialist to see if there are small adjustments/ upgrades that can be done to improve the efficiency of your furnace to reduce your electric cost.
Clean Up or Upgrade Your Air Duct
Ring, ring, Duct cleaning! Have you got those annoying calls offering you air duct cleaning services? It might be annoying and some are probably scams but maintaining your air ducts will actually may help you same money!
Having an energy efficient furnace is a great way to save money on electrical bills but what is the use of it if the warm air doesn’t reach the places it needs to warm. It is important to get your air duct inspected to determine if there are any leaks or if the air duct system is efficiently distributing the warm air inside the house.
It is fairly common in most houses, especially the older ones, for people staying in the basement to wear only a shirt while those who are staying on the upper levels to wear a jacket or sweater. That my friend is a good indicator that your house is burning cash.
So should you change your air duct? Well, calculate your return on investment (R.O.I.) first. See how much you will save over the long run versus how much you will pay for reworking your air duct. If you will be saving a couple of hundreds of dollars per year, then go for it. You are not only saving money on your electrical bills, but you are also investing in your house, you better the comfort of everyone, and you reduce the pollution you are contributing. Win!
Invest in Smart or Programmable Thermostats
Who among you are guilty of leaving your furnace on because you do not want to come home to a frozen house after a long day? All of everyone in your house leaves at the same time and comes back at the same time, then that means your furnace is running for about a good 8 hrs for no reason!
Smart and/or programmable thermostat cost somewhere between $50 to $300, but the benefits outweigh the cost. For instance, you will save a ton of money on your energy bills if you turn off the heater before the last person leaves. If you have a smart thermostat and the last person to leave forgot to turn off the heater, you can still turn it off using your smartphone. Finally, using the same method, you can turn on your house’s furnace minutes before you come home. NEAT!
Programmable Thermostats also works fine. Set the time when your heater will shut off or turn on and/or automatically set the desired temperature at any given time.
Suggested Smart/Programmable Thermostats
Check Your Doors and Windows For Air Draft
Well ultimately, we want the cold air out and the hot air inside, so I think it would be wise if we will check our doors and windows for an air draft. If you spot one, attempt to fix the seal, but if you do not know how to do that, then cover the entire window with a plastic sheet. Just be sure the window you are sealing is not being frequently opened or closed. This simple hack will help you keep the cold air coming inside your house and the hot air coming out.
Another solution is to upgrade your windows/doors if you have a budget and/or there are grants from the government that are available.
But John Greg these tips are for the homeowners, I DON’T HAVE A HOUSE. Can you say something more useful to me?
Bundle Up and Turn Your Heater Down
No money to upgrade your furnace and/or your air duct? Or don’t even own one? Do not worry, there is another way to lower down your heating cost and that is by lowering your thermostat and bundling up. You do not need to wear your bulky winter coat, just a nice warm jacket would do. Nowadays, there are polyester or ultralight down sweaters that are as thin as a t-shirt and they are comfortable to wear.
You want to do this because lowering your heater couple of degrees will help you save a lot on your heating cost. WIN!
Use an Energy-Efficient Space Heater
Here is another tip that you can do if you do not have the money to upgrade your furnace. This also works well if you are living in a condo/apartment where you need to pay for your heater but don’t own a furnace.
You can use an energy efficient portable stand up heater to heat the room where people or you are in while leaving empty rooms on minimum heat! The beauty of this tip is the energy that you will need to heat a small room which is significantly lower compared to heating an entire house/condo/apartment, therefore, the electricity bill will be smaller.
Take note! Only use energy efficient stand-up heater or else you might end up paying more on your electricity bills
Suggested Energy Efficient Space Heater
Brew Your Own Tea or Coffee
I love my hot beverages, especially during winter times. However, the cost of coffee or tea can quickly pile up if you are not smart on your purchases. Instead of lining up to your favorite coffee shop or ordering ahead using your app, why not brew your own? Chances are your favorite coffee brand also sells their coffees on leading grocery chains and online retailers such as Amazon and they selling it for a considerably cheaper price.
By brewing your coffee, you can skip the lineup, therefore, saves you time plus your expense will be considerably lower. WIN!
Suggested Coffee Brewers:
Ditch the K-cups:
Your Favorite Coffee Brands:
Clean Your House
You might be thinking, “Okay, this list is now getting weird”, but hear me out.
How do people generate heat? … ahh … yeah not that one, but if you are a married couple you can do that too, why not?
Okay, let us keep our conversation “clean”. Cleaning your house will save you money because it will make you physically move, therefore, you will generate body heat. So do clean your house and exercise along the way to generate your own body heat instead of cranking up the heater when you are a little bit cold.
Doing this tip will not only lower your heating cost, but it will also help you exercise and keep your house clean. WIN!
Do Not Use Dehumidifier
We use dehumidifiers to ensure molds will not grow, but during winter the air is already dry so there is no need for it. In addition to, humidity keeps the temperature a bit higher compared to a non-humid atmosphere (as you probably observe during summer), so why would you remove it?
By simply not using a dehumidifier during winter, you effectively solve 2 problems at once – cut the electricity cost and increase the ambient temperature a bit. WIN!
Have a Positive Attitude
A famous princess once said, “Let it go.. The cold doesn’t bother me anyways”. I would say, she is a very wise princess and probably great on her finances too! She is right! As long as we are not freezing to death and/or at the verge of having hypothermia, we should be able to let go of some of our “conveniences” and embrace the cold temperature to save money for what is more important.
Most of the times we just want to crank up the heater because it is comfortable that way. We conditioned ourselves that cold weather is uncomfortable. However, I believe we should change our thinking and attitude and be grateful for what we have instead. We should be grateful that we still have a heated house instead of living on the streets. We should be grateful we have access to items that can keep as cozy. And we should be grateful that we can make hot beverages that will make us warm. Not everyone is as blessed as us, so a little sacrifice should not be that bad. WIN!
Do You Know Other Ways How to Save Money On Winter?
That is it for me ladies and gents. Now it is your turn!
What part of the article do you like the most? Are there some things that you want me to elaborate on?
Do you have other tips and tricks on winter-proofing your budget?
Your feedback is very important to our community! Please let us know your thoughts on the comment section!