Changing Your Habits Will Lower Utility Bills this Winter 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

You may have read other posts about how to save money in your home this winter, or winterizing your car while still saving money, but we’ve noted there are a lot of ways that you can save money through personal habits during the cold temperature months; these are things you can do apart from winterizing your home or car.

If you’re one of those who become a little intimidated by the idea of making a new habit (believe us, we know the feeling), consider these tips things you can do during the winter to save money and avoiding the necessity of finding loans to pay your utility bill.

Try printing out this list and putting it on your fridge, or near your desk or somewhere prominent and just peruse it every now and then and try some of these tips just to see if they help. Every one of them is designed to save you money both in the immediacy as well as in the long term.

Lunch and a Movie

OK, it’s your day off, and you’re the social type. Maybe you’ve got a date, or perhaps you want to do something with your family. Most of us tend to go out during the evening, see a movie, and get dinner. But consider the possibility of going out in the afternoon, getting lunch, and seeing an afternoon movie.

1) Lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner.

2) Most theaters run movies at matinee prices during the afternoon

3) When most people stay home on their day off (in the Winter months), they tend to crank up the heater when most other days at the same time, the heater is off. When you get home in the late afternoon. Kind of makes an odd sort of sense, doesn’t it? You probably saved close to a hundred dollars (assuming you’re out with a family of four) by having lunch, a matinee, and not turning on the heater during the day.

Take Shorter Showers

Nothing feels better on a chilly morning than standing under that hot running water. We’re not suggesting you stop this practice altogether (it can be therapeutic at times), but if you are in the habit of taking longer than ten minutes in the shower, consider the possibility of taking longer showers less frequent. You should also limit baths to an occasional personal indulgence (contrary to the popular myth, baths actually use up more water than showers). Get yourself in the habit of washing as soon as you step into the shower and get out as soon as you can. Your water heater works less, and over time will save you money.

Run a Full Dishwasher

If you have a dishwasher, use it only when it’s absolutely full. If you just had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, clean your dishes by hand and put them in a drainer to put away later. Again, this saves the usage of your water heater.

Wash Your Clothes Less

OK, we’re not suggesting you wear that one shirt until it gets up and walks itself to the laundry room, but consider re-using some items of clothing more than once before tossing them in the laundry. We’ll let you decide which items you deem worthy of re-wearing, but it’s good to get out of the “wear it once, toss it in the laundry” habit. Fewer laundry loads mean less hot water usage means long term savings.

Wear Warmer Clothes and Turn the Heat Down

Do you come home from work and change into thin pajamas, even during the winter months? Throw on a sweatshirt and perhaps more layers (there are ways you can do this and still be comfortable) and maybe turn down the heat a couple of degrees. The difference between 68 and 70 degrees over the winter months can add up to several hundred dollars. Utilize blankets while watching TV or sitting at your computer, and maybe brew up some hot tea to warm up the insides. Get your casual evening wear at a thrift store and save even more.

Make Your Own Coffee

We’ve said this quite a few times, and it seems to apply even more during the winter months since people tend to bring coffee into work for warmth purposes. Brew your own and carry a thermos into work instead of grabbing the four-dollar latte. If you absolutely need the fancy coffee, then count how much you spend on it in a month and figure out if it would be cheaper to buy an espresso machine. Chances are you’ll still save money, but better chances are you’ll find that basic coffee is excellent for every day and the latte can be relegated to an occasional treat.

Give up Smoking

Studies show that habitual smokers tend to smoke more during the winter months. An average smoker can spend up to $2,000 a year on cigarettes. You do the math.

Quit the Gym

So many people get gym memberships because it’s too cold to jog outside during the winter. Check out the myriad of online fitness courses (start with YouTube) and try those out by exercising in your own home and save on the membership fees.

Get a Dog

Sure, this may sound like an expenditure, but dogs will cuddle up to you on the couch (there are inexpensive couch protectors if you value your furniture) and in bed and provide extra warmth. They’ll also provide extra security, be a companion for the kids, and help out with the winter blues if you tend to get them.

Buy Efficient Appliances

Buy one with the energy star label on it. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new water heater, consider one of the “endless hot water” models that only heat water when you use it. They are more expensive in the short term but save you plenty of money in the long run.