Wintertime can provide the perfect opportunity to save money. Typically, people tend to stay indoors more often and leave the big spending for summertime. This is especially true right now, with COVID-19 still in full swing in the country. If you’ve been looking for extra ways to save lately, we have some great tips to help you save money this winter.
Tips to Save Money on Shopping
Being cooped up inside in the winter can lead to a strong urge to shop and fill your home with things you love. If you’ve been feeling the temptation to hit up Amazon lately or go big on the Christmas gifts for the family this year, consider the below tips to keep your spending under control, helping you save money.
Try the 30 Day Rule
The 30 day rule is a great way to curb impulse buying! And it’s super simple to do – if you have some willpower. When you come across something you want to buy, but don’t absolutely need, give yourself 30 days to consider whether you still want it. Set aside the money you were going to use to purchase it (somewhere safe, where you won’t spend or lose it). Then, every day over 30 days, think about that item, how much it costs, and how it might work in your life. If, after the 30 days, you have decided you still really want it, go ahead and get it. But the odds are, you will have lost that strong urge to purchase it.
Holiday Gifting with Purpose
The holidays can really eat a hole in your wallet if you let them. If you’re trying to save money, Christmas gifts can derail the best of plans. Instead of buying on a whim or everything on your family’s wish list, try shopping for gifts with a purpose. One great way to do this is to follow this little rhyme for gifts: Buy them something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Three out of these four gifts have useful function to them and one is a little fun splurge. This will help prevent buying things that may not even get used, like a bunch of toys.
Stick to Those Lists
You’ve likely heard it time and time again, but the best way to save money when shopping is to make a list and stick to it! This helps you avoid impulse buys. If you’re playing it safe with online shopping this winter for your groceries or gifts, make a list for this too. It might seem silly at first, but it can be so easy to get distracted when shopping online, even for groceries. Create your list ahead of time of everything you need and follow that list to a “T” when you’re ready to make your purchase. Better yet, go one step further and create a budget for groceries, toiletries, etc. and make sure that your list items stay within that budget before buying them.
Tips to Save Money on Utilities
In addition to prompting the urge to shop, winter can also bring with it higher than usual utility bills. Cold Illinois winters mean a steady-running furnace at home and early sunsets will have you turning on those lights around the house by 5pm. This adds to your energy bill.
Heating Your Home
To help combat this increase, make sure that you are setting your thermostat on a reasonable temperature and lowering it during the day, especially if you are not home during this time. Many people turn it down during the day so that it runs the furnace less often and turn it up slightly at night to keep you nice and cozy while you sleep.
You can give your furnace a little assistance by using window insulator kits to weatherize your windows, keeping the drafts out and the heat in. It can also be helpful to open the curtains or blinds when the sun is able to shine in the house and closing them when it’s not.
Light the Way to Savings
When it comes to artificial light sources, be sure to keep those lights turned off when you aren’t using them. It’s pretty common to leave lights on throughout the home, even when we aren’t using all of the rooms they are on in. This can add to your energy bill. If you leave a room, turn the lights off on your way out. Be sure to talk to your kids about this too, since they are typically the biggest culprits.
You should also replace your lightbulbs with energy-saving LEDs. These bulbs use about 80% less electricity while providing the same brightness.
Tips to Save Money on Bills
Lastly, you can save some money this winter by evaluating your monthly expenses. Are you paying for services that you no longer use like a gym membership or Netflix account? Make a list of each bill you pay every month and ask yourself if there are any that you can do without.
You can also save some money with the services you do need. For example, are you paying for a policy on your auto insurance that has coverage that you don’t need? Perhaps you can reduce your coverage slightly to save some money. Or have you shopped around for a better-priced policy with a different company. Different service providers offer different prices, often for the same or similar services. Do a price comparison on your auto insurance, cable, phone, and any other service that you may be able to save on. If you find a better price that offers similar service, go ahead and make the switch to save yourself some cash every month.
As you can see, there are multiple ways that you can save money this winter. Try some of them for yourself and see how well they work for you. The next step would then be to consider what you are going to do with the money you save. Do you have a large purchase you are saving up for? Could you invest it into savings or a retirement account for your future? Or maybe you need to build up your emergency fund. Whatever you do with your money saved, South Suburban Currency Exchange is here to help you use it wisely. With a long list of helpful services and offerings like check cashing, prepaid debit cards, state renewal stickers, and auto insurance, you can take care of multiple financial and personal needs all at one place.