Each week for 52 weeks, I’m sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.
One great way to save a significant amount of money is to use a programmable thermostat. Here’s what Melody emailed in and said:
We save quite a bit of money by using my programmable thermostat wisely!
They say you can save about 10% off your heating bill by lowering the temp 3-4 degrees (this applies to your cooling bill in the summer, too). Of course, we keep our programmable thermostat cooler at night and during times we are out of the house, but I also have another trick I use for all day when I’m home. I keep the thermostat set for 62 degrees and then give myself permission to bump it up if I’m too cold.
I find about half the time I don’t even notice that it’s set so low, and if I do, it’s often in the afternoon so it’s only set higher for an hour or two. By starting at 62 degrees instead of 68 degrees I estimate that in our cold climate we save well over $100 a year! -Melody
Want to lower your house temperatures, but don’t want to feel freezing all the time? Here are some simple suggestions:
1. Stay Active
Clean your house, chase your kiddos around, do some jumping jacks, or walk up and down the stairs a few times. Get your heartrate pumping and you’ll forget that you turned the thermostat down!
2. Drink Hot Tea
I love a cup of hot tea with a splash of milk and honey! And it’s a great way to warm your insides up on a cold day.
3. Bake Something
Spend some time baking something yummy in your kitchen and you’ll warm yourself — and your house! — up in the process. Plus, you’ll have some delicious, fresh-from-the-oven food to eat, too! 🙂
4. Wear Socks
Anytime we’re cold, my first suggestion is to put some socks on. If your feet are warm, it usually helps the rest of your body to stay warm.
5. Put on Extra Layers
Instead of turning the thermostat up, put another layer on. We all have hoodies that we wear in the winter — often over another two layers — and it’s amazing how warm these keep you!
I loved this idea from Jody who blogs at Because I’m Me:
For a long time, I’ve been on my kids to turn the lights off, unplug things we’re not using, close the doors, take shorter showers, etc. They were tired of hearing it and weren’t listening.
One day a light bulb went on in the brain and I presented my children with the following offer: Each month the electric bill was below $190 they’d get the dollar amount the bill was below $190 (i.e.: if the bill were $180 they’d get $10). That money would go towards a party, be it candy, ice cream, cake, pizza, chips, whatever they could buy with that money. I never buy food like that, so it would be a real treat for them.
The first month the bill was still up there around $200, an encouraging improvement but not what they needed.
By the second month, the bill was only $162. Yup, almost $65 less than usual! Not too shabby. And it gave them $28 to blow on junk food. I never expected them to get it as low as that!
In addition to a lower electric bill, my children were able to learn valuable lessons. For example, how to budget that $28 to get the best bang for their buck while pleasing all six kids.
They opted to purchase store brand soda, inexpensive ice cream, lots of buy one, get one free items, use coupons, and to pass on some items that were just too expensive. When all was said and done they managed to have enough junk food for one fine party and many days of treats afterward, and they contributed $10 to a dinner of Chinese take-out!
Last week one of my sons said he wished we’d get an electric bill every day so he could keep track of the amount of the bill throughout the month. I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity for a “teachable moment”, so out came the electric bill, an explanation of how to read the meter and a brief “field trip” to the side of the house where the meter is. Now he can check every day, do the multiplication and addition and see if we’re staying on track.
We are now four months into this deal and the interest has not waned! –Jody
Related: 7 Tips to Reduce Your Heating Bill
How do you keep your heating bills lower? What are your best tricks for staying warm without turning up the heat?