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11 Life Hacks to Save Energy During the Winter

11 Life Hacks to Save Energy During the Winter

For many households, winter is the most expensive time of the year. It is not just the holiday costs associated with the season that creates this expense. The heating costs due to cold weather can also cause your utility bill to skyrocket.

Heating a home is not cheap. In fact, the cost for heat continues to increase.

This means it is more important than ever for people to take steps to reduce their energy usage and decrease their costs. Here are 11 life hacks to help you save energy during the winter.

1. Turn Down the Heat 3 Degrees

You might not know this, but even the smallest margin can make a significant difference. Turning your heat down just 3 degrees can save 10% on your energy bill.

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Save Energy During the Winter

    2. Fill Your Wall Cavities

    It is important that your walls are insulated. The costs savings this will create can vary based on the size and type of your home. However, no matter how much the savings every little bit helps. You should definitely have a consultation to see if insulation is right for you.

    3. Seal up the Leaks

    23

      Caulking leaks around windows and doors can save energy in the winter. You should try to find places where there are pipes, vents, or electrical conduits that go through a wall, ceiling, or floor. You should definitely check the bathroom, under the kitchen sink, and any pipes inside a closet. When you find gaps where the pipe or vent goes into the wall, you should seal it up. Remember, caulk works the best when used on small gaps. There are other products that are available for larger gaps.

      4. Reduce Hot Water Temperature

      You should set your hot water heater to the “normal” setting, or to a temperature of 120-degrees Fahrenheit. This is unless your dishwasher’s owner’s manual requires a higher level. Setting your water heater to this level can save 7-11% of water heating costs.

      5. Download the Hive App

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        The Hive app is a way to connect your thermostat to your mobile device. This app allows you to check your home’s temperature through the app and change or turn off the thermostat remotely. This gives you more flexible control of your environment and is a great way to maximize the internet of things.

        6. Foil Your Radiators

        Putting a sheet of foil between your radiator and your wall reflects the heat back into the room instead of out through the walls. This is a simple but valuable way to keep your heat in and reduce expenses. This is easy to do with tinfoil and cardboard or specialist radiator foil.

        7. Keep Your Radiator Clear

        It is essential that you keep things away from your radiator. This includes furniture and any other items that prevent heat from circulating at maximum efficiency. You want the heat to be able to move freely throughout your room.

        8. Only Heat Rooms You Use

        Sometimes we have rooms we never use. Like guest rooms or storage areas. These rooms should be closed off with their vents sealed to be more energy efficient. This will also help direct the flow of air into the rooms which are used the most. The average energy bill is $183 per month. If you use a space heater in the rooms you use and set your thermostat to 62 degrees, you will save about $200 each year.

        9. Close Your Doors

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        Close Your Doors

          This may seem obvious but you would be shocked how many people need to be reminded. Closing your internal doors helps to keep the heat in and also prevents cold air from circulating in rooms that are not occupied.

          10. Increase Your Window Glazing

          Increase Your Window Glazing

            When you double glaze your windows you keep more heat in. This means you do not need to keep your thermostat as high as you do with a single glazed window. Another benefit is that you will hear less noise from outside and you can make more noise inside. This is great for when you want peace and quiet or to have a rocking party.

            You can even install triple glazed windows, which provide an even greater barrier to keep out the noise and lose less heat.

            11. Use LED Holiday Lights

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            Use LED Holiday Lights

              Decorate with LED lights during the holidays. You can purchase new LED holiday lights which use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lights. LED lights also don’t emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage. This makes them a much safer alternative. You should also always unplug your holiday lights before going to sleep or leaving your house. These lights continue to draw power even when they are not in use. This can add unnecessary expenses to your utility bill.

              Conclusion

              By following these 11 life hacks you can avoid unnecessary costs over the winter and put more money back into your pocket. Use it to save energy for your home for a rainy day or take that trip you have always wanted to take. Almost anything is better than unnecessarily spending it on your utility bill.

              Featured photo credit: tumblr via 67.media.tumblr.com

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              Vikas Agrawal

              Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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              Last Updated on September 2, 2020

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

              In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

              4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

              Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

              1. Be Clear About the Objectives

              Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

              It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

              Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

              2. Keep Goals Realistic

              It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

              It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

              3. Account for Inflation

              Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

              Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

              For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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              4. Short Term Vs Long Term

              Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

              As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

              By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

              How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

              Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

              • Ensuring healthy savings
              • Making smart investments

              You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

              Ensuring Healthy Savings

              Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

              This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

              1. Track Expenses

              The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

              Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

              If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

              2. Pay Yourself First

              Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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              Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

              The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

              Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

              3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

              Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

              Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

              At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

              Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

              You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

              4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

              In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

              Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

              • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
              • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
              • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

              The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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              5. Talk About It

              Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

              Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

              6. Maintain a Journal

              For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

              If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

              When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

              Making Smart Investments

              Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

              1. Consult a Financial Advisor

              Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

              Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

              2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

              Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

              Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

              As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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              3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

              Einstein once remarked about compounding:

              “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

              Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                The Bottom Line

                Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                More Tips on Financial Goals

                Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                Reference

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