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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

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      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 July 10, 2020

              The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

              The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

              Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

              Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

              Identifying All of Your Debts

              The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

              Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

              1. Own Your Debt

              Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

              Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

              2. Make a Debt Tracker

              It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

              Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

              3. Get Your Debt Number

              Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

              Prioritizing Your Debts

              All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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              1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

              Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

              There are three main types of bad debt:

              • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
              • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
              • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

              Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

              • Student Loan Debt
              • Mortgage Loan
              • Business Loans

              2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

              Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

              Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

              If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

              3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

              Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

              Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

              Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

              1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

              “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

              It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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              Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

              Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

              2. Hide Your Credit Cards

              If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

              Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

              3. Automate Everything

              Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

              4. Plan Ahead

              Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

              For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

              5. Live Cheaply

              The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

              • Live with roommates
              • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
              • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
              • Take public transit or bike to work

              Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

              The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

              If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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              1. Maintain a High Credit Score

              Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

              • Never miss a payment
              • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
              • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
              • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
              • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

              2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

              Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

              Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

              If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

              How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

              Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

              1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

              Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

              Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

              2. Earn More Money

              There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

              Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

              Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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              Talk to Your Boss

              Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

              Start a Side Hustle

              This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

              Build an Online Business

              There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

              3. Celebrate Your Wins

              As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

              While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

              4. Set New Financial Goals

              Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

              Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

              These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

              Conclusion

              Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

              Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

              More Tips on Getting out of Debt

              Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

              Reference

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