Hello Skint pals and a big welcome to all of Skint’s new readers, who signed up after reading the Huffington Post piece last week. Delighted to have you here.
Something different today. In the first of an occasional series of guest posts, freelance energy writer Tara West gives us her take on ways to save money on staying cosy this winter. Over to you Tara . . .
When the temperatures drop and the days seem to get shorter, your first instinct may be to get home in a hurry and blast the heat so that you and your family can stay warm. However, you may start to regret your energy-dependent heating once you get the electric and gas bill.
There are ways for you to stay warm without burning through your household budget. Follow these six tips for a warm winter.
1. Use the fireplace.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace indoors, you should consider using it more often. Not only is this an excellent way to cut down on your heating bill but it can also bring your family together for some quality time. Make your fireside evenings extra special with a warm drink and holiday treats, and your family will soon be longing for cosy winter nights even in the warmer seasons.
2. Get a thermostat with a timer.
These simple devices can go a long way in saving you money on your energy bill, especially during the winter. You can programme your thermostat to operate at a lower temperature during the day when everyone is at work or school so that you never have to bother with changing the temperature manually. A good rule of thumb is to keep it between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit while you are at home and to lower it to the 50s when you are away.
3. Bundle up!
Even when you are inside, wear layers of comfortable clothing to keep your body temperature up. Investing in a few pieces made of wool or fleece for your winter wardrobe will ensure that you always have a sweater or two to slip on when you get chilly. And don’t forget about long johns and thick socks for your lower extremities.
4. Compare energy rates.
Even the most frugal homeowners sometimes find that their bills are too high. If you have taken every measure possible to lower your energy bill and it is still too high, consider switching to a different provider. You can look online to uswitch to compare energy prices, including your current rate, with other companies in your local area.
5. Fill in cracks and holes.
Brr. Don't even go there.
One of the most costly mistakes a homeowner can make is to not maintain the insulation of his or her home. Make sure to insulate the usually drafty places such as the attic, and check the weather-stripping on all the doors in the house. If your windows are made of single-pane glass, you may also want to consider replacing them with insulated glass.
6. Change your light bulbs.
If you are still using old-model incandescent bulbs, switch them for more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs or LED lights. These newer bulbs use far less energy while providing the same wattage of light, and they usually come in the same sizes and shapes as incandescent bulbs.
Thanks Tara – great tips there. While Tara’s been writing this, I’ve been busy whittling down my best-ever vintage bargains and will share them with you in the next post.
See you all soon – and as ever if you’ve got any pals that you think would like to receive Skint in the City’s regular posts please forward to them. The more the merrier round here.