How Much Is This Winter Going To Cost You?
Winter is just around the corner and for many of us this will bring an avalanche of wonderful memories. Of building snowmen with our kids in a fluffy flurry of powdery white snow. Of hurling snowballs playfully at our significant other. Of snuggling up with the whole family in front of a warming fire. Of enjoying a hot cider spiced with cinnamon as we watch our kids play in the backyard. And, of course, of the unparalleled joy that comes with watching our kids unwap their Christmas presents and seeing their little faces light up at what lies beneath the gaudy wrapping paper.
Yes, there’s a lot to love about this time of year… But it can also be extremely expensive. At best it can compromise your carefully constructed household budget and at worst it can plunge your family into debt. Aside from the inevitable festive spending, there’s also the pronounced hike in energy costs when keeping our homes warm and cosy. If you haven’t already thought of ways in which you can mitigate the cost of this potentially expensive time of year, here are some great places to start…
Rethink your windows
Many of us lose an incredible amount of heat through our windows around this time of year. And if you think that just because you have double glazing that you’re getting the most energy efficiency for your money think again. Not all double glazed windows are created equal and there’s huge variation in energy efficiency between windows. Just check out these casement windows for some of the most energy efficient, money saving solutions on the market. If possible, you should look for windows that use thermally broken glass. This is where a layer of thermally resistant material is placed between layers of glass. This keeps the home warm in winter while also remaining cool in summer. Remember, you don’t have to compromise your home’s beautiful rustic aesthetic by adding replacement windows. They come in all sorts of styles and finishes.
If new windows are outside of your price range, consider replacing your regular curtains with energy efficient drapes. These will form an effective barrier against draughts from outside while also keeping your heat indoors where it belongs.
Get up in your attic
Now’s also the perfect timing to take a trip up into your attic and investigate your insulation. Rarely do most of us venture into the attic and in our absence our insulation can become home to crawling critters trying to escape from the cold. Look for any evidence of burrowing or gnawing in your insulation or any wooden joists in your attic space. Also keep your eyes peeled for rodent droppings and watch out for the distinctive odor of rat or mouse pee.
Replacing your insulation and putting down some humane traps can ensure that your attic keeps the heat in your home!
Winterize your pipes
Rarely do we think of our pipes in the winter months, but if we don’t take steps to winterize them now, they can burst later, resulting in a loss of running water and expensive repairs at a time of year when we could really do without both.
You can do this yourself (here’s how), without enlisting the aid of a professional and while it may be a little laborious, especially if you have a larger home, it can save you an absolute fortune in the long term.
Get those Christmas lists in early
Very often we can mitigate the expense of Christmas shopping for the little ones by asking them to get their Christmas lists to “Santa” nice and early. This will allow you to take the time to find the right deals from the right stores without the crazy dash around the toy stores that many parents still endure. If you have to resort to online shopping, it can not only mean that you get the best price, it can also guarantee that your goodies will arrive in plenty of time for the big day!
Have yourself a very veggie Christmas!
Nobody in their right mind would want to deprive themselves of a hale and hearty Christmas dinner. After all the season throws at us, we deserve to be able to indulge ourselves just a little… But a Christmas dinner can be an expensive prospect. For a more affordable (and more ethical) alternative, why not make this Christmas a veggie Christmas? Vegetarian ingredients are infinitely cheaper than meats (especially around this time of year when turkeys can get a whole lot more expensive), and there are still plenty of delicious and indulgent recipes to choose from.
With a little forward planning you can enjoy all the delights of winter at a fraction of the usual expense!