Winter brings more spending in more ways than just the holidays. Heating costs increase, cars burn more gas in the cold, and we tend to turn more to warm, comfort foods (aka hibernation mode). In the cold winter months, we tend to look for things that are comforting and warm. The Danish call it “hygge;” it loosely translates as coziness, but encompasses feelings along with that physical comfort.
It is possible to retain your winter coziness while trimming winter costs. Here are our suggestions for keeping your spending in check through the winter months.
1. Trim energy costs
Taking the time to weatherproof your house (caulking, weather-stripping, and sealing around windows and doors) is a sure way to keep heat in and cold out. Bonus: it’ll do the same in the summer when the AC is on. If that’s not quite in your wheelhouse, even picking up a plastic shrink window insulation kit can help out.
If you’re building a smart home, pick up a programmable thermostat that you can control from your phone when you aren’t home, let the thermostat drop, and start to bring the temperature back up when you’re on your way back home. If you’re hardcore, turn it down at night, too (although, from my perspective...at least keep the bathroom heated!).
2. Take care of your vehicle
Believe it: your car burns more gas in the winter than in other months. There are a few aspects to this that you can’t really get around (cars need more gas to lubricate the engine when warming from warm to cold, for example) but here are a few of the main things to watch for:
a. Keep an eye on your tire pressure. Winter is generally cold, but the temperature changes can make your tires deflate at a higher rate. Every pound of pressure can affect your fuel efficiency.
b. Clean your car out. I know, it’s so tempting to leave things in your car versus carrying them inside in the cold. This also affects your fuel efficiency.
c. Consolidate trips. Try do your shopping and other errands at centers where your car doesn’t have to warm up and cool off over and over.
3. Find ways to do more at home
Have a movie night at home! Movies are fun to go-to in the winter. It’s warm inside, popcorn is being popped, and adventures on the screen. But you can have the same type of cozy winter fun for a fraction of the cost. Have a movie night at home instead of going out. With so many movie watching choices like Amazon and Netflix, you can catch the latest movies while staying warm and cozy. Plus, you’re saving the gas money too – double win!
4. Choose an inexpensive New Year’s resolution
Sometimes when we choose a resolution, it’s easier to focus on the material part of the resolution instead of spending the time to turn it into a habit. The most common New Year’s resolution is to become healthier. It’s no accident that most gyms offer some sort of sign up deal in January, betting (correctly) that most of those new memberships will soon resemble donations. Opt to try out home workouts first. Or some less expensive form of resolution.
Comfort means feeling secure in your mind, body and external trappings like finances. Take some time to figure out how to trim costs this winter to bring everything into your own kind of *hygge* world.