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In most parts of the country, utility usage rises in the winter months. This isn't surprising since with less daylight and colder weather we spend more time indoors, so the need for heating, water heating, and lighting is greatest during these months. Of course, this also means that the accompanying utility bills rise as well. You can't do anything to change the temperature outside, but with a little bit of planning and effort, you can take steps to keep you comfortable while you're inside without spending a fortune.
Climate control systems use more energy than any other systems in our homes. Over 40% of an average family's energy bills is spent to keep homes at a comfortable temperature. Some ways to reduce this usage are:
Heat escapes out of homes through drafty doors and windows, and through ceilings and walls that aren't insulated. One of the least expensive and most effective tools you can invest in is a caulk gun, but there are other inexpensive steps you can take as well:
After you've undertaken most of the low cost projects to make your home as energy efficient as possible, it's time to evaluate whether more extensive steps should be taken. You may want to consider getting an energy audit of your home to help you identify where you are needlessly wasting energy. Call your local utility company to find energy auditors. It may supply this service free of charge or recommend an auditor. Either way, it's probably worth getting professional advice before investing in more expensive projects. Some things you should consider that may provide the biggest and longest terms savings are:
You can lower your utility bill and save money by conducting a thorough inspection of your home and identifying areas where you can become more energy efficient. Installing insulation, maintaining and upgrading climate systems and appliances, and practicing energy-efficient behaviors can make a home more comfortable and save money. Even if you have to invest some money to make your home more energy efficient, by making sensible choices you should be able to offset these costs in utility savings in just a couple of seasons.
Saving the planet might seem like a tall order, especially when saving money is a more immediate concern. But as it turns out, living an eco-friendly lifestyle can actually help you to cut costs and get on firmer financial footing. Switching to energy-saving light bulbs, for example, could shave hundreds of dollars off your energy bill each year, while breaking the bottled water habit can add up to thousands in annual savings. Are you ready to go green-and save green? Follow these tips to get started.
Spent too much over the holidays? Find out how to overcome post-holiday debt in the new year.
For many people, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year-a special season for family, friends, and festive parties. But there's another side to the merriment: According to a Consumer Reports survey, in 2008 roughly 12 million Americans were still paying off credit card debt for holiday purchases they'd made the year before.
With winter's combination of colder days and less daylight it's tempting to hole up in our nice cozy houses until spring returns. Spending more time indoors can quickly lead kids and adults alike to run out of things to do. One solution is to run to a nice cozy mall, movie theatre, or café and spend our way out of boredom. But for most of us who are on a budget, that isn't the best decision.
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