Looking for ways to save money this winter? If so, you’re not alone. With many Americans tightening their belts, we asked some of our favorite money and finance bloggers for their top tips to help you save money and spend less. Here are some of their best suggestions – eight ways to safeguard your finances this winter.
1: Reduce household bills
The first thing you’ll need to do when seeking to cut costs is to take a long hard look at your regular household bills. Here you’ll need to think creatively, says Josh of Debt Roundup. Taking Stream Cable TV as an example, he offers this advice:
“If you currently have a $100+ monthly cable TV bill, you can watch the same channels for only $20. Companies like Sling TV let you stream ESPN, Disney, and many others for half the cost. All you need is an internet connection, and you can begin watching live programming and on-demand video from your tv, computer, or mobile device.”
Does that sound good? For more great suggestions, be sure to check out Josh’s, quick changes you can make to save $100 a month.
2: Downsize your home
Winter is the most cost-effective time to hunt for a home, says Sam at Financial Samurai:
“It’s cold, nobody wants to move, and the holidays are upon us. Therefore, anybody listing a home between November 1 – January 31 is likely a motivated seller. If you’ve been looking for a home and want to take advantage of all-time low mortgage rates, this winter could be the perfect time to find one.”
If you’re considering downsizing, now is a great time to do it, but before you do, please do check out Sam’s 30/30/3 rule for home buying. He says that because we’re spending more time there, the intrinsic value of our homes has never been greater, which makes it even more important to “buy your home with confidence and actually enjoy your purchase every day instead of fretting to pay the bills.”
3: Never put stuff in storage
Have you put stuff in storage? Mr Money Mustache says that’s a big no-no:
“I was shocked to learn that many people pay to maintain a permanent storage unit in this country. No, not just for a month after selling one house and before buying another one. They do it for years. At $100 per month or more. There’s a new way to store stuff that actually makes you money instead of losing it: Craigslist. Use it to store the stuff you don’t need. Re-buy it in the unlikely event you ever need it again.”
4: Learn to love DIY
What better way to save money than by picking up the necessary skills to tackle jobs in the home? Learning to love DIY not only reduces the need to employ the services of tradespeople, but also makes for a satisfying hobby. Daunted by the prospect of DIY? J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly, says:
“I’ve never really been a DIY type of guy. I used to get overwhelmed by home improvement. I felt unprepared, incompetent. More and more, though, I’m learning that I can do it myself. It just takes patience and perseverance. And the more projects I complete, the more confidence I gain.”
If you’re wondering how to develop the necessary confidence to work on your own home, J.D. has just the advice you need. Head over to his blog and check out his nine rules to help you embrace the do-it-yourself mindset.
5: Maintain your car
Taking good care of your car is a great way to save on expensive repairs when you least expect it, says David Ning of MoneyNing. Check your tire pressures regularly; during winter when the temperature drops, it makes the air in your tires denser, resulting in decreased pressure. Driving on under-inflated tires damages them, reduces your gas mileage, and affects your steering – it’s dangerous and sure to cost you more in the long run.
Frosty mornings? David says:
“Don’t roll down your windows right after you start your car in the winter, because water collected in the window seals and the mechanical parts of your door freezes when it’s left outside and rolling them down before the water thaws might damage them, causing leaky windows.”
6: Prioritise needs over wants
“We’re bombarded with advertising…and it can be a battle to not give in to the temptation and pressure to purchase,” says G.E. Miller of 20 Something Finance.
His advice is to resist buying new things until your old things fail, and even then, ask yourself whether you need a replacement at all. Practising a ‘contentment over consumerism’ mindset will save you thousands of dollars and make you feel better:
“We went from 2 cars to 1, and later negotiated a heavily discounted new car with cash and are still driving it 9 years later. My commuter bike, purchased in 2003, has definitely seen better days, but learning basic bike maintenance and skipping upgrades has kept it alive.”
7: Ask your employer to help
Working from home? According to the guys at The Simple Dollar, a recent survey revealed that 42% of Americans are currently doing just that. As they go on to explain, the new work-from-home imperative is also saving businesses a lot of money on their overheads. If paying for internet upgrades, office equipment, and consumables is costing you money, don’t be afraid to ask your employer to foot some, or all, of the bill.
The Simple Dollar identifies six out-of-pocket expenses you should consider asking for help with. These include your wifi router/VPN, your computer and/or monitor, and your desk and chair. For more suggestions, do be sure to check out their post.
8: Value your time
We’ve all heard the expression, ‘time is money’, but how many of us stop to ask ourselves how much our time is worth? David Stein of Money for the Rest of Us says:
“In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote that ‘the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it…’ The ‘life’ Thoreau is referring to is the time we spend earning money to buy a good or service. As we prepare for the coming winter months, we should indeed make the connection between how much ‘life’ we are exchanging for the goods and services we buy and make sure that we are comfortable with the trade-off.”
A sobering thought, David says the disruption caused by coronavirus is an excellent opportunity to stop and question our relationship with money – spending less time chasing material wealth frees up precious hours to spend with friends and family.
We hope you find out experts’ money-saving recommendations useful and informative. Of course, our tip is to invest in good quality, well-made clothes and leather shoes that are made to last. If you have a money-saving idea you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Head over to Facebook or Twitter and leave us a message.