Avoid ugly utility bills this winter with easy makeovers for the most expensive rooms in your home.
Cost cutters worth repeating
- Install storm windows and weather stripping, and turn out the
- Insulate the garage door with foam panels you can cut
- Put foam inserts in outlets and light switch boxes on exterior
- Close vents in rooms you don’t use often.
- Lock windows for extra protection against drafts.
- Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
Cook up kitchen savings
Because food is one of the largest expenses, buying smart can yield massive savings. Kelly Whalen, founder of The Centsible Life (thecentsiblelife.com), champions cooking at home from a pre-determined, repeating meal plan. Whalen encourages taking one day each week to `clean out the fridge’ of leftovers and things that need to be eaten. After all that home cooking, open the oven door to let the heat warm the house. Another trick: Stop the dishwasher and open the door to let dishes air dry.
Wring pennies from the laundry room
For such a tiny space, the laundry room consumes a lot of resources. The primary culprit is the dryer. Use an indoor rack to cut down on dryer use. A good washing machine will help cut costs by extracting the most water from the clothes and using less water for washing. Washing in cold water will cut the heating bill, but is not always practical. Consider replacing old tank water heaters with heat pumps that only heat water as needed. (This saves money in the bathroom, too!)
Live in luxury, but don’t pay full price
In the living room, avoid cranking up the heat by investing in cozy blankets so you can cuddle up. Whalen recommends decreasing cable services, renting games and DVDs instead of buying, and being a smart consumer of big ticket items like TVs, sound systems and gaming consoles.