Money at 30: How I’m Saving Money This Winter
Only a few short weeks ago I was basking in the perfect fall weather after what seemed to be the longest summer ever. Now it’s officially winter — complete with plummeting temperatures and all the holiday madness you’d expect. With both of these facets our frugality is under attack!
Okay that’s a little overly dramatic but it’s true that a number of winter factors do cause people to spend more. On that note I thought I would share some of the ways that I personally am attempting to save money during this often harsh season:
The holidays can be a bit of a challenge when you’re living no less than 750 miles from your nearest family member. Since we are typically unable to travel for group gatherings, we end up shipping our holiday gifts to each other so we can at least keep in touch that way. Unfortunately, even being centrally located in the middle of the country, those shipping costs can get quite pricey.
That’s why my wife and I have learned to take advantage of online retailers where shipping is included. This allows us to get better presents for our friends and family while still sticking to our holiday budget. Plus, conveniently, my Discover It card gives me 5% back on all Amazon purchases through the end of the year, so we’re really racking up the cash back this quarter.
Another great thing about shopping online is that no one judges you for trying a million and half different coupons on a transaction. While there are sadly instances when I am unable to find a promo code that will work with my purchase, you better believe there isn’t a single time that I don’t at least try. This is something I preach to anyone who will listen: before you buy anything online, do a quick Google search for: “retailer name” + coupon, coupon code, promo, promo code, discount, and discount code, and see if you can find some savings too.
Unlike in my previous homes of California and Arizona, Missouri gets actually, legitimately, cold. As a result our electricity bill is susceptible to seeing a significant spike this time of year. When you add in the fact that I work from home and must endure the temperature all day long, my wife and I could very easily spend a small fortune just on heating our apartment.
Luckily I have found a few ways to help prevent that from happening. For one I have no problem putting on some toasty slippers, a thick hoodie, and draping a blanket over my lap as I type away if it means that I don’t have to run the heater the entire day. Now I’m not suggesting that I won’t turn it on if it does get to be too cold or that I’m going to start wearing heavy coats and gloves around the house (I don’t think I could blog while wearing those anyway), but bundling up to a reasonable level is helpful.
So what have we done to help lower our heating bill? Gotten out of the house. Since the temperature has effectively ruined the evening or early morning walks my wife and I enjoy, we’ve taken to walking the mall instead. Yes it’s true that, while navigating a mall during this time of year may not be the easiest thing on earth, it does at least burn a few calories and is certainly cheaper than a gym membership. Plus if you go early before the stores open you can get a couple of walking laps in before the hordes arrive.
Between the cold weather that affects many parts of the country and added expenses that come with holiday shopping, the winter can be rough. However that are ways to tamper those costs and stick to your budget. Even if you don’t end up shopping online and using malls just to keep warm like I do, take some time to think about what ways you can save money in spite of the season.