Lower expenses in the winter months

December 20, 2012

Cold weather means warm sweaters and hot drinks, but it also means higher utility bills for those that like to crank up the heat. Financial aid for moms rarely covers expenses outside of tuition and school bills, so finding the money to cover rising oil and electricity invoices can be a challenge when already balancing home, school and kids. There are a number of ways to bring down those amounts each month without freezing to death, but being smart about energy consumption will need to take center stage.

Efficient strategies
It may require an up-front expense, but swapping out every bulb in the house for energy-efficient versions is one of the best ways to cut power bills. These coiled tubes last longer and use less power than old fashioned bulbs, making them a smart choice for households on a budget. Replacing old appliances with modern tools and putting in new windows would be the best options to give your home a green makeover, but with little wiggle room on monthly banking balances, it's best to start small.

Keep it down
No matter how tempting it might be, leave the thermostat low and put on an extra layer of clothing if it feels a little chilly. Studying for exams can be uncomfortable with numb fingers, though, so don't freeze out the house or the pipes. Sometimes going to the library is an option, but when being at home is more practical, avoid turning on space heaters and other electric heating elements, as these are dangerous for small children and consume a lot more power than central heating.

If there's a fireplace at home, be sure it's tightly closed so as not to draw cold air down into the house, and whenever the device isn't in use, check for drafts to ensure it's not leaking money up the chimney. Older models are notorious for cooling rather than warming homes, so unless there's a pellet or wood stove, leaving this device off for the season may be best.

Holiday spirit
If putting up Christmas lights is a must, be sure not to run them all night. Turn them on when it's truly dark out and leave them lit only for a couple of hours, as most of these are not efficiency-rated and can pull a huge amount of power if left unchecked. While single moms may take joy in seeing festive displays, college scholarships won't pay the power bill come January.

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