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10 ways to save money this winter
Winter is an expensive season for families. Check out these 10 ways you can save money during winter and see the benefits all season long. - photo by Sarah Pike
From increased utility usage to holiday gifts and travel, winter is an expensive season. On average, a person spends $805 on holiday spending. To balance out Black Friday and holiday gift shopping, here are 10 ways you can save money during winter and see the benefits last all season long.

1. Use LED holiday lights

Ditch the traditional incandescent bulb and use LED lights, which last up to 25 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. Set your lights on a timer so they turn off during the day to further decrease your energy usage.

2. Insulate your pipes

Uninsulated water heater pipes take longer to heat up, which wastes water usage. You can easily insulate your pipes yourself by purchasing pre-slit pipe foam and duct tape. By spending less than $15 to insulate your pipes, you can raise the water temperature by two to four degrees and save up to $12 per year.

3. Stop drafts in their tracks

Drafts affect your energy bill more than youd think. A draft from a door or window can waste anywhere between 5 and 30 percent of your energy use. Rather than replace your doors and windows, which can quickly add up, use the reliable and inexpensive draft snake. Purchase one from a store, or make one yourself using a rolled towel or long stocking.

4. Turn on ceiling fans

It may sound counterintuitive, but your homes ceiling fans can boost the airflow of heat. Switch the rotation of the fan blades to spin clockwise. Heat near the ceiling will be pushed down into the room and keep your home warmer. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting and you can cut heating costs by 10 to 15 percent.

5. Eliminate or reduce home services

Too often, people pay for more Internet than they need. Compare your current package with how much Internet speed you actually need. If you arent frequently gaming or streaming music or videos, you may be able to switch to a less expensive package. Along with reducing your Internet package, consider cutting the cord on your cable bill. Many Americans pay upwards of $250 for their monthly cable bill when you can easily reduce that to less than $50 per month by switching to streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

6. Heat only your main rooms

It takes much more energy to heat an entire home, as opposed to a few select rooms. Close the vents in any rooms that dont need to be heated, such as the laundry room or unused guest room.

7. Maximize your dishwasher

Todays dishwashers provide enough water power to break down food particles from dishes. Save water by skipping the pre-rinse and put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher. You can also save on energy costs by switching your dishwasher setting from heat dry to air dry. While it will take longer to dry, it can save around 15 percent of the dishwashers total energy use.

8. Make a library trip

Cozy nights at home during winter are a great time to catch up on reading and movie-watching. Save money by renting books, eBooks, audio books and movies for free at your local library.

9. Replace furnace filters

During the winter, furnace filters quickly build up dirt, resulting in restricted airflow and increased energy usage. Replace or clean your filter once a month. If youd rather avoid a monthly task, switch to a permanent filter. While there is the initial cost, which ranges anywhere between $50 and $1,000, you reduce waste and the effort of buying and replacing a disposable filter each month.

10. Turn down your water heater

If you havent manually adjusted your water heater thermostat, it may be set at the manufacturer setting of 140 degrees, which is much hotter than necessary. By lowering the thermostat to 122 degrees, you can save up to $61 every year.

By incorporating these 10 money-saving winter tips, you can keep more money in your wallet to spend on holiday shopping!
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