When you live in northern Minnesota, you know that winter is inevitable. With winter comes extra expenses. Heating bills, new winter clothing and the holiday season all battle for our hard-earned cash.
You’ll save money and start the season more relaxed when you follow these frugal ways to get ready for winter.
Frugal Ways To Get Ready For Winter
Pack away those summer clothes.
Make sure those summer clothes are clean and any repairs made. If you’re saving children’s clothing to pass on to a sibling, put it in a labeled box for later. Price things for the garage sale now to save time next spring. Start “donate” and “sell” boxes for some things. Make a “repurpose” pile for those things that you’ll turn into craft projects or cleaning rags.
Pull out the long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and jeans.
If you haven’t done it already, this is a good time to do a quick inventory of any gaps you have in your wardrobe. Check to make sure that your mittens have mates and make a list of things you need. Be especially aware of whether you need snow pants and winter boots for the kids, as these things tend to disappear from the store shelves when the first snow falls.
Finish those outside home projects.
Clean out your garden, add a little mulch and finish up those last-minute outdoor painting projects. Clean the gutters and disconnect the outside garden hoses from the house.
Give your house a good cleaning.
Give the house a deep clean in preparation for the holiday season. You’ll be happy you gave the house one last good airing out before you have to keep it shut up for the winter.
Weatherize your home.
One of the most simple things you can do to save money and energy is to make sure your house is ready for the winter months. Seal the cracks around doors and windows and replace the weather stripping where it’s needed. If you have older windows, consider using a winter window insulating kit to keep in the heat on those cold days.
Now is the time to make sure your chimney is clean, your furnace is in good working order, and that you have new filters in place. Fall is the perfect time to stockpile firewood for the fireplace and fill those fuel tanks.
Get your car ready for winter.
Make sure your car’s battery and tires are in good shape and that you have a roadside emergency kit and battery trickle charger in your car. A little preparation now can help you avoid an expensive call for a tow truck later.
Install a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat can save a ton of money by keeping your home cooler when no one is home (or when you’re sleeping). Of course, if you want to save yourself the cost of a new thermostat you can remember to change your own thermostat every time you leave the house or go to bed. Dropping your thermostat just a few degrees can save you as much as 10 percent on your heating bills.
Start planning your fall meals.
Frugal soups for chilly days and homemade breads and casseroles will warm your tummy and your home. Fall is a great time of year to start doing a little advanced meal preparation so that you’ll have a stockpile of frugal meals in the freezer on busy nights. There always seems to be drought on grocery deals before Thanksgiving and the new year, so plan your holiday grocery shopping now.
Plan activities for days you are stuck indoors.
Where I live, winter can mean several weeks of subzero weather. Stock up on low cost puzzles and board games. Make it a point to regularly visit your library for books and movies. Be prepared with cheap things to do with your kids when you can’t get outside to play. Stop by your local thrift store and pick up puzzles or board games. Search the internet for craft ideas and printables. Make your own playdough. Learn a new hobby or get caught up on creating your family photo books.
Have a frugal plan for how to handle cabin fever and you’ll be less likely to spend money on eating out, shopping at the mall, or shopping online.
Plan for the sick season.
Fall and winter are the prime seasons for catching the flu and colds. Be prepared when illness strikes and you’ll save money.
Realize that the holiday season is coming.
Start planning ahead for the holidays. Make your budget, make your list, and start working on it now before the rush of the season gets to you. Take the annual Christmas card photo now so you’re ready when photo card deals are advertised online. Work on those handmade gifts. Planning ahead for the holidays will give you more time to find the best deals and will help keep the stress levels down.
With these frugal ways to get ready for winter, you’ll be sure to have a happy, healthy and less expensive season. That’s a great way to start a new year.
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