Prepare for winter early and save money

Lauren Corona

Save money on heating by keeping it off when you don't need it or turning to a lower setting when you do. Put on a sweater first. If you're still cold, crank up the thermostat.

To quote a certain dragon-heavy fantasy series, "Winter is coming." Whether you start counting down the days as soon as you see the first Halloween decorations or you're considering moving to the Caribbean to avoid the snow, winter is inevitable, so you might as well get prepared. Plus, if you prepare early, you might save yourself some money.

What with heating bills, winter coats, and snow tires, winter can be expensive. And that's before you even start thinking about Christmas. But fret not. We've got some tips to help you prepare for winter early and save money at the same time!

Buy winter clothes on sale

Coats, boots, scarves, gloves, woolly hats, sweaters, and thermal undergarments -- you wear far more clothes in the winter than you do in the warmer months, and it all adds up. If you need to bulk up your winter wardrobe, you'll save cash doing so when winter clothes are on sale. As soon as spring and summer come around, the majority of shops have sales where you can pick up cold-weather clothes for a fraction of the usual retail price. If you stock up while they're cheap, you'll be smiling once winter comes around again.

Check your energy tariff

With the nights getting longer and the mercury dropping, a higher energy bill is a major winter expense for the average person. You don't want to sit around in cold, dark rooms to lower your energy bills, but there is another way! Take a look at the cost of your gas and electricity and check if you can move onto a cheaper tariff. And while you can't switch energy suppliers in all parts of the world, if you live in an area where this is possible, you can often save a significant chunk of money by changing to a cheaper gas or electric company.

Make sure your home is properly insulated

Once you've changed your energy supplier or reduced your tariff, you'll be saving money on heating, but that will go straight out the window (literally!) if your home isn't properly insulated. Check for any gaps or holes where you might lose excess heat and fill or seal them with caulk or expandable foam. Don't have double-glazed windows? Buy a special film that you can fit yourself to reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows. It's also surprisingly affordable to install extra loft insulation. Even if you end up spending a little bit of money to boost your home's insulation, you'll soon make it back with interest thanks to the savings you'll reap on your heating bill.

Use all-season tires

If just thinking about the cost of snow tires is getting you down, think about whether you really need them. Unless you live in a place where it's normal to have several feet of snow from November to March, you might find all-season tires will suffice. They might not be quite as good as snow tires, but they should give you the traction you need for driving on ice and snow. Next time you get a tire change, ask for all-season tires. That will be one less thing to worry about when winter rolls into town.

Prepare outdoor faucets

Getting outdoor plumbing ready for winter could save you a fortune in repairs and plumber's bills due to burst pipes. It's quite simple to do. Just turn off and drain any outdoor faucets so there's no water inside to freeze and damage pipes. While you're at it, drain your hose and store it in a shed or garage for the winter to save having to replace it come spring.

Spread the cost of winter holidays

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other winter holiday, the cost of gifts, food and drink, decorations, and cards all adds up. However, it's not hard to save money and prepare early by spreading the cost of the holidays throughout the year. Any time you see something that a friend or family member might like as a gift or that would generally be useful for the holidays, buy it! If it happens to be on sale, even better! Before you know it, you'll have practically everything you need. If you're extremely dedicated to preparing early, start by purchasing cards and decorations just after the holidays when they tend to be heavily discounted. You can even start buying some of next year's Christmas or Hanukkah gifts in the January sales!

Follow our tips and you'll have more time and money to spare once winter arrives. If you're properly prepared for the colder months, that's one less reason to get the winter blues!

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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