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November may have just started, but if you live in Canada (like we do), then you’re probably already thinking about, worrying about, and possibly even preparing for winter. For those of you who are lucky enough to live in mild climates and don’t quite understand what the big deal is, winter is serious business, there is snow to prepare for and a lot of money to spend.
Since the winter season can often put a lot of strain on your finances, we’ve gathered together our top money saving tips to help you make it through the ice and snow within or maybe even under budget.
1. Learn How to Change Your Own Tires
When you live in Canada, you need two sets of tires. One set of normal tires for the summer, spring, and fall and a second set of more intense sturdy tires for the winter. This means, not only do you need to buy winter tires when you own a vehicle, but you need to pay someone to change them twice a year. Or, you can learn to change them yourself. Alright, yes this is easier said than done. Learning to change a tire is not that easy, but guess what? It’s also not that hard. Aside from a few tools, you may need to buy, you’ll be saving a couple hundred dollars a year.
Click here for 5 financial fixes to make this winter before the New Year.
2. Keep up With Vehicle Maintenance
Cars take on a lot of wear and tear during the winter months. When something that has moving parts and electrical elements in it, is constantly cover in ice, snow, salt, dirt, and the general cold air, there needs to be some emphasis placed on maintenance. If you maintain your car, keep it clean, change the oil and make sure your battery stays charged you should be able to avoid too many unplanned expenses.
3. Spring for a Humidifier
The dry winter air in your home, produced by furnaces and fireplaces, can lead to dry skin and static-y clothing (the worst!) and while these two things are less than great side effects, it gets worse. Dry air doesn’t hold on to heat very well and it actually feels less warm. This means you’re probably turning up your furnace and running your heating more than you really need to, thus spending more money than you need to.
A humidifier will combat all of these issues, less dry skin, less static, and a better balance of moisture in the air, which means the heat that you’re paying for, will stick around for longer.
4. Choose Energy-Efficient Holiday Lights and Put Them on a Timer
Holiday lights are a festive tradition for many Canadian families. They are a bright and colourful way to celebrate the start of winter and the holiday season. But, what most people may not consider, is the cost associated with running extra lights for several months, especially if you’re still stringing up lights from several decades ago.
If you’re worried about the cost of your energy bill during the winter, it might be a good idea to switch over to energy-efficient lights and try putting them on a timer, this way you won’t need to remember to unplug them every night and you won’t be stuck with an unnecessarily expensive energy bill.
5. Consider Shoveling Your Own Snow
If you need to be able to get out of your driveway early in the morning without fail for the entire winter, this may not be the best option for you. But, if you have a slightly more flexible lifestyle, shoveling your own snow is a great way to save upwards of $300 a year. Also, it’s a great workout and an even better way to get outside if the weather has been keeping you stuck inside for days.
6. Combat Cabin Fever on a Budget
Being cooped up inside all winter long can be a serious downer, but it is often exactly where you want to be especially when the temperatures reach all times lows and the roads are too icy and snowy to drive on. Figuring out how to combat cabin fever on a budget is a great way to save money and deal with those winter blues. Whether it’s re-watching all your favourite movies, starting a new T.V. series, or completing some of the projects you’ve been meaning to do for years. Figure out a few free or almost free ways to keep busy this winter and before you know it will be spring and your bank account will be full.
Looking for more advice on how to save? Check out our saving guide here.
7. Be Prepared to Cook at Home
Who wants to go out in a snowstorm just to eat dinner on a Monday night? Unless there is a very specific reason, probably very few people. By planning out a few meals and heading to the grocery store on a not so snowy day, you’ll be able to skip the restaurants, which is always good for your budget and not have to venture out in subzero temperatures.
Check out our infographic, “How Much Does The Average Canadian Spend on Groceries?”
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