It is already cccccold where I live. My heating bills are getting painful. Any tips to save money this winter?
Bracing for the Winter Bills
Dear Bracing for the Winter Bills,
Unfortunately, we all need to be prepared to pay more to heat our homes in the coming months, regardless of the weather. Why? A hot summer, the Russia-Ukraine War, inflation, and the forecast of a cold winter will all impact our bills.
This week, Business Insider reported that the Energy Information Agency warned that those who use natural gas for heating will spend an average of $931 this winter. This is up 28% ($206) over last year. Prices are up, and colder temperatures are expected. The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association says home heating costs are reaching the highest level in more than10 years. The cost of heating a home is becoming unaffordable for millions of lower-income families.
I looked at what Europe is doing in its energy crisis and realized we could do that here.
Tips to Reduce Costs in Winter
The Best Savings
Try adjusting your thermostat to 68F for most of the day this winter. The US Department of Energy says that for maximum efficiency, choose eight hours per day to reduce that temperature by 7 to 10 degrees. This can reduce yearly energy costs by up to 10%. Setting the thermostat to a lower temperature will help it retain heat longer and reduce the amount of energy needed to keep it warm. A benefit is that sleeping in cooler temperatures grants more restful sleep.
Tips to Reduce Energy Usage Year Round
Unpack groceries first; then load all refrigerated and frozen items at once.
A cell phone charger, TV, or desk lamp that is plugged in, even though turned off, still uses electricity and costs you money. “Phantom load” is the term used to describe electricity consumed by electronics that are plugged in though not being used. It can add up over time. Walk through each room of your house, and see what is plugged in. Smart strips detect when appliances are not in use and stop sending electricity to them. It’s easy to turn off a strip of multiple things instead of unplugging them individually.
Trouble Paying Bills?
Contact your utility provider, and work out a payment plan. Ask if you qualify for additional assistance. Be patient and polite when discussing your situation. LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) may provide assistance. The National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline is 866-674-6327.
Prioritize your most urgent payments, such as food, housing, and utilities. Cut back on non-essential spending. Eliminate all impulse purchases by changing your behavior. Take a break from social media, shopping with friends, and browsing on your computer or phone. Adjust your budget now to be sure you can cover the increased costs this winter.
Thank you for the question. I hope you can stay warm and stress-free about your energy bills this winter.
If credit card debt is adding to your financial stress, Christian Credit Counselors is a trusted source of help to ease the financial pain.
This article was originally published on The Christian Post on October 28, 2022.
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