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Groundhog's Day is here, and if recent weather is any indication, we're probably in for another six weeks or more of winter. Brrrr! However, instead of wishing for those warmer days to come sooner, why not take the initiative and save a little money during the colder weather? Here are seven ways you can soldier through the cold this winter and keep on saving your hard-earned money at the same time.
1. Dress for the part
Whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not, you should definitely keep dressing like its winter out there. Dress warmly when you're inside; wear a few layers of clothes and socks and slippers on your feet when you're walking around. Wearing warm clothes in your home will allow you to lower your thermostat and keep heating costs in check until spring comes. If you buy some inexpensive winter workout gear, you'll also be able to exercise outside no matter what the temperature is, which can help save you money on that gym membership you probably never use anyway!
2. Cover up!
There's no reason to keep your thermostat cranked up at night this winter. Instead, wear pajamas to bed, and invest in warm blankets and flannel sheets. Cozy bedding and PJs will keep you warm at night, even if you set your thermostat at a money-saving 60 degrees. You should also hang heavy curtains on your windows in the winter, and draw them closed when the sun goes down. Closed curtains will provide additional insulation on your windows and help you save even more money on heating bills.
3. Change out those lights
The sun rises late and sets earlier in the winter, so the lights in your home get a real workout. One of the easiest ways to save money over the next few months is to change out all your incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient ones. The new LED lights are as bright as standard bulbs but only use a fraction of the watts. They last for years, too. Getting rid of those old bulbs this winter can spell short and long-term savings for you over the next several years.
4. Cut the cable
We're all a bit similar to groundhogs during the winter weather, aren't we? We get cozy in our dens, fill our cheeks with comfort food, and binge watch our favorite shows. A great way to save money this winter is to cancel your cable and subscribe to a few of your favorite content providing services instead. Why pay $100 or more a month for a bunch of channels you never watch? Sign up for the services you know you'll use, such as Netflix, HBO GO, or others, and you'll only be paying for the stuff you actually watch.
5. Get a slow cooker
If you don't have a slow cooker now, you should get one as soon as possible. Even a basic slow cooker will save you time and money this winter. A slow cooker uses considerably less energy than a standard electric or gas range would to prepare the same foods. Additionally, a slow cooker uses lower temperatures over longer periods to cook foods; since these longer cooking periods tenderize even the toughest meats, you can buy less expensive cuts of beef or pork to prepare in a slow cooker. Any food you prepare in a slow cooker will taste delicious, too.
6. Shop like a boss
Winter is a great time to hone your shopping skills and save a little bit more at the grocery store each week. Start clipping coupons from your local paper; you should also sign up for and start printing online coupons, too. Additionally, shopping apps such as ibotta can help you find even more discounts and rebates. Finally, try different shopping strategies, such as buying store brands or purchasing in bulk, to save even more on your grocery bill this winter.
7. Clean your closets
If the cold weather has you trapped inside, maybe you should get to work cleaning out your closets. It's nice to get organized, and it can help save you some cash, too. Gather up any unwanted clothing items and donate them to a local thrift store. It'll free up some space, and you can use the donation as a tax deduction if you itemize your return. Alternatively, you can try selling old items on eBay, Craigslist, or at a nearby consignment shop for a little extra cash. Finally, cleaning your closets out may help you find some items you forgot about and still want to wear; this will save you money you otherwise would've spent buying new clothes.
If the groundhog sees its shadow this February, and we can expect a few more weeks of winter, it's not the end of the world. Even in the cold weather, we can still save money and maybe even make a little bit of cash on the side as well. So stop worrying about shadows and get saving!