Wallet Versus Winter

Winter is here.  Full-blown freezing cold and snow.  And while you may not realize it, there are some things you can do to help keep your seasonal costs down.

If you are paying for your own heat, turning the thermostat down a few degrees can save you a LOT of money.  But it may lead to you feeling cold in your home.  There are a few easy things you can do to combat this, however.  If you feel cold air coming in around your windows, it’s easy to cover the windows with plastic.  You can pick up inexpensive kits at any hardware or big box store that give you what you need to put double-sided tape around the windows, cover it with plastic, and use a hair dryer to stretch it tight.  It’s amazing the difference this will make in how much cold air sneaks in!  And if you’re still feeling chilly, the quick and easy answer is to add more clothing.  Long underwear goes a long way this time of year.  Turtlenecks and scarves can keep you toasty.  Wool socks are awesome on the feet (and there’s no shame in doubling up on these when it’s really cold out!).  And for the ladies, fleece tights are a game changer if you like to wear skirts.  I’ve often been heard saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather—only bad clothing.”  I stand by that statement.

So you are now warm in your home…but you still have to leave the house.  There are things you should know about how to care for your automobile when the temperature has dropped beyond belief.  Those stories you’ve heard about how you shouldn’t let your gas tank get below ¼ of a tank?  That’s really true when it’s cold.  Condensation in the gas tank can freeze and cause you some real grief if your tank is too empty.  It’s definitely cheaper to keep your tank closer to full than to repair the car.  And while you are taking care of the gas, it’s best to make sure you keep your washer fluid topped off, too.  Winter roads can be sloppy and salty and you want to make sure you have some anti-freeze washer fluid available if you need to clear the windshield.  Driving around looking through a salt-smeared view isn’t safe for you or the drivers around you.  And finally, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure.  Air expands with heat.  Likewise it contracts with cold.  If the last time you checked your pressure was at the start of fall semester, it’s likely that they are a lot less full now than they were then.  And you could be causing undue wear on your tires because of it.  Your local Sheetz has an awesome digital air pump available for free.  Better to pump them up than to need new shoes for the car sooner than you’d like.

I could go on and on (winter being my favorite season), but I think you get the idea.  Be aware that life is a bit different in the winter and will demand different things of you.  But if you are prepared, you can safely and warmly enjoy our winter wonderland!

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