By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
The cold winter months have reached us, and unless you are one of the lucky residents of the south, you have probably started to experience all the fun that comes with winter. The cold weather, the snow, the shorter days — all these things can have a negative effect not only on your mind, but also on your wallet. Below are some tips to aid you in being financially sound during the winter months.
- Try to find alternative ways to heat your house.
One of the biggest wintertime expenses is the heat bill. I know it can be tempting to just crank the heat and be comfortable, but there are ways that you can still be comfortable while keeping your thermostat at a lower temperature. If you have a fireplace and wood, use it! If you chop your own firewood, this can be a low cost way to heat your home. Just make sure you are careful and know what you are doing. Also, you can try sleeping with an extra blanket or layer on the clothing. Lastly, opening your curtains during the day time can get much needed solar heat into your home. You do not want to make your house a frozen tundra, but you can save some money by looking at alternative heat sources.
- Make large, inexpensive meals that will provide you with leftovers.
Soups, stews, and similar dishes are a great way to make hearty food that will last for a handful of meals. Stay hydrated as well while you work through class assignments and papers!
- Resist the impulse to make online purchases.
If you are stuck in the house, you may be tempted to surf Amazon or another online shopping websites. Impulse purchases can happen to us all in the wintertime. Instead, focus on any school work you have on-hand. Or, work ahead by catching up on reading assignments.
- Be productive with your time.
If you are stuck in the house because of a large snowstorm, resist the urge to lie around and watch television. You could do school work (the wintertime is great time to enroll into an online university), read books, or get work done around the house. Being stuck in the house does not mean you have to be stuck on the couch. For our online learners, reach out to your peers while you’re trapped in doors. Go above the minimum for discussion post responses, or consider joining a new student organization at the university.
If you are anything like me, January and February make you long for the warm summer months that seem so far away. It can be disheartening to have wind chills below 0º and seeing the sun set before 5 pm. It is a time of the year where it is easy to not realize how much money you are spending just to get through the winter. If you find yourself trapped during this winter, try these tips out and help your wallet hibernate.