Finance | 1 July 2022

Ways to Save This Winter

by Carlisle Homes

Keep your bank account in check during the cooler months. Here’s how.

As winter closes in, it’s the ideal time to rein in the spending and use the opportunity to save. Embrace the colder weather and slow down to appreciate the creature comforts in your own home. Swap extravagant nights out for cosy evenings on the sofa, sushi platters for slow-cooked casseroles and beach holidays for long hot baths. 

Apart from rent or a mortgage, chances are good that a substantial part of your budget goes to utility bills, groceries and entertainment. We’ve put together some tips for keeping all three low.

As winter sets in you can expect your energy bill to increase. But there are ways to reduce your usage. Learn more here.

Bills

One cost that does go up in winter, especially in chilly Victoria, is the power bill. Here are some quick and easy ways to reduce your energy usage and keep costs lower:

  1. Use energy-efficient CFL light bulbs in place of old-style incandescent or halogen light bulbs, and use up to 75% less electricity.

  2. Keep the thermostat between 18 and 20 degrees and put on an extra layer of clothing instead. If you want to feel extra cosy, invest in a heated blanket and/or thermal clothing: heating yourself is much cheaper than heating an entire space.

  3. Wash clothes on a cold setting. Unless you’re dealing with heavily soiled laundry, washing in cold water can clean just as effectively, and it’s gentler on your clothes. Hot water costs a lot of energy to heat, so minimise usage where you can.

  4. Block draughts to keep heat in. There are lots of options to explore here, from bargain-basement draught excluders to pricy - but very effective - double glazing. If you’re building a new home, use the opportunity to think about insulation right from the outset and save money down the track.

As temperatures drop, swap out an extravagant evening out for a cosy night in with your favourite flick. Learn how to create the ultimate home theatre here. Featured here: Kensington Grand, Orana Estate, Clyde North.

Entertainment

It can be tricky to find low-cost entertainment when it’s too cold to be outside. Gone are the days of picnicking in the park or swimming at the beach. Instead, warm movie theatres and inviting restaurants beckon - but they can add up fast.

To keep entertainment costs down, try:

  • Exploring local museums and art galleries. While you may have to pay for certain exhibitions, there is plenty of free culture for adults and kids to enjoy. Discover what’s on at the NGV.

  • Indoor movie marathons. Another one for all ages! Crack out the marshmallows and popcorn, gather some beanbags and quilts and get some friends around for a cosy evening in.

  • Games night. Easy to adapt for all ages, games night is a retro classic that still retains its charm. Whether you choose Charades, plump for Pictionary or dig in for an epic Monopoly battle, there are plenty of games to choose from for almost no cost at all. Perfect for a rainy weekend!

  • Winter is the ideal time to strap on some hiking boots and explore the great outdoors. Many trails are only open to hikers in the winter months, due to bushfire risk in summer. Choose your next adventure at Parks Victoria.

Winter has officially arrived! Fortunately, winter cooking is perfect for those watching their budget.

Groceries

If you’ve noticed the price of your weekly shop going up, you’re not alone. The cost of living is increasing, with inflation and supply chain issues hitting a range of pantry and fresh food staples.

Fortunately, winter cooking is perfect for those watching their budget. Cheap cuts of meat are ideal for slow-cooked casseroles. Homemade soup is a great way to warm your hands and your belly, and can be made for very little money. If you have a fresh food market nearby, try going near the end of trading hours, when stallholders are often selling boxes of produce at bargain prices. These slightly less-than-fresh vegetables go perfectly in a stock pot or soup and will keep you happily fed.

Why not spend the weekend baking? You’ll heat up the house and produce a range of delicious treats at the same time.

Meal planning is another excellent way to avoid impulse spending and stick to a budget. Set aside some of the weekend to batch cook so you have something quick and easy to heat up on a busy weeknight.

Finally, when the days seem long and dark, don’t forget to indulge in some planning. By keeping a strict eye on your budget, you’ll be able to better forecast your goals. Whether that’s saving for the dream house, or planning your next holiday, make sure you keep your eyes firmly on the prize.

Head over to the Finance section of the Home Files for more professional guidance to assist you on the journey to your dream home. Looking for ways to improve your saving stamina, read our essential guide here.

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