Fall into Seasonal Savings

This post Fall into Seasonal Savings appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Fall is a beautiful and easily enjoyable time of year. With rising heating costs, the holidays on the horizon, and then tax season looming shortly thereafter, it can bring serious financial stress to some people, though.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to save money in the fall. With these frugal tips, not only can you survive fall, you can enjoy yourself and revel in the season, too!

Save Around the House

There are tons of things that you can do around your home in Autumn to save money, both now and also moving forward into the winter. Take advantage of these easy changes and keep your eyes on your bills to watch the savings mount.

Let Mother Nature Be Your Thermostat
The weather can be your AC bill’s very best friend in the fall.

Depending upon where you live, this may be the best time of year to turn off your AC unit and open your windows instead. Not only will you save on electricity, you’ll also get that fresh, aired-out feeling all through your home.

Weatherproof Now, Save Later
While the weather is still nice, take a walk around your home and make sure that your doors and windows still have nice, tight seals. If you find a leak, take the time to patch it.

This ten minute exercise will save you tons on future heating and keep you more comfortable, too.

Switch Your Fans
We all know that warm air rises, but many people don’t know you can change your ceiling fans to take advantage of that!

Simply by switching your fan blades, you can make your ceiling fan force the warm air back downward. Some fans even have a switch that will reverse the direction your fan spins so you don’t have to manually switch the blades yourself.

You’ll have that light breeze that you love, and a warmer, more energy efficient home because of it.

Break Out The Soft Stuff
When the temperature dips, it’s tempting to go straight to the thermostat and kick it up a few notches. You can easily resist this temptation if you’ve already washed and prepared your sweaters, blankets, and flannel sheets.

Get these things ready while it’s still balmy and you won’t miss a beat when the brisk winds kick in.

Stock Up For Summer
Yes, it may seem like next summer is far away, but it’ll be here again before you know it.

Stock up on summer essentials like sunscreen, towels, citronella candles, and even big-ticket items like new patio furniture. These goods will all be on clearance, so you’re not likely to score a better deal than this.

Budget Wisely

Budget is a word that gets a bad rap, but sticking to a budget is a really great way to save money. Figure out exactly how much you intend to spend this fall, and then stick to those numbers as closely as possible. I realize holiday shopping may make this a bit more difficult than at other times of year, so read on for tips on how to to stay in budget even when you’re feeling festive.

Gym Membership
Let’s face it – this pre-holiday season is a busy one, so your gym attendance may suffer a bit. Why not put your membership on hold until January?

You could save hundreds of dollars, and with decent temperatures, you can go for jogs, take hikes, or workout in your own backyard instead.

Use Shopping Programs Online
There are tons of sites and apps out there that will pay you money back for just about any purchase you could make.

Sites like Rakuten will show you all the coupons available and then give you an additional percentage back on the items that you buy. If saving on the front end is more your thing, apps like Honey will help you save money by scouring the internet for low prices and further discounts – all before you hit the “Buy Now” button.

With all the holiday shopping coming up, fall is the perfect time to get started with these services, so research them, install them, and use them sooner rather than later.

Black Friday
You know you’ll be shopping soon, so plan out your big purchases in advance, and wait for Black Friday if at all possible.

This year, retailers are making it easier than ever before – you don’t even have to go into the stores to score the really great deals. If you like instant gratification, don’t worry – for many major retailers, you can shop online and choose same-day in-store pick up.

This is truly the best of both worlds.

Farmers’ Markets
There’s so much great produce to be had at this time of year, and farmers’ markets are the ideal place to pick up a fresh, delicious harvest.

You’ll be able to save money by making great meals at home and you’ll be supporting your local economy, too. Bonus savings? The vegetables are so satisfying this time of year, you can make meatless meals and not even miss out on flavor.

Look for plant-based dinner recipes featuring hearty root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets – these veggies will fill up even the hungriest diner.

Back to the Basics
With all the bounty of nature available, why not set yourself up for the future, too? In-season foods like apples and pumpkins can be frozen, canned, or turned into things like jam for future use, and elderberries (also in season) can be used to create an immunity-boosting syrup.

These chores may seem “old-fashioned”, but once you know what you’re doing, you can save up an abundance of goodies you’ll be happy to have later.

Get Crafty
With Christmas right around the corner, you may be tempted to throw in the towel and buy Amazon gift cards for everyone on your list. Don’t do that – it’s not memorable or special, and it certainly won’t save a dime.

Homemade gifts really show you care, and they can save a ton of Christmas cash, too. Look for a homemade gift to suit your expertise, and make them for anyone who might be interested. If you have a penchant for needlework, why not cross stitch something for members of your family? If you know how to crochet or knit, hats, or blankets always make for memorable gifts.

Maybe you’re into brewing, why not bottle a batch for everyone on your list? Wouldn’t you rather get a growler of homebrewed beer or a bottle of homemade Limoncello instead of the standard necktie or store bought sweater? I know I would!

Whatever your skill, there is something you can do that is not only cheaper, but also displays more thought and care than a gift card.

As you can see, there are tons of ways to make your fall season, happy, fun, and frugal. Take just a few of these tips, or apply them all and see just how much you can save – you might be happily surprised!

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

The post Fall into Seasonal Savings appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Rake in Summer Savings the Lazy Way

This post Rake in Summer Savings the Lazy Way appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Summer is here, and it is HOT.

Mind you, this week has been a bit of a reprieve from the oppressive heat, but last week was certainly a scorcher.

It got me thinking. 

When temperatures start rising, so do electric bills.

Obviously, where you live plays a big part in how much you end up paying on your monthly electricity bill.  Some places like Southern Louisiana for instance, have cheaper electricity, but scorching hot summers raise costs compared to more energy-expensive states like Northern California, where the climate is more temperate.

But no matter where you are, I have some tips that can help you save on your monthly bills.

The average US household spends about $112 a month on electricity according to the US Energy Information Administration. And a large portion of that is based on heating and cooling usage.

Is it worth moving to save a few bucks on electricity? Possibly.

Especially when you factor in “energy choice” states like Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas where you can negotiate cheaper contracts with providers.

But that’s a conversation for another day.

Today I’m giving you the lazy-man’s way to save on electricity.

No state hopping. No having to buy new energy-efficient appliances. No installing smart programmable thermostats. No extreme home makeovers to save a few hundred bucks on your electricity bill.

Why?

Because most of the big savings you’ll find on your monthly electricity bill don’t require a lot of money or investment.

These are my top 10 ways to save on electricity every month – the lazy way.

1. Fill the Cracks

Unless your home is brand new, there’s a good chance your windows and doors are leaking money.

Fill these cracks with caulk and weather-stripping to reduce drafts and your electric bill will drop dramatically.

According to Consumer Reports, sealing leaks in your home can reduce energy costs by 15 to 30%.

2. Use MAJAPs at Night

When it’s hot outside, avoid using your stove, washing machine, clothes dryer and dishwasher. All these major appliances (MAJAPs)  draw a lot of energy and typically produce heat.

This in turn causes your AC to work harder trying to maintain your home’s temperature. Also, depending on where you live, your electricity provider could offer reduced rates at different times of day.

Typically evening usage and weekends are cheaper than daytime during weekdays.

3. Use Ceiling Fans

Even if you have a central HVAC system, consider turning on your ceiling fans to help cool and heat rooms faster.

Fans push hot and cold air through your whole house so you can reach your room’s desired temperature a lot faster. Ceiling fans can save you up to $438 per year.

4. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

There’s no excuse for not washing the majority of your clothes in cold water.

Almost every detergent brand now dissolves just as well in cold as hot water at no additional cost and cold water proves to be less damaging to your fabrics.

Estimated savings for washing your clothes in cold water is around $150 per year.

5. Skip the Electric Dryer

If you have a yard and can set up a clothesline, do it.

But if space is limited or you’re worried about allergens, buy a few clothes drying racks off Amazon and hang dry heavier items like towels, jeans and sweatshirts.

Line-drying reduces average monthly electricity costs by $15.

6. Use a Slow Cooker

Avoid using your MAJAPs during the day but if you really want to cut costs, skip cooking in your oven altogether and use a crock pot or instant-pot.

Crock pots heat less of your house than traditional ovens and the best part is they require less work. Most crock pot meals are set it and forget it so you’ll save money and time using a slow cooker more often.

7. Reduce “Electricity Vampires”

Did you know 75% of the energy used by home electronics is consumed when they’re in standby?

These electricity vampires include TVs, computers, cable boxes, cellphone charging stations, and appliances – basically anything that holds a time or other settings.

Consumer Reports says that you can save $25 to $75 each year just killing these phantom electronics.

The easiest way to kill electricity vampires is to use power strips. Make it a habit of shutting off the strips between uses or buy a smart power strip that automatically shuts off when your electronics go in standby mode.

8. Turn Off Lights.

This one should be obvious.

Turning off lights you aren’t using or in rooms you’re not occupying saves a considerable amount of money every month.

Turning off a single 100-watt light bulb from running constantly saves around $131 per year.

If you really want to boost savings, switch all your lights to LED.

9. Raise/Lower the Temperature When You’re way

In the summer, raise your thermostat when you leave the house and in the winter lower it. There’s no sense cooling or heating an empty home.

Programmable thermostats are ideal for this but if you don’t have one, don’t think you have to go out and buy one.

Changing the temperature manually works fine too, it just takes more diligence.

10. Clean Air Filters Every 30 Days; Replace Every 3 Months

When your air filters are dirty your HVAC system has to work harder, which ends up costing you more money.

A good habit to get into is regularly cleaning and replacing your home’s air filters. Clean every 30 days and replace every 3 months is a good rule of thumb.

It might seem like your savings will be eaten up by the cost of replacement filters but that’s not the case.

Most people see savings from $20-$40 annually following this simple hack.

All of these hacks should add up to noticeable savings and don’t require much time or money.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post Rake in Summer Savings the Lazy Way appeared first on Daily Reckoning.