Simple Savings

Maximize light bulbs. Get 50% more light from your light bulbs by dusting them regularly. To safely clean bulbs, turn off the light and let the bulb cool before dusting. 

Rearrange lighting. Situate lamps in the corner of rooms so that they shine on two walls simultaneously. This will increase the room's brightness and decrease the number of light bulbs needed.

Cool your fridge. Keeping your refrigerator fully stocked will lower its overall temperature (and thus your electric bill) since food, once cooled, acts as a natural temperature regulator.

Downgrade your ice. Save 14-20% on your electric bill by turning off your energy-guzzling icemaker and using ice trays instead.

Batten down the damper. Leaving a fireplace damper open can raise your total heating costs 5-15%. When fireplace is not in use, close the damper and seal openings around the hearth and firebox with caulking materials made for fireplaces.

Cozy fires cost. A roaring fire in your fireplace can actually raise your heating bill by its natural tendency to pull as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air out of your house and up the chimney, replacing it with cold air from outside. Minimize the resulting heat loss by closing the doors to the room with the fireplace and opening a window slightly.

Take a shower. A family of four can save heating up to 200 gallons of water a week just by taking a shower instead of a bath. 

Heating on vacation. If you leave town for a weekend or longer, save money by turning off the water heater that no one will use. Or, just reset its thermostat to the lowest setting; it will only take an hour to heat up again when you return.

Install a timer. Save on holiday lights by installing a timer switch that will automatically turn off the lights at pre-set times. If you are traveling during the holidays, use them as security timing to make it appear you're at home. A plug-in timer can turn a lamp or radio on and off several times a day.

Create your holiday menus and shopping list in advance, take the list with you to the grocery store, and don't go shopping on an empty stomach!

Decorate your own wrap. Save on expensive papers by encouraging your children to make their own wrapping paper. Collect stamps, stickers, crayons, etc., and let them express themselves on brown paper bags. Friends and family will appreciate the personal touch!

Give the tree of life. Research your family tree online and create your personal Ancestry Tree as a gift to mom and dad, or the grandparents. You can do most of the research online, see Nita's Genealogy Section.

Food for love. Type up your favorite cookie recipe, add a personal story, and put all the unbaked ingredients in a basket or jar to be given as a gift.

Go alcohol-free. Make this a teetotaling year. Serving alcohol at parties can wipe out a limited budget fast. Many people are abstaining completely or concerned about carbs. Make your nonalcoholic drinks original and tasty.