6 winter money wasters you can avoid

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jan 12, 2015
and last updated 2016-01-17 23:31:10-05

Every season comes with its own special expenses and temptations — so now is the time to look at ways we waste money in the winter. Once we recognize what the extra costs are, we can figure out how to avoid them and keep money in the bank while still enjoying the season’s offerings. Check out the list to see if you’ve been indulging in some of the costly temptations of winter and start implementing the ways you can save where you might otherwise spend.

1. Ordering In

With colder temperatures and a desire for cozier evenings under a blanket or by the fire, you may be tempted to have food delivered more frequently than normal. This can make a big difference in your monthly costs just because you do not want to leave your home for the grocery store or restaurant. Throw on a warm coat and buy the ingredients during your weekly grocery run so you can make your own meals that will last longer and come with a smaller price tag.

2. Checking Your Bags

With increased travel during the winter for the holidays or to flee the confines of your home, it may seem obvious your bills will rise. But with airlines charging more and more extra fees and your bag possibly full of more bulky clothing, consider ways to save on baggage costs — like packing light, choosing airlines carefully and using a specialty credit card to avoid the bag fees entirely.

3. Cranking Up the Heat

Keeping warm in the winter is important, but doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. There are plenty of tips for keeping heating and energy costs low this winter — so throw on a sweater, invest in a programmable thermostat and watch your bills decrease as you indulge in a movie by the fire. And try cranking the fans instead of the heat, as this will spread the hotter air that has risen throughout the entire room.

4. Overpaying to Exercise

With so many people vowing to hit the gym in the new year, you may find some “special offers” that aren’t so special. The benefits of exercise are innumerable and we all need it, but there are ways to get in shape without committing to a gym membership. Consider running outside, working with weights, exercise videos or doing basic strengthening in your home as free options. If accountability is key for you, find gyms or fitness studios that do a la carte classes that won’t bust your budget.

5. Costly Entertainment & Activities

As temperatures drop, it can be easy to sit inside and sulk alone or to follow the extreme the other way and shell out the big bucks for classic winter activities. This season, try out inexpensive ways to beat the winter blues like volunteering, taking up a new hobby with friends, ice skating at a free lake instead of the hot tourist spot and hosting a BYOB or potluck movie marathon or party at your house and bring the fun and friends inside at a bargain.

6. Forgetting About Your Gift Cards

In accordance with the Credit CARD Act, gift cards are now valid for five years after the date of issue. While these have become an increasingly popular gift during the holiday season, they can be easy to forget about or push to the side. You may even end up spending cash or using credit at a store that you had a gift card for! Instead, keep track of the gift cards you get as a gift and set aside a designated place so you know where they are.

It may take a little extra effort, but finding ways to save in the winter will help you enjoy your funds equally over every season of the year.

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