Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping
In-store and online sales often tempt us to go on holiday shopping sprees. To save money this holiday season, set a strict budget for presents. Decide how much your family can afford, and then write a list of your family and friends, giving a portion of your budget to each person.
Before buying presents at the store, check for holiday coupons in your junk mail or online. It’s easy to find good deals—but avoid buying things you don’t need, just because they’re on sale!
For extra savings, work with the kids to make handmade gifts or baked goods! You’ll save a few dollars while also spending quality time with your family.
How to Save Energy this Holiday Season
When you’re cooking for company or preparing a family dinner, try these tricks to save energy. Lower the thermostat before preheating the oven. The oven will warm the house, and you can use a ceiling fan to move heat into other rooms. Just try to keep the oven door closed when you’re cooking! Every time you check on the food, the oven loses heat and has to work overtime to stay hot.
Finally, before your family or friends arrive for a holiday meal, lower the thermostat a few degrees. The house will warm up as guests file in. Then you can enjoy holiday cheer, while still saving on your energy bill.
How to Save Your Home’s Holiday Lights
As your family begins celebrating the holidays, try saving money on your holiday decorations. If you’re still using old, incandescent holiday lights, recycle old light strands and replace them with energy-efficient LED lighting. LED bulbs burn a smaller amount of energy and will save you money overtime. Plus, they’re cooler than incandescent bulbs and less of a fire hazard!
You can also save energy by setting your holiday lights on timers. Set the lights to turn on automatically in the evening and turn off late at night, after your family has gone to sleep.
How to Hang Christmas Lights
When breaking out the holiday decorations, remember to test every strand of holiday lights to make sure they work. Recycle any that are broken or have burnt-out bulbs. Don’t wait until the lights are hung to find out they don’t work!
If you’re hanging lights outside, wait for good weather, and then use a sturdy ladder to install the light strands. Have a buddy hold the ladder steady as you hang the lights.
If you find it difficult to untangle rope lights every year, try picking up net-style lights to drape over your bushes. You can even use homemade luminaries with solar powered lights to illuminate your yard and driveway!
Holiday Safety Tips
Though holiday decorations are beautiful, they can pose extreme safety risks. Christmas trees cause an average of 160 house fires per year, so always place your tree at least 3 feet from a fireplace, radiators, or any other heat source.
If you buy a real tree, remember to water it daily to keep it from drying out. Dry trees can easily catch fire!
Since holiday decorations are often sharp and shiny, place decorations high up, out of reach of small children. Try to avoid candles, but if you prefer candlelight for holiday decor, use non-flammable candle holders in secure places where they can’t be knocked over.
Holiday Cooking: How to Make Your Kitchen as Energy Efficient as Possible
To have an energy efficient kitchen during the holidays, set your fridge to 35 degrees Fahrenheit and then pack it with plenty of groceries. The extra food will keep your groceries cool, without them freezing.
To save money on your energy bill, unplug your small counter appliances like toasters and blenders after using them. Finally, when you’re using the oven and the stove at the same time, keep pot handles turned inward so they aren’t hanging over the oven. Handles can get too hot or be easily bumped, causing the hot contents to spill.
Holiday Hosting: Energy Saving Guide
When you’re cooking for a holiday event, try to use your oven as little as possible. If you can, use the microwave or a toaster oven because it takes less time to cook and uses half the energy.
If you plan to do a thorough kitchen cleaning before or after hosting a holiday party, avoid using the oven’s self-cleaning feature. The oven releases fumes during the cleaning cycle that are dangerous to pets, so the kitchen should always be well ventilated during self-cleaning.
Since having the windows open in the winter is bad for your energy bill, clean the oven with a damp cloth and save self-cleaning for summertime.
Holiday Traveling: How to Save Energy With Your Car
Are you planning a road trip this holiday season? If so, try these tricks for saving on your gas mileage:
- Clean or change your air filter to prevent debris from getting into your engine.
- Consider getting a tune up. Replacing spark plugs and other worn out parts will improve your fuel efficiency over the length of your trip.
- And try not to let your car idle for more than 10 seconds. If you’re making a pit stop at a rest area, turn your car off to save gas and conserve energy.
Holiday Activities for Kids
This holiday season, plan some fun, budget-friendly activities for the kids. Do easy crafts to decorate your house with paper snowflakes, or cut up strips of construction paper to make paper chains in festive holiday colors.
DIY holiday ornaments are another fun activity. Help your kids make cookie cutters gingerbread shapes, and punch a hole in the top before baking. Then, decorate them to hang around the house.
Plus, if you double the recipe, you’ll have extra cookies to eat on the side or to give away to friends. With the oven hot from the first batch, you’ll save energy by baking all your holiday cookies on the same day!
Holiday Meals: Tips for Feeding Large Groups During the Holiday Season
When cooking for large groups this holiday season, share the workload by asking friends and family to bring side dishes. Then, get ahead of the game by prepping food early. Sauces, cooked vegetables, and large dishes, like casseroles or chili, keep well in the freezer. But definitely cool the food before freezing! Avoid placing too many unfrozen dishes in the freezer at once. This will keep your freezer from dropping in temperature and having to work overtime.
Guests typically remember the bookends of a meal, so serve delicious appetizers and desserts, while keeping the entree low-key. With a simple main course, you can use less-expensive ingredients and double the recipe to serve many people on a budget.
Winter Weather Energy Savings Tips
This winter, don’t turn off your heating system to save money. Starting and stopping your furnace costs a lot in wear and tear. Instead, cut your heating bill by dropping the thermostat 8 degrees before you leave the house. If your home has old windows, use foam weather strips to block out cold drafts and insulate your home.
Finally, if you plan on traveling for the holidays, lower the temperature of your hot water heater. The water heater is an expensive appliance, so lessening its workload will save you money on your next energy bill.
How to Throw a Budget-Friendly New Year’s Eve Party
Planning a New Year’s party can be difficult on a budget. Instead of buying new desserts, arrange leftover holiday cookies on a plate to share with your guests.
Encourage everyone to BYOB, and then pick up a couple two-liter bottles of soda. With guests bringing their own drinks, you can be sure that everyone has their favorite beverage. Then, maybe you can splurge on champagne or sparkling cider for midnight! Sparklers are a fun party favor for families with kids. They’re cheaper and safer than regular fireworks, and they make for great pictures to ring in the new year.
Happy holidays to your family from ours at Payless Power!