Top 10 Winter Saving Hacks
Winter is certainly here, and we are feeling the shorter days and long cold nights. We also feel the impact of higher power bills and the struggle to stay warm and cosy, so we decided to share our favourite winter hacks.
Here’s our top 10 winter saving hacks to help you save money, stay warm and even help the planet too.
- Eat with the season.
Winter is the season for gorgeous root veg, like kumara, yams and parsnips, so they will be at their best price now. Same goes for hardy greens like kale and silverbeet. Summer produce like avocados, tomatoes and courgettes will be high priced at the moment, and not at the peak of flavour either. Plan your meals around local seasonal veg to optimise cost, nutritional value and carbon footprint. Who’s craving a nice winter warmer soup or roast meal?
- Let your slow cooker do the work.
Did you know that a slow cooker uses less energy than a light bulb, while an electric oven is likely the most expensive appliance to run in your kitchen? And yes, that takes into account the fact that a slow cooker usually runs 6-8 hours. The slow cooker maintains a gentle heat all day, while an oven uses more energy just to preheat. Plus slow cookers are not expensive to buy, especially if you scope out the op shops. Imagine coming home to a hot, ready meal that saves energy and money - a win-win all around.
- Do some baking - then leave the oven door open.
When you do use your oven, leave the door open when you’re done. Might as well let that expensive heat out into your home instead of trapping it in the oven! And home baked goodies beat store bought any day.
- Block drafts.
Keep the heat inside by blocking drafts. The older your home, the more likely you are to have draft issues. To check for drafts, light a candle and slowly move it around your windows and doors - if the flame flickers, you are losing heat to the outdoors. You can DIY this hack - use foam or rubber strips around doors so they seal when closed, install keyhole covers, and use draft stoppers at the bottom of your doors. Try making one yourself by repurposing an old pool noodle!
- Curtains are a game changer.
Why pay money to heat the outdoors? The curtains you choose can save ⅔ of the heat lost through your windows. Using thermal or heavy lined curtains make the most difference to the warmth of your home. For maximum warmth, make sure they are floor length and put a towel over the top of your curtains - a towel has proven to be more effective than a good old pelmet. Open your curtains during the day to let the sunlight heat your home, and close before the sun goes down to trap the heat inside.
If you’re lucky enough to have honeycomb blinds, you have the ultimate heat-saving window covering - even better than double glazing.
- Run electrical appliances at night.
A lot of electricity providers have lower off-peak rates at night, when there isn’t a high demand for power. Take advantage of this by running appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer overnight. This is a great time to run a food dehydrator to rescue produce that might go bad before you get to eat it, saving it from the bin.
- Throw down a rug or 2.
More than decorative in purpose, rugs help keep the heat from escaping through floorboards. Plus you can avoid stepping on a chilly floor. You can even use old blankets instead of splashing out on rugs.
- Heat your feet with wool.
Wool is the warmest fabric for winter, providing natural insulation with moisture-wicking properties. Got cold feet? Get some wool felt material from your local craft or fabric store and use it to make your own shoe liners. Remove your existing insole and use it to trace the outline on the wool. Cut out your shape and pop both insoles back into your shoes. Less heat to warm your feet!
- Don’t heat empty rooms.
Close doors to rooms that are unused and use your DIY draft stoppers to seal it off. Also, don’t run heaters when you’re not at home. If you have a heat pump, program it to turn on 20 minutes before you get home and turn off 20 minutes after you go to bed.
- See if you qualify for a Warmer Kiwi Home grant.
If you are a homeowner and meet eligibility criteria, you might be able to get a Warmer Kiwi Home grant. This grant covers 80% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation, plus 80% of the cost of a heat pump or wood or pellet burner. Investing in efficient insulation and heating will save you money in the long run, using less energy to heat your home.
A timeless saving hack
No matter the season, making the most of your KiwiSaver account is always a smart savings move. Sorting out the best fund and setting up your ideal contribution rate will kick start savings for your future - and you can do it in just five minutes. All you need to do is take the fund finder quiz and decide to make the change. We’ll do all the rest. It couldn’t be easier.