The temperature’s dropping and prices are rising. With shorter days and colder nights, winter can sometimes feel like the longest, and most expensive, season of the year. Holiday shopping, utility bills, home repairs, family meals, and more can add up to the Winter Wallet Blues. But there are ways to fight the cold, and the costs, of the season. Stay prepared for the winter with these 4 helpful tips.
Do you track your utility costs the same way you track your grocery costs or other big payments happening in your life? Budgeting for household costs like heat, gas, electricity, and water can understandably slip through the cracks sometimes. Keeping track of your monthly heating costs can teach you some important things about your habits over the winter. Maybe you really like the house to be warm, but that might mean spending more than you can afford on your utilities. Try lowering your heat at night or whenever you’re away at work – no use spending so much money heating your place if nobody’s there or everybody’s asleep, right? Check the windows and doors for any drafts. If you feel cold air breezing through, seal them up with tape, plastic wrap, or even old fabric or socks. A sealed house keeps in that expensive heat waaay better.
Did you know the average American spends $1,200 per year on fast food? What could you do with an extra $1,200 this year? If your goal is to save money this winter, budgeting your meals can be a big help. Maybe cutting down on fast food is all the change you’ll need, or maybe changing your grocery shopping habits can be the bigger shift. If you wind up not eating everything you buy in your grocery haul, you might need to rethink what you’re buying. Too much comfort food and not enough ingredients to put together full meals? Or maybe you get super optimistic and buy a ton of veggies, thinking you’ll change your eating habits overnight. Changing meal habits is a hard one and takes some serious planning, budgeting, and honesty with yourself. Take it slow. Try planning meals you like that can have leftovers, so you can save on lunch the next day and maybe even another dinner. Find a cooking show or cookbook with good tips for easy, tasty meals, and discover ways to make meal prep a fun and cost-effective way to save this winter.
Are you a coupon clipper? Do you have a free savings or rewards card for your local grocery market? If not, you might be leaving free savings on the table. Check your favorite stores’ websites and social media – they may have more deals and coupons waiting for members. Becoming a member typically doesn’t involve a serious enrollment process – usually just a phone number and maybe your address, then you’re on your way to saving more and more every purchase. And you know the only thing better than crossing things off your shopping list is knowing you got a great deal on them.
Got stray cash burning a hole in your pocket? Are coworkers or family finally paying you back for that big group gift you got? Don’t stress. No matter where you are, chances are you’re near one of our 90,000+ deposit locations. Just use the GO2bank app to find a retailer nearby, give your money to the cashier, swipe your card, and voila, you’ll see the money appear in your account in minutes.1 Once that money’s in your account, why not add it to a savings vault? Savings vaults2 are a savings feature where you can store money separately from you GO2bank available balance and collect interest on it. You can open up to 5 vaults at a time, and each will collect their own interest. The best part? Our APY (annual percentage yield) is waaay higher than the national savings rate average, so the more you stash, the more you’ll earn back over time. So, stash that cash and see how much you extra savings you can build up by next winter.
Regardless of which of these tips help you save this winter, always remember, achieving your savings goals can be a positive journey. Maybe changing your financial roadmap starts by asking about which spending habits you can replace today. Maybe your credit score has been a bit disheartening, but you know ways you can improve it and just needed a little inspiration. Set new goals for your savings this year, but try not to think of this overhaul in terms of what you need to stop. Instead, try thinking about the things you haven’t done yet that you can start doing right now. And remember, when you start setting aside money in GO2bank vaults, you’re doing yourself a future savings favor.
The views and opinions expressed here may not represent the views and opinions of GO2bank, Green Dot Corporation, or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, or business advice.