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How to Use an Instant Pot to Save You Money

use an instant pot

We’re always looking for ways to save on meals and groceries, but have you ever thought about how the way you cook food could also save you money?

How Does an Instant Pot Work?

An instant pot is basically the modernized version of a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker uses high pressure to cook the food inside. A pressure cooker is a pot that you use on the stove top, but the instant pot is an electric pressure cooker, so it doesn’t go on the stove top, it plugs into an outlet. It uses a strong clamp-down lid to seal in the contents of the pot and the heat, for some fast, efficient cooking. Now your water can boil at even higher temperatures because less heat is escaping into the air. The steam and building pressure inside the instant pot can also help your food get more moist, tender, and full of infused flavors.

In a really simple form, you can think of it as a crock pot, or a slow cooker. You put the ingredients inside, close the lid, and punch in your settings. But instead of letting your food stew in the crock pot for 4 to 8 hours, you can put ingredients inside the instant pot, close the lid, set the settings, and have your food ready in just 15 to 30 minutes.

When your food is done cooking there are two ways to release the steam inside. You can use a quick release by turning the valve at the top manually and letting all the steam out right away or you can let it go, and the steam will naturally release over time. You’ll want to use the quick release when your food is done cooking, and the natural release when you want your food to keep cooking a little longer while it cools down.

How to Use an Instant Pot
  1. heat up the pressure cooker
  2. place the food inside
  3. seal the lid
  4. set your pressure level and your cooking time
  5. release the pressure when the time goes off
  6. wait however long the recipe says for the pressure to release
  7. thoroughly clean the pressure cooker after your meal and put it away for next time

 
instant pot cooking
 

Hot Water Test

Understanding how an instant pot works is important if you’re going to start cooking with one. It is a different type of cooking since you aren’t just using heat from the stovetop or oven, you’re using pressurized heat and steam. Because of this instant pots come with their own science of cooking that you’ll want to become acquainted with before you begin using your new instant pot.

To help you understand what happens inside your instant pot while it’s cooking you can do the hot water test. The hot water test will show you how the pressure cooker works, and how much water evaporates as it cooks. Depending on what you’re cooking inside the pot, you will probably need less water than you’re used to.

  1. pour 3 cups of water into the instant pot
  2. close the lid
  3. in your settings select simply steam or pressure cook
  4. set the timer to 5 minutes
  5. when the timer goes off, turn the valve to release the pressure

Now you can see what happened to the water. Measure it and see for yourself how much water evaporates in a pressure cooker as opposed to a pot on the stovetop.

How an Instant Pot Saves You Money

save money
 

Have you ever felt the struggle of wanting to eat well, but not having the amount of time necessary or the energy to spend cooking healthy, real meals every day? We know that eating healthy has so many obvious, long-term benefits, but in our busy day-to-day lives, it can be a real struggle to eat right. Money and time constraints get in the way and we end up buying another frozen pizza or eating out again. Thankfully, with the instant pot, eating right doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes of your time.

By eating healthier every day you’ll have better health. Staying in good health can really save your wallet. Being healthier means you’ll feel more energized, get sick less often, avoid missing work, keep your medical bills low, and keep the doctor away, as the saying goes.

An instant pot can help you save while stocking your pantry as well. Cooking with the instant pot can bring you back to cooking basics, helping you eat simpler, more satisfying meals. You can easily and quickly cook rice and even dry beans! Eating this way is also ultimately cheaper. It’s cheaper to keep your pantry stocked with the basics (like rice, beans, potatoes, seasonings, and sauces etc.) that you can use to make many different kinds of meals throughout the week, rather than pay for a full meal at a fast food place.

If you need any help with the food bill this week while you wait for an inconveniently placed payday, you can always get a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over.

  • Miss work less often
  • Spend less on medical bills and doctor visits
  • Spend less time cooking meals and more time on other pursuits
  • Spend less on groceries

How to Clean Your Instant Pot

After eating your yummy, healthy, homemade meal, it can be tempting to leave the dishes undone and move on to other things. But try and not wait too long after using the instant pot to clean it out, because letting thing crust over will only make it harder to clean later.

  1. Take it apart
  2. Hand wash the outer lid and instant pot with warm soapy water. The inner pot and accessories can go in the dishwasher
  3. let white vinegar sit in the instant pot for 5 minutes to remove stains
  4. Use a small brush to get in between spaces
  5. Steam clean it, 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, lemon slices, on the steam mode to get rid of smells
  6. Dry and put back together

Tips and Tricks You’ll Want to Know

  • Replace sealing rings
  • You can get accessories like a glass lid so you can see inside
  • Bring your instant pot camping or on vacation, all it needs is a power source to cook
  • You can cook freezer meals
  • You can make popcorn
  • Get meal Tupperware and prep your meals for the week ahead of time
  • Reheat in the instant pot instead of the microwave using the warm setting
  • Use the rack to cook 2 things at the same time, like meat and veggies, or do pot-in-pot cooking
  • Use the curved end of the ladle to safely turn the release valve without getting your hands too close to the steam.
  • You can rest your lid upright by putting the handle of the lid into the rectangle opening of the handle of the pot.
  • To cook even faster, use already hot water in your instant pot so it comes to pressure even faster
  • Make a tin foil sling to put under the pot your putting in the pot so that you can easily lift your pot out
  • Get more than one stainless steel insert
  • Use some handy time-table charts to know how long things should cook
  • You can turn the instant pot onto saute mode before you put your ingredients inside in order to get it heated up and cook faster

Warnings

There are some warnings to be careful of when working with an instant pot. There are also some things you just can’t do with a pressure cooker, but don’t worry. What you can do with a pressure cooker still far outweighs what you can’t.

  • Be careful you don’t overheat it
  • Be careful of the steam
  • Keep it off of hot surfaces
  • Don’t put the appliance in the dishwasher
  • Don’t fill it more than 2/3
  • Don’t open the lid until it’s completely depressurized
  • Don’t make fried foods in a pressure cooker
  • Milk will curdle in the pressure cooker



READ MORE
Read more about how to save money on groceries, “How to Save Money on Food Costs.”

Find some great basic instant pot recipes, “6 Basic Instant Pot Recipes.”

Read more about Instant Pot hacks by reading the following articles:

11 Clever Hacks That Will Make You Love Your Instant Pot Even More

20 Instant Pot Hacks Every Cook Should Know

16 Genius Instant Pot Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

How to Save Money on Transportation

Its summer time and that means that personal and family vacations are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning your dream vacation to the South of France or you’re going to a family reunion at the Grand Canyon a little extra money can go a long way when it comes to your summer vacations.

For some people it makes sense to get a cash advance before heading out on their vacation so that they can have a little extra spending money, for other’s they’d prefer to save some money as they prepare for their vacation. In this post we’ll cover several ways that you can save as you prepare and embark on your big summer vacations to make sure you don’t go broke in your travels this summer.

Save Money on Airfare

If you travel by airplane often, then it is worth it to find the best deal possible on airfare. One of the most important things you can do to save money in regards to airfare is to examine all the options.
Compare the costs of different carriers and different airports. You may be used to flying out of the airport that is closest to your home, but that may not be the cheapest one.

Check Pricing from Different Airports

You may be able to find cheaper tickets out of a farther airport, and even factoring in gas money you will save money. Another great way to save money on airfare is to travel on the days that have the lowest fares.

The days with the lowest fares are usually the days in the middle of the week, like Tuesday or Wednesday. These are the days that are farthest away from the weekend, and so less people are traveling.

Don’t Go for the First Deal You Find

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always be looking for the best deal. Don’t settle for the first price you find on the Internet.

Whether you are looking for your tickets yourself online, or working through a travel agent, always ask for the lowest fares possible. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and you will very likely get the original price lowered.

Save Money on Car Rentals

Once you get to your destination, you will most likely need to rent a car. Car rental agencies are notorious for charging fee upon fee upon fee for people to rent cars.

The way to get around this is to compare the total cost of each car renting experience between the agencies you’re looking at. Be blunt when you’re asking the clerk about how much it will cost because they will sometimes try to hide fees from you by simply not mentioning them.

If an agency has a special offer going on, take advantage of that. Be wise, though; make sure that the offer is actually going to offer you a discount and isn’t just a flashy gimmick.

Car rental agencies also try to offer you lots of different liability and insurance options. These may seem like a good idea to purchase in the moment, but you may already have coverage from your already existing insurance company.

Make sure to check with your insurance company preferably before you’re at the desk at a car rental agency. You do not want to double up on coverage and have to pay more money in the long run.
Now let’s switch gears to talking about cars. Most adult Americans own their own car.

Save Money on Gasoline

Many Americans complain about how much money they spend on gasoline for their cars. What most Americans don’t realize, though, is how much money they can save by being wise about buying gasoline.

Americans can save hundreds of dollars per year by only buying gas from the cheapest stations, and only using the lowest possible octane allowed for their vehicle. Many people are ignorant about what their car needs and this unfortunately costs them money.

If you are currently looking for auto insurance for your car, there are ways to save money on that as well. Again, it comes down to comparing prices across different agencies.

Contact your state insurance department to get a complete list of prices charged by various insurance companies in your state. Be aware that you may not want to automatically go with one of the lowest prices listed; it’s important to compare what coverage each company offers as well.

If the insurance is cheap, but the coverage isn’t very extensive, then that really isn’t a good deal. When you’ve decided on an insurance company to go with, make sure to meet with an insurance agent who works for that company and explain your situation to them.

If they are a reputable company, they will work with you to work out an insurance premium that is fitting for your needs. There are hundreds upon hundreds of ways to save money; all you have to do is try them.

Money Saving Techniques for Small Business Owners

In the current economic market, everyone is looking to save a little extra cash here and there. The internet is full of blog posts and commentaries on how families and individuals can save money at home, but there are far less money saving tips for those who own and operate small business.

At Check City many of our clients own and operate small businesses themselves, oftentimes they need a cash advance to be able to cover payroll for a week or two so we know that even small savings can make or break a small business. These small companies and their owners are in just as much need as anybody, perhaps in even more need, to save money and expenses wherever possible. Saving money for a small business is not solely for reasons of sound commerce like it may be for larger companies, but often saving money for a small business is for the very livelihood of the startup in its entirety.

Because saving money wherever possible is an absolute necessity for a small business, the following are a few tips and tricks that will hopefully be beneficial for the small business owner in their efforts to save money and weather an otherwise difficult financial time. Some of these tips may be common knowledge for some small business owners and some may not, but either way, utilizing as many money saving techniques as possible is the desire as many believe that the salvation of the American economy rests in the hands of its small business owners.

Find the Best Real Estate Options For You

The first tip that can be offered is for those small businesses with a brick and mortar location. Physical locations of business directly translate to overhead costs of rent, owning, or leasing a commercial property.

And just like in the home, monthly utility bills are a regular and potentially costly expenditure for a small business. Without proper regulation and conservation of the energy that a business uses, the monthly utility bills can cripple a small business’s finances if not managed properly.

Small business owners should highly consider installing a programmable thermostat in their office that will allow them to set and program an energy saving temperature to be maintained by the thermostat. Programmable thermostats can also help cut costs by automatically turning down the heating or cooling when the office is not in use.

Beyond regulating the energy used to adjust the temperature of the small business’s office, small business owners can cut utility bills by using less energy wherever possible. Turning off lights in unused rooms, using only half the lighting banks available, and using energy efficient equipment can all do their part to save the business owner potentially hundreds of dollars per year.

In the same vain as saving on energy costs, one little known energy conservation technique for small business owners to implement is the use of laptop computers over desktop computers. Laptop computers consume up to ninety percent less energy than desktop computers.

Because of this massive difference in energy usage between laptop and desktop computer, small business owners should strongly consider replacing desktop computers with laptops wherever possible in the office or business. This is especially true if the small business relies on employees do the bulk of their work from computers.

By saving up to ninety percent on energy to run a computer, even though the energy needed to power a computer is relatively small, a business operated upon the backs of computers will see a sizable decrease in their energy costs by switching to laptops. Other energy conservation tips for a small business to save on its operating costs reflect those used by homeowners to save on their monthly utility bills.

The conservation of heat in the winter and cool air in the summer through weatherproofing doorways and windows will dramatically lower the expense of a company. So too will installing better insulation along the exterior of the building.

Save on Office Equipment

Other ways for a small business to save money include sharing printers where needed and using discounted or recycled printer ink, as this item can be a regular and costly expense for an office-structured small business. Similarly, a company can save money by using the right and cheapest operating material in all situations.

An example of this would be to use a specialized packaging company for the shipping needs of the company. Specialized business packaging companies can work with a small business to cut typically high shipping costs by being uniquely interactive with the small business and its products.

Find “Cheap” Labor

A final tip for small businesses to save money would be to contact a local college or university to explore internship options. Many educational institutions will partner with companies to provide their students with internship opportunities.

This gives the students college credit and real work experience in a particular field while simultaneously cutting the payroll cost of a small business without sacrificing much if any in productivity. These few tips and others can greatly reduce the amount of resources and finances that a small business uses in their monthly operations.

When it comes to running your small business the financial decisions you make early on can make or break your business in the long run. If you’re just starting your small business it’s important to understand that there will most likely be some tough times, some months it will be tough to make payroll, if and when you run into those months dont lose hope, understand that it’s only temporary and that Check City is here to help.

How to Manage Your Money More Effectively

Do you know how to manage your money more effectively so that any kind of change doesn’t hurt you and your family financially? You will need to find places that you can cut spending. For example, if you’re spending $40 to go to the movies every month, consider cutting it down by $5 or $10. That will save you $60-$120 in a year by itself. Here are some great examples and tips on how you to manage and save your money more effectively:

Ride Your Bike, Walk and Carpool

Don’t hop in the car to go somewhere by yourself every time. Find a co-worker nearby that can carpool with you to work. You’ll save gas and usage of your car that way. Ride your bike with the family to the library or store. Get some exercise and walk to your destination. Find ways to not use your car on a daily basis and you’ll save yourself a lot of money in gas.

Get Generic Brands

If you look hard enough, almost anything you buy at the grocery store has a generic brand. Without the brand name hiking up the prices, you get almost the same product for a dollar or two cheaper. Start looking closer to prices and brands when you grocery shop each week. This will save you a lot of money and is a great tip on how to manage your money.

Find Alternative Forms of Entertainment

When entertainment bills start adding up, it might be time to revert back to playing board games, drawing and spending time outdoors instead of paying for your entertainment. Get involved in community events and make your own fun in your home. You’ll have the same amount of fun, but without the added expense. Spend some quality time with your family in the outdoors for free entertainment.

Use a Filter Instead of Buying Bottled

Some families like to fill their houses with clean, bottled water rather than drink out of their tap. In some places this is completely understandable. Instead of spending a year buying new water bottles though, buy a filter and replace them as needed. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run with this approach. Cutting down these expenses is a great way to manage your money.

Buy things During the Seasons of Savings

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, back to school, and December 26th are all great days to buy. People mark everything down to get you to come into their stores. If you shop for items you want during the off season you can find items up to 50%. This is a great way to manage your money.

Re Evaluating Budgets after Fiscal Cliff

With the fiscal cliff deal passed, nearly everybody will be paying more in taxes every year. The amount varies based on your yearly salary. Everyone will have to adjust their budgets a bit to make ends meet smoothly again. Here are a few ideas of ways to spend less on the things you would normally buy or remove certain expenses that are not as necessary.

Reduce Total Energy Consumption

We often use more energy than we need to by carelessly throwing it away. During the winter, turn your heater down to 60 degrees—warm enough to make the house bearable, but not enough to burn through energy. Turn down your water heater to 120 degrees, you don’t need it to be hotter than this and you’ll waste less energy heating water to temperatures you would never want them at. After cooking a meal in the oven, open the oven door to let the heat escape into the house, keeping it at a warmer temperature for longer. These are just a few ideas to begin with, but there are many more ways to conserve your energy.

Remove Land-line or Cable Subscription

Most families have a cell phone anyways. To have a land-line is just an added expense. If you use your cable subscription just to watch sitcoms, cancel that subscription and hook your computer up to your TV. Most TV shows are easily found on the internet a day later. Wait a day and then use your internet connection to watch everything you would watch normally.

These are just a couple ideas of things you can do to cut your monthly spending. These ideas are meant to get the ball rolling. Think about the things you don’t really need, and then think about the things that can be reduced through creative innovation.

5 Excellent Natural Home Decor Tips

Decorate Naturally

How often do you walk through your home and think about the things you would like to have, but it’s just not the right time? When you walk in the door after being outside in the rain, you wish you had a place to hold your coat. Maybe you misplace your keys all the time, but would keep better track of them if you had a key rack. Unfortunately, these are a mere want, and not a need in your life, so you can’t justify the purchase. Well why not use a few cheap screws and make one yourself using the resources Mother Nature gave you? Here are some great natural home decor tips:

Wood

You can actually use wood as a wall rack for your home. If you live near a beach or a river, take walks along them and look for driftwood. Find a piece that looks straight, generally symmetrical, and sturdy. Take it home, strip it of excess twigs, and dry it out. Use your artistic abilities to make the wood into a beautiful wall rack! If you want more color, use some spray-paint and paint the wood. Driftwood art and driftwood furniture are great options for natural home decor!

Additions

One way to invite natural home decor is adding a piece to an existing display. Keep your eyes peeled for items that have an interesting shape. You might find a branch or rock that would sit atop a table to balance out a decorative mirror. Such a display adds a sense of style to any room. If you want some color, feel free to use your artistic skills and add some paint to the item!

Flowers

Flowers are a great option for natural home decor! Soft and warm colors are often used in natural decor. You can make a room pop with a splash of color. A dish of bright flowers, or a brightly colored piece of coral can add a great touch to an otherwise boring environment.

Natural & Woodsy

You can also add a natural design, rather than a natural object. If you are a bit crafty, sew up some stunning throw pillows with a beach or woodsy theme. You can also find abstracts which can remind you of a natural theme. Most fabric stores offer a variety of interesting edges to give your pillows some character.

Tucked & Grouped

You can add some great touches when you tuck natural objects among your accessories. For example, you can tuck sea shells among your mantel designs. Try weaving in branches, shells, starfish and rocks.

If you have a lot of small objects, try storing them in groups. Those small items will turn into a great piece when they are grouped together!

Each of these ideas can be created with little or no money. You have to develop your eye to make your home as pleasing and calm as you desire. Start looking around for an object to add character to your home! We hope you have enjoyed these tips, good luck finding some natural home decor.

Save Money with These Christmas Present Ideas

Shopping for The Holidays

Shopping for the holidays is just one of the hallmark events that make up the season. Beginning with Black Friday, the holiday shopping craze has become an inevitable rite of passage for most Americans. If you don’t budget carefully, holiday shopping can break the bank. Here are 5 Christmas Present Ideas that will save your budget this holiday season.

Budget

Before you think of any Christmas present ideas, you need to learn your budget. You can think of Holiday shopping in two distinct ways. One is the “official” holiday shopping season beginning with Black Friday. The other begins after Christmas, and ends the next Christmas. For each of these shopping theories, a budget is essential. The best idea is to set your budget at the beginning of the year and decide how much to money to dedicate to Black Friday, and how much for the rest of the year.

Black Friday

Black Friday has become a shopping tradition. Retailers have dedicated websites to Black Friday Sales all year. By watching the evolving sales, you can plan a great Black Friday shopping strategy.

In order to take advantage of Black Friday, and not break the bank, set a budget for shopping. With your budget for all Christmas expenses in mind, decide how much you are willing to spend on Black Friday. If you have a budget in mind when you comb through the Black Friday ads, you’ll be able to keep a level head for your shopping extravaganza. With a firm budget in mind, you’ll be able to withstand the overpriced impulse purchases around every corner.

Some retailers have specific hours for specific items. Make sure you keep the availability times in mind. For instance, if the TV you are looking at is only available from Midnight to 3am, make sure you keep the time deadline in mind. Black Friday can be a great time to find good Christmas presents.

Through the Year

If you decide to spread your shopping throughout the year, you will find several “sales of the season” throughout the year. It’s important to do your research so you can find the best price, no matter when you plan to shop. Christmas shopping in April? Yes ma’am. Every sale could be Christmas shopping. Don’t waste your money paying full price right before Christmas.

Don’t Regret!

The biggest regret of the holiday season will be putting your family or yourself in economic trouble by overspending on the trimmings and gifts of the season. Instead, look for the discounted holiday items and gifts that stores will be promoting and take advantage of their sales. Buying in bulk may be another great way to save more on gifts (your uncles will never know or care if they all get the same .99 cent key-chain flashlight).

Homemade Gifts

Often, homemade Christmas presents are the best gifts! Why is that? Because they can be the most meaningful. Anyone can go to a store and buy someone a gift. But not everyone can create a sentimental homemade gift. You are giving the gift of meaning, time, love, and creativity.

With an added bonus, homemade Christmas presents can also be a lot cheaper and will save you a lot of money.

Making a list before heading to the stores will be another way for you to save money on holiday shopping as will shopping at second hand and dollar stores. Whatever your method for saving money this holiday season will be, the important thing to remember is that you are happy. We hope you have found some great Christmas present ideas and have enjoyed these tips.

7 Helpful Tips to Save Money with a Family

Families have a lot of worries and expenses. Monthly bills can take their toll of a paycheck as can school supplies, children’s clothing, and diapers. Not to mention the food costs that a family of just three can run up.

Because of this, a small and growing family will need to budget their finances wisely. While budgeting is extremely important, why not try a few extra techniques to help save more money? Here are a few tips to save money with a family.

Meal Planning

One of the first tips to save money with a family every month (or maybe every week depending on the size and appetite of your family) is to create sufficient meal plans and stick to them when purchasing groceries. Food costs have seen a significant increase over the past decade and look to continue their upward trend. By planning and preparing for every meal before heading to the store, you can ensure to only buy the food items needed. Consider planning these meals around the sales that are occurring at the local grocery store so you can save even more money! Not only will this save some extra cash, but it is a lot healthier.

Networking

Networking with other families in your similar situation can also help to mitigate the costs of a young family. Family friends can help each other by setting up a support system that will save money by trading for services such as babysitting, lawn care, carpooling to and from school, etc.

Consider doing weekly dinners where everyone pitches in. This will make the work load is a lot easier and it won’t be near as expensive!

Shop for Generics

If you shop for generics, as opposed to named brands, you may save up to $200-300 per month. However, not all generics are as good as the brand. If you shop for generics, make sure you are actually saving money overall and not just “thinking” you are saving money! There are great generic brands that are nearly identical to the name brand product! Shopping generics is one of the best tips to save money with a family.

Couponing

Yes, couponing really does work and can save you a lot of money overtime. But remember, just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need it. In today’s world, there are several way’s to be a savvy couponer:

Get an App: There are great coupon apps that you can download on your mobile devices. Not only do they work great, but they are very organized and all electronic! No more cutting out each individual coupon, just simply download an app. Couponing with an app is a great solution.

Coupon Software: In today’s world, you no longer have to wait for the Sunday paper. Many websites, now allow you to print your coupons. With these sites, you can stay current on the latest offerings. All you need to use these sites are a computer and a printer!

Warehouse Membership

Grocery stores or other retailers offer movie ticket gift cards for a percentage of the face value. For instance, you might get $50.00 in movie tickets for $38.00. If you spread the gift card over matinees, you can attend more movies.

Kids Free

For a fun family night out, you might consider family restaurants who offer free kids meals. Using the kids free trick can save on a family outing, while having a great bonding experience. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have any deals on kids.

Research

Lastly, a young family can save more money annually by putting extra thought into all of their major purchases. Some expensive items, like a personal home computer or laptop, will be needed by the family for numerous reasons but this does not mean the family should consign themselves to the associated high costs. A little research into the quality and various prices of such needed but expensive items will ensure the family is getting the most for their dollar.

If properly done, consider buying used items! A lot of times, you can find something nearly new for half the price. If you buy used save the difference, you will really save money overtime.

We hope you have enjoyed these tips to save money with a family! Thank you for reading.

Save Money This Winter With These 8 Tips

Save Money During the Winter Months

We have talked a lot about how to save money in the winter. Sealing cracks in your window and doors, and checking if your house is properly insulated are just a few examples of these tips. Well we have some good news for you! Here are 5 more tips and tricks to help you save money this winter:

Use Fans When Needed

Leaving a bathroom fan on can remove an impressive amount of heat from the home. Leaving it on after showering is great for removing the possibility of mold, but don’t leave it on for an extended period of time. Find other ways to remove the moisture from the room.

Natural Heat

Did you know the sun can still warm you up in the winter? Open your curtains that face the sun during the day, and close the others when sunlight isn’t pouring through. The windows let heat in and allow it to escape and curtains hinder this process from happening. Invite the natural heat by leaving your curtains open! When learning how to save money in the winter, natural heat is a great tip.

Close the Fireplace Damper

Allowing your damper to stay open will let out a lot of the heat and bring in the cold air. It acts just like a hole in the roof, releasing the hot air up and letting the cold air come down. Just close it when you’re not using the fireplace.

It is very important to ALWAYS keep the damper open when the fireplace is ignited and in use!

Get a New Shower Head

With the cold weather coming around, we all use a lot more warm water! Purchase a cheap, low-flow shower head and install it. It can reduce the amount of wasted hot water by up to 50%, meaning you save a significant chunk on the energy it takes to heat up new, cold water. Getting a new shower head is a great way to save money this winter!

Air Leaks

Even the best made homes are vulnerable to developing an air leak over time. As the house settles into its foundation, walls can shift at odd angles, creating cracks and space around the frame of doors and windows. Those cracks let in just as much cold air as they let out your heat. If you can find and stop the leaks, your heating bill will be a lot lower.

Visual Inspection

Outside, check for weaknesses at the corners of your home, outdoor water faucets, and the spots where the foundation changes to siding. Inside, check all baseboards, weather stripping, fireplace dampers, door and window frames and electrical outlets for signs of a draft. Once located, seal them up good. Caulk can help to fix most areas. Your local hardware store would be a good place to look for other solutions.

The interior visual inspection is just as important as the exterior. There are many sneaky places that air can worm its’ way into your home. Check the following places for cracks and gaps that let air into your home:

  • Electrical outlets can let small breezes into your home
  • Switch plates
  • Door and window frames
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Dryer vents that pass through walls
  • Vents and fans

Lower the Thermostat

When you leave the home for several hours at a time, drop the heater down to sixty degrees. That’s just warm enough to make the space bearable when you return and keep your pipes from freezing. When you return, turn the heat back up to a more suitable temperature. Why run your bill up if no one is going to be there?

There are great thermostats out that will save you a lot of money by automatically turning down your heat when you leave the house. Contact a professional or do some research to find a new thermostat that meets your needs!

Bundle Up

Rather than cranking up the heat when you’re home, keep the thermostat at a constant 67-70 degrees. Winter is cold, so it really helps to dress for it. You don’t need to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter. Instead, wear long sleeves, pants and socks whenever you’re inside. If you are still cold, grab a soft jacket or a blanket to warm you up.

Check Your Insulation

It is important to make sure your insulation is still working as it should. Insulation is designed to block the outside weather. In the winter it stops the cold dead in its tracks. If not properly insulated, your walls can be letting in a lot of cold air.

When you pay attention to small and large details, you can save money in the winter months! We hope you have learned how to save money this winter. Thanks for reading!

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