Winter can be an expensive time of year. Turning the heating back on means you’ll need to spend more to pay your bills, and there’s plenty to plan for too. From holiday spending to daily budgeting despite unprecedentedly high food costs, there are so many expenses to cover.
Seeking practical and realistic solutions to help you cope through the season is vital for your financial and emotional wellbeing. Whether you’re living independently or providing for a young family, it’s always worth knowing a few of the best ways to get yourself in a better position before winter arrives.
Why is winter more expensive than other seasons?
For many families in the UK and across Europe too, the weeks leading up to the festive season and Christmas holidays make it the most expensive time of year. With even more family members to feed and expensive gifts to buy too, the costs add up quickly. In 2022 alone, it’s estimated that Brits contributed to online retail sales in excess of £30bn.
And when you factor in the extra costs incurred with celebrating and eating out while still buying groceries and paying higher energy bills, it’s easy to see why you might need more cash through the winter. With the right strategies and some perseverance too, you can keep your finances in a good place.
Five easy ways to improve your finances before winter
Start saving now
The best way to have more money by Christmas is to start saving as soon as you can. When you’ve got an emergency fund and some extra spending money too, you can rest assured that getting through the winter won’t put you in a tricky position financially.
Pay off your debts
Facing debt over the Christmas period is never easy. Try to start the season on a clean slate by paying off any existing debts now, especially if you’re expecting to spend a bit more cash than usual.
There are several strategies to dealing with personal debt. For a practical approach, debt consolidation loans could allow you to deal with your debts sooner rather than later, giving you more spending power in the short-term to get through Christmas. Otherwise, long-term payment plans could be better suited to your needs and those of your family.
Cut out unnecessary spending
Whether it’s a gym membership you’ve forgotten about or a streaming service you hardly ever use, cutting out extra commitments could help you to put aside more money for winter. Even if it only seems a small amount, cutting just one subscription could save you at least £100 over the course of a year – that’s enough for a special gift!
Switch to a smart meter
Many older properties are equipped with traditional style meters, which means that you can only pay your bills by taking a manual reading. Switching to a smart meter could save you more than you’d expect, especially if you use the heating throughout the day and night.
When you can’t switch to renewable or more efficient energy sources in your home, it’s important to do anything within your power to save money. Using a smart meter will enable you to track your spending and usage in real time, helping you follow a budget or prevent accidental overspending.
Keep the heat inside the house
While energy prices are beyond our control, there are a few tactics that can help you to keep your bills as low as possible. Saving money on heating costs starts by keeping as much heat inside the house as possible – but that’s easier said than done.
Firstly, quality insulation is essential. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a third of the heat in a home without insulation escapes through the walls. You should ensure that your home is equipped with cavity wall insulation, roof insulation, and insulated floors too.
Lastly, draughtproofing could keep things cosy inside too. Make sure that your doors and windows are properly sealed – and don’t forget to look out for any gaps, like the letterbox. Using soft, large rugs on hard floors and carpets could also make a surprising difference to the temperature inside the room.
If you have any urgent concerns about your finances, don’t hesitate to seek confidential and personal advice on debt and money.