Many people are dealing with tight budgets, especially as the end of the year arrives. Unfortunately, this is also the season that we wear more clothing, turn up the heat, and spend more time indoors, increasing home laundry, utility, and cleaning costs. With a few easy changes and a sharp financial eye, we can keep these expenses low. By continuing frugal habits through remaining seasons, households can make positive strides in budget maintenance.
Wash clothing in cold water to keep water heating costs low. Make scented bags of coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lavender, powdered orris root, and a cotton wool ball dipped in rose or geranium essential oil. Dry clothes with these to add a fresh smell. Avoid using the tumble dryer and instead use a rotary washing line cover to dry clothing outdoors all year. This keeps wet clothes off the radiator, where they create a fire hazard.
If floorboards are draughty, apply plastic strips over the gaps for an immediate improvement in energy efficiency. The frame of a draughty exterior door can be fitted with a bent copper strip attached by brass tacks. Applying secondary glazing to draughty windows is much less expensive than double glazing. A carpenter can create wooden frames with an inlaid brass seal and laminated glass for hundreds, rather than thousands, of pounds.
Oil and gas heating are expensive so why not revert to wood? A wood-burning stove will quickly pay for itself and reduce reliance on oil delivery during a harsh winter storm. The most efficient stoves will keep the entire house warm when outdoor temperatures drop.
The cost of wood is affordable especially if the material can be gathered from the backyard. Borrowing a thermal imaging camera from the environmental agency or library of a local authority and filling in identified energy leaks prevents heat from escaping the home.
Commercial cleaning products can be expensive and some contain harsh chemicals. Make a gentle surface cleaner from crushed elderflowers steeped in boiling water. Strain the solution and for every two parts elderflower water, add one part white wine vinegar.
A creamy wood polish can be made by melting soya wax and beeswax and combining it with white wine vinegar, a cup of boiling water, some soap flakes, and several drops of essential oil.
Replace tungsten light bulbs with LED bulbs that use much less electricity. Save money on interior lighting by installing sunpipes in dark areas. These pipes magnify light from the sun or moon and direct it through mirrored ducts, delivering natural light that is quite bright. Save energy in the bathroom by replacing the traditional shower head with an aerating version that uses a reduced amount of water.
Taking these steps should keep energy costs low during a season when utility prices are typically quite high. These small adjustments will soon become a way of life, allowing consumers to keep utility and cleaning bills low all year. To reduce expenses further, look for more energy-saving tips and recipes for homemade cleaners.