Every Day

Getting Ready For Winter

Winter is coming whether we like it or not. In a few short months it will be here. 

As I was walking toward my front door yesterday, I saw that sunlight was coming from under the door and leaving a spot of sun on our entryway rug. It made me realize that we have a leak under the door. So I asked Hubby to check it out and get it fixed soon. It looks like we need a new sweep put on the door. That is not something I want to let go with the heat going to be turned on soon. A lot of $$$$’s could leak out all winter. UGH!

Before he goes to the hardware store for the sweep, he will check our other two outside doors to make sure that they are airtight.

It will also be time soon to put our storm windows down instead of the screens. So that has also been put on my to do list.

If you haven’t stocked up on furnace filters, it is a  good time to do it….before you need them. I just purchased 12 of the cheapest filters I could at Home Depot on the recommendation of our heating expert. They were $.98 each. They get changed on the first of every month in our home.

Hubby is always cold in the house when cold weather hits. I didn’t understand it because we keep our heat at 70-72. But let me tell you, I understand it now. Since I have lost so much weight, I am always cold. So the both of us plan on bundling up this year inside the house. I have very few long sleeve shirts that fit me. So every week when I go to the market, I hit up Goodwill and look for them. So far I haven’t found any that I like that will fit me. But I will keep looking. 

In the meantime, I have sweaters and sweatshirts that I will wear. They are 4 sizes too big but will work when no one sees me. If I have to, I will put on my too big coat in the house. Hubby wears a coat and fingerless gloves  most of the winter in the house.

I refuse to put the heat up higher than 72 so we will just have to layer and go with it.  

I just washed all of our extra blankets that have been off the beds all summer. They will get put on soon too to keep us warm before the heats goes on. When the heat goes on, Hubby sets the night time temperature to 65. When he does that, I put the electric blanket on our bed.

Hubby just caulked windows last Fall but he will check and make sure that it does not have to be done this Fall. 

All of our energy saving shades are in good shape and fit tightly so none of them need to be replaced.

We will use our garage door to enter and exit our home because it is more protected than the other doors. That will help keep as little cold air out of our home as possible. 

Hubby has scheduled the appointment to have our sprinkler system blow out. After the company does that, he will turn the outside water faucets off in the basement and drain the outside faucets so they don’t freeze during the winter.  

I am sure you have all noticed that I have been stockpiling for the winter. I will be doing one more  large stockpiling shop just before Thanksgiving when turkeys and hams go on sale really cheap.  I will stock on turkeys, hams, stuffing, butter, sugar and flour. Perhaps a few other things too. 

We have enough other meat to get us through the winter. Matter of fact, I am cooking my first sirloin roast of the Fall in the pressure cooker today along with some veggies and some potatoes for Hubby. It just seems like a Fall day today plus I have a ton of errands to run so cooking quickly in the pressure cooker will work well.

The reason that I stockpile is so that I don’t have to go out too many times over the winter to get food. I do not like driving in the snow and ice. And I don’t like the cold. This way I can also stock up at rock bottom prices too. 

When and if I need fresh stuff or dairy, I now have Top’s, Wegman’s and Super Walmart’s pickup or delivery available to me which I will use. If we get a stretch of really bad weather, I will place an order. If I know that it is going to be a good winter day, I may do pickup. It will all depend on the weather. 

If I am going to pay for delivery, I will wait until I have a large list to make the delivery charges worth it. There is really nothing that we can’t go without until that happens. We have plenty of food.

What are you doing to get ready for winter? Please feel free to leave a comment and share with all of us. 


Every Day

Watching The Large Expenses

I have always said that watching the small expenses is extremely important. Those small ones add up to huge amounts in one year’s time. They can sink your entire budget.

But you also have to watch the large expenses. You may have a mortgage or a home equity loan and could find the money to pay a little extra on the principal each month. This will not only pay off your mortgage early but save you a fortune in interest charges. 

Saving up the cash to buy a new or used car will save you the interest that a car loan will cost.

Watching your grocery budget each month by shopping sales and menu planning will keep you from wasting many dollars.

But one of the largest expenses you have every year are your utility bills. They cost a fortune. It is a battle for us to keep them low. 

We just got our one month gas and electric bill. We  had frigid temps here this past month and I was expecting our bill to be quite large. It didn’t disappoint. The electric portion of our bill was $ 82.10 for 645 KWH. The natural gas portion of our bill was $ 177.24 for 198 CCF’s. Then the company charges us a $ .87 payment charge just to issue the bill and post the payment which I find ludicrous. But NYS allows it. So the total bill was $260.21 for 33 days with an average daily temperature of 24 degrees fahrenheit. It was one of the highest winter bills that we have ever had since we moved back to New York. 

Of course, the company gets a rate increase every year or two because we all know the price of everything always goes up. So between the rate increases and the cold temperatures in the winter and warm ones in the summer, it is an every day battle to keep these bills down.

The last twelve months have cost us $ 2216.33 in just electricity and natural gas.

You all know that we do our best to try to do everything to cut these costs. This winter, we added a storm door to our leaky back door. I closed off 2 bedrooms by closing the heating vents in those rooms so that they don’t cost a fortune to heat when no one is using them. I use cloth snakes against our basement doors to keep that cold air down there. I also put one on the bottom of our back door since we don’t use that door during the winter so it doesn’t have to be moved every time we go in and out.

And we try to watch all of the things that I have written about before: herehere, and here, .

I wish I could turn the heat down but Hubby is always cold. We keep the temp at 71 during the day in our home and even with that Hubby wears a sweatshirt jacket and sometimes a winter jacket in the house. He is always cold. 

I do a pretty good job on the electric bill by washing clothes in cold water and hanging laundry. If I use the dryer, I use my wool balls to save on that energy.  I also try to use small appliances as much as I can to save on that bill because they are cheaper to use. 

We keep lights turned off in the daytime unless it is a dreary day and we need them to read. I try to keep the energy saving shades down in the winter. I defrost my chest freezer when it needs it so that it runs more efficiently. We use power strips on some of our TV’s so I can turn them totally off at night. It is too hard to get everything plugged in that we have in the great room behind the cabinet so we don’t do that one.

When I cook. I try to keep covers on pans especially when I cook on the gas stove. There are so many things that I do that I can’t remember them all.

I hope I am not missing anything but I would love to hear how you keep your utility bills down. Could you please share with me and everyone who reads here how you do it by leaving a comment. I will be checking them during the day to get them posted right away so that they can help other people.


Every Day

The Wind Is Howling

I have been listening to the wind howling for hours. It is gusting at 45-55 miles per hour.  We have skipped autumn this year. Two weeks ago we were in the ’80’s and now it is winter. They even predicted some snow on the weather forecast last night. I am hoping they are wrong.

Our heat has been on since the day after our last 80’s day. I think that has been about 2 weeks. We were reviewing the past years electric and gas bills today and we have had a significant increase in the cost. Hubby says the yearly amount has jumped from October 2017 to October 2018 by $250. Most of the increase is a result of how hot our summer was which cost so much more in air conditioning. We are just under $2000. for that year time period. I realize rates have gone up also and now they are telling us that here in western NY, we can expect our winter heating costs to go up about 5% more. 

So all of this has me thinking about how you and I can save on our heating costs this winter. I am going to try to hold them down where I can.

We have a programmable thermostat. Hubby has it set for the heat to go down to 65 at night and then back up to 71 in the morning. Hubby gets cold easily so we can’t lower it anymore. This makes it easy because it does it automatically. If you don’t have one, you should get one. You can get one for $ 40. – $ 50. on

This morning I will dig out our cloth snakes to put up against our outside doors and the basement doors to keep the heat in the house.

Our back door is not as tight as it should be so we will be purchasing a storm door this week and have it installed. That will keep the drafts out and off my back while I am eating at the table. 

Hubby changed the furnace filter when he turned the heat on. We will do this monthly.

I have the small heater that plugs in ready for company for one of the guest rooms. Because the windows in that room are almost floor to ceiling, it gets colder than the other rooms. We only run it about once or twice a year for a few days.

We are already keeping most of the shades and blinds closed day and night. The only ones we open are the ones where the sun is brightly shining in. We have shades that have a heat layer inside- like a honeycomb. The shades in the living areas let the light shine in. The room darkening ones in the bedrooms do not let the light in. But in the winter, we rarely open those. It is cheaper to use one LED bulb. 

Extra blankets have been put on the beds so that we can be warm at night when the temperature in the house goes down.

All of the baseboard cracks have been resealed and the house has been caulked outside.

We have our supplies ready to make hot chocolate.  Our supply of coffee and tea is stocked for the winter. If we catch a chill even when it is 71 in the house, the hot beverages usually warm us up.

I love to bake in this colder weather. So when I have time, I bake quick breads, muffins, donuts, cakes, pies, etc. I turn the oven off a few minutes before they are done. Then when I take my baked goods out of the oven, I leave the door open to let the hot air into the house. I always try to load my oven when I bake or roast meat and then I freeze some of it for the future. 

We try to only use our garage door when we go in and out. Less cold air comes into the house that way. The wind doesn’t come into the house. We also stay home more in the winter so there is less opening and closing of doors. 

We have our supply of sweaters and sweatshirts at the ready. And all of our throws are near the sofas and chairs in the great room. 

We also continue to do whatever we can in the house to use less electricity and natural gas whether that is hot water, lighting, using the dryer less or not at all, running full loads of laundry and or dishes. We continue to use as many small appliances to cook as we can instead of the stove top or oven. If we can fit something to roast or bake for dinner into the toaster oven, we do.

What do you do to save on your winter heating bills?