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Cooler months are ahead Are you prepared?

Posted in Beyond Finances on September 23, 2019

Fall is officially here and soon there'll be a cool nip in the air. Before you know it the leaves will turn vibrant colors reminding us old man winter isn’t too far behind. reparation is key and can save you time and money in the long run. So, perhaps now is a good time to get ready for the colder months ahead.

Fall

With the cooler weather, you may find yourself and your family wanting to spend more time outdoors.

This is the perfect time to spruce up any outdoor living spaces. For porches, patios, and sunrooms, try freshening up the look of your outdoor areas with new fall-colored, inexpensive throw pillows and soft, cozy inexpensive blankets, adding both style and function.

Adding a fire pit can be a great way to create warmth on those cool fall evenings. If you’re looking to save money, there are many do-it-yourself fire pits that can be found on Pinterest and the Internet. Depending on the look and functionality, building a fire pit can be timely and expensive, but if roasting marshmallows and making s’mores with your family snuggled next to a roaring fire is your dream, then it may be worth the extra effort and money. Short on cash? It could be advantageous to take out a home equity loan to help with the expense. On the other hand, if something smaller will work, consider a Chimnea that can provide extra warmth without the huge expense.

With the change of season comes the end of Daylight Saving Time, you may find it getting darker earlier and want to lighten things up a bit. Consider outdoor lighting. Traditional lighting is an option and solar lighting can be also be a good and economical choice, especially for hard to reach areas that have no access to outlets or electricity.

Fall may also be a good time to have your house pressure washed to remove any pollen and residue left from the hot summer months. Many professionals suggest pressure washing a house twice a year to keep it looking clean and fresh. A little maintenance along the way can also help to prevent bigger expenses down the road. This is also a good time to clean any outdoor furniture.

Winter

In preparing your home for winter, there can be a number of things you need to do. Much of what needs to be done depends on the climate where you live.

First, you’ll want to have your HVAC checked out to ensure that it’s running properly. Many HVAC companies have a maintenance contract and they automatically come out once or twice a year to test the unit. Depending on the cost, this may be worth it. The last thing you want to do is wake up to the first cold snap and find that your heater isn’t working, so make sure to have this done early.

Check all windows and exterior doors to make sure seals are functioning properly. That means no cold air is getting inside and no warm air can escape. Not only will this keep you and your family comfortable, it will also keep your utility bills from skyrocketing in the winter. Many utility companies allow their customers/members to budget their monthly heating and cooling bills by paying an annual average. By making sure your house is insulated properly, you can keep your average down.

To keep pipes from bursting, you’ll want to drain and wrap any exposed outdoor pipes and faucets. If you have a swimming pool, you’ll want drain and close the pool well before the first freeze.

Finally, you’ll want to have things such as sand or salt on hand for icy steps and walkways.

Don’t forget to winterize your car. Make sure you have everything you need for driving in winter.

You’ll need things like a deicer to keep the windows clear of ice.

Chains for tires if you live in an area that gets heavy snows.

Make sure your auto emergency kit is stocked and up to date.

It’s also a good idea to keep a blanket and even a change of clothes and shoes in your vehicle for emergencies.

And it’s super important to keep your car well maintained throughout the year, but it’s especially important in the winter months. You don’t want to be without heat or stranded somewhere just because you didn’t take the time to have the fluids checked.

The Holiday Season

The holiday season is the bright spot of what can otherwise be a dreary wintertime. Granted, the holidays can be hectic and stressful. It's easy to get wrapped up in the fun and overdo it – to eat too much, to drink too much, and to spend too much money.

To keep from overdoing it on the holiday cheer, and well before the season is upon us make a list of all the things you need in the way of holiday food, baking, and decorations. Check all decorations you already have to make sure they are all in good working order. Also, identify all the things you want to do over the holidays such as performances to attend, parties to go to, informal get-togethers, and of course, make a gift list. Will you travel over the holidays? Take this into consideration as well. Then take some time to make a complete budget for all these items and when the time comes stick to your budget. If you’re an impulsive buyer, go ahead and budget for a couple impulsive buys. That way you don’t have to feel guilty or stress about the extra expense. Don’t let the holidays kill your finances.

This all goes to show a little preparation can go a long way when it comes to your preparedness and your finances. So, how do you prepare for the colder months? Share your other ideas and tips in the comment section of this blog post.

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