Winter is coming. Actually, you can say that at just about any time of the year except actual winter. Even in those states that lay claim to “summer all year round” no one can escape winter completely. That is why it’s important to be proactive when it comes to your wintertime spending. Most of us will find our utility bills bumping up until spring. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are some simple ways to save money this winter. Here’s what you need to do:

Furnace Tune Up First

You might have already fired up the furnace this winter but did you have it serviced first? A qualified home heating company could put your furnace through a 30-point inspection. That translates into 30 things that could go wrong with your furnace and put a damper on your home heating. That’s not going to keep your toes toasty!

Kitty Litter Instead of Salt

If you are in charge of de-icing the sidewalks and digging out the car, then you might also have bags of professional grade salt at the ready. Hopefully, you saved the receipt on that ice. That’s because you can use cheap kitty litter instead. Yes, the same stuff you put in the box for Fluffy to do their business works great on ice. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than salt. Price it out!

Use a Smart Thermostat

Not only can you have a smart TV but also a smart thermostat. This would allow you to program your thermostat to come on and off throughout the day and night. You really shouldn’t be running your heat if no one is home. It also might make sense to taper off the heat throughout the night when you can stay warm under the covers and then kick it up in the morning before you wake. Smart.

Start Baking

Believe it or not, fireplaces are the worst thing you could use to warm up your home. Yes, they might make that area around the fireplace cozy but that fire is actually taking the oxygen from around the rest of the house to keep the fire going. If you really want to warm up your home, then try baking in the oven. You could actually see the temps going up by several degrees with a decent baking session. As an added bonus, you’ll be fully supplied with cakes, muffins and other goodies. Win/win all around!

Go With Electric Blankets

As appliances go, electric blankets use very little power. They also can keep you very warm. Not only can you use the blankets while sleeping, but plug them in when you are watching TV. Any chance you can take to keep the thermostat turned down low you should take.

Plug Up the Leaks

We’re not talking about the plumbing leaks (although those should be plugged up, too!). Instead, plug up the heat leaks. The biggest culprit could be under your door. You can pick up a draft stopper that is like a long pillow that slips under your door jab. It still lets you open the door but it keeps the heat from escaping. These can be used for every door in your home as you can close off vents and trap the heat where you’re staying.

Of course, the best advice for staying warm in the winter is wearing layers. That applies to the home as well. Throw on a sweater or thermals and keep your body heat where it belongs… on your body! When winter is over, compare the bills to last year and see where you saved.