How can consumers save on utilities this winter?

Each year, consumers may dread the coming winter not just because it means braving cold temperatures and snow, but also because it usually comes with much higher bills for heating and other utilities. However, that doesn't necessarily have to be the case for everyone.

There are many ways in which consumers can cut their financial outlays for utilities every year as long as they're a little smarter about what they do in their home lives, according to a report from the Huntsville Times. One of the biggest things that many people might not realize is that if they have appliances plugged in even though they're not being used, they may be costing themselves a significant amount of money. Simply by unplugging those devices, they may be able to save as much as $200 annually.

However, when it comes to winter weather specifically, something as simple as making a ceiling fan spin in the other direction can go a long way, the report said. Traditionally, because hot air rises, fans work by pulling cool up toward the ceiling and distributing it throughout the room. By making it run in the opposite direction, homeowners can make sure they're forcing all that heat that's gathering at the ceiling and push it back toward the floor.

What else can be done?
Likewise, it might be wise to invest in an automatic thermostat which can be set to turn on and off at specific times of the day, the report said. For instance, if everyone in the family is going to be out of the house from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., it doesn't make much sense to have the heat on full blast, and setting the house to be just 60 degrees or so at this time can go a long way to cut heating bills regularly. Other electrical items, such as lights and appliances, can also be put on timers to make them more efficient.

The more consumers can do to cut costs in their everyday lives, the better off they're likely to be financially. That's often because doing so could give them a little bit of extra money to contribute to outstanding balances or other bills they might have each month, which can work toward freeing them from debt and put them back on the path toward true financial freedom.

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