“How to Save Money in February”

By:  Amy Hannold – Frugal Living Editor

Around the House:

Dress in Layers, adding a sweater before you turn the heat up.  Replace and/or clean furnace filters for health and efficiency. Check doors for drafts, applying weather stripping where needed.

Kids and adults can learn more about reducing energy use (and cutting the power bill by 10-percent or more) at EnergyHog.org.   Look for the “Handbook” which will guide you towards home energy efficiency, room by room.  Families can together complete a “Scavenger Hunt” to find the “energy hogs” lurking in your home.

Appliance rebates:  energysavers.gov lists rebates available for energy-efficient appliances.  Contact your local electricity company for any “cash for clunkers” program (they pay you and haul away an old appliance), energy audit opportunities and money-saving ideas.

Valentines a Comin:  This is your notice that it will soon be valentines day.  Begin those love letters, handmade valentines and baked goods now.   Stores may still have great deals on Valentines-appropriate items at after Christmas prices.  Once February 15th (and the weeks following), look for gifts and gift-closet items for less.  Think birthdays, “pick-me-up” surprises, and even Easter.  I recently scored boxes of chocolate, tissue paper, specialty food treats and cute long underwear at up to 75-percent off.

February Sales:  Televisions, snack foods, cameras, Fall-released video games, winter apparel, and all sorts of unsold inventory that stores want to clear before the arrival of spring merchandise.  I’ve also noticed that office supplies, home organizing tools/accessories are also cheaper, as people are preparing their taxes.

Speaking of Taxes:  Tax time can renew any deflated inspiration we might feel since we resolved to become more organized on New Years Day.  Thrift stores and Freecycle can be great sources for affordable containers to create more order in your daily life. Bring some “new eyes” and an objective view into your cluttered areas when you work with a friend.

Eat In Season and to Your Health:

Combine your goals to eat better and spend less by choosing foods that are in-season.  Its a great time to try new recipes with leafy, fiber-rich choices such as broccli, cauliflower, onions, spinach, and even brussels sprouts.  Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes and avacadoes are now in season to flavorfully compliment your every meal.

Trim your grocery bill by adding more soups, stews, and casseroles to your menu.  Use beans, leftover vegies and meats and a variety of grains to create new family favorites.

Sort Now, Swap Later:  as you’re getting more organized, also be searching your home for items no longer needed.  Give yourself a something to look forward to (and a deadline) by planning a “stuff swap” with your neighbors.  Everyone will be motivated to bring good items to share and enjoy taking a few new treasures home.

Enjoy February,

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