The dark cold nights are kicking in so now is the time to make sure you’re ready for the winter months. Here are our top 9 tips for winter proofing your finances.
Winter can be a tough time for your finances, with soaring energy prices, harsh weather and the extra expense of Christmas you need to make your money stretches as far as possible.
Here are our 9 top tips to prepare your wallet for the winter months.
During the winter months you wrap up warm, put on a water proof jacket and wear a scarf to keep out the draft - so why not give your home the same treatment?
Small changes like bleeding your radiators, checking your doors and windows for draughts, getting your boiler serviced and your chimney swept and clearing your guttering all help keep your home warm and welcoming in winter, as well as saving you money on your energy bills.
There are also bigger tasks you undertake to make sure your home stays warm and dry this winter such as insulting your home or installing double glazing.
There are lots of grants available to help with the cost of insulation and big savings on energy bills to be had, take a look at our guide How to Insulate Your Home for less for advice on how to start saving today.
As well as the cold, winter has the tendency to be wet, sometimes very wet!
Read our guide on How to protect your Home when a Flood Strikes , to make sure you don’t get caught out if water levels start to rise.
Christmas is a big part of the winter months, both festively and financially. Making sure you spend smart when preparing for Christmas can make a big difference to your finances.
Hefty credit card bills and overdraft charges are the last thing you’ll want to face in the New Year, especially with VAT set to jump come January!
Read our guide to planning your festive spending to make sure your finances don’t catch a winter chill.
This year the price of energy has shot up just when you need to use more to keep your home warm.
So if you haven’t done so already, checking you are on the best energy tariff available could save you hundreds of pounds this winter.
Try following our Action Plan How to get cheaper utility bills to see if you can cut the costs of your winter fuel bill.
2010 caught lots of people out, with record snowfall across the UK, millions of people found themselves stranded at home and unable to get to work.
Speaking to your employer about your options just in case you're caught out by bad weather again this year will ensure you know what to do should the bad weather strike once again.
Make it clear that you’ll go into work whenever possible but ask if there’s any work you could do from home if you do get snowed in.
If you do get stuck in the snow again this year you can find out your rights to pay, by reading our guide on being paid on a snow day .
The winter months are when our cars are at their most vulnerable to the elements, so making sure you have breakdown cover is essential.
You can compare the different breakdown policies on offer using our breakdown cover comparison table. Don't just go for a recognised name, make sure you find the policy that gives you the level of cover you need for the best price before sign up.
Once you’ve sorted out your breakdown cover there are some simple checks and maintenance steps you can carry out on your car to hopefully stop you ever needing to call someone out.
Checking your tyres are safe for winter travel is a must - check pressure levels before starting a long journey and remember high pressure tyres are just as dangerous as flats.
The AA recommend that you have a minimum tread depth of 3mm (the legal minimum is 1.6mm) to help clear water.
You should also top up your levels of screen wash, oil (if required) and de-icer so your is well equipped to tackle the winter roads.
If your car is overdue a service booking one in before the winter weather gets in full swing is a good idea so you trouble-shoot any issues before they become a big (and expensive) problem.
You should also make sure you have a breakdown kit in your car just in case.
Packing a spade, torch, blanket and other essential supplies (including chocolate!) can be the difference between continuing your journey unabated and being stuck waiting for rescue at the roadside.
Stocking up on tinned food, bottled watter, candles and matches, UHT milk and other essentials means that if you can’t leave the house to go to the shops because of bad weather you won’t be caught short.
You may also want to make sure you have a shovel and some grit available to clear pathways to your home if needs be.
If you were born before the 5th July 1951 then you may qualify for a one off Winter Fuel Payment of up to £400 to help cover the costs of heating during the winter months.
These tax-free payments can make a big difference to the cost of your winter bills; visit the Gov.UK website to see if you qualify for a payment.
You can also use our Action Plan How to find out your benefit entitlement to check whether you're entitled to any other benefits to help you cope financially both with the cost of getting through the winter and otherwise.
When it’s cold it can take more energy to keep yourself warm as well as your home but that doesn’t mean you have to spend more on food or drink.
A great way to feed the family for less in the winter months is to cook some winter stews and casseroles.
These traditional winter dishes provide cheap meals for the whole family and mean you can make the most of cheap cuts of meat.
You can also cook them in bulk and freeze what’s left ready to be re-heated later to provide quick and easy winter warming grub.