Sense & Centsibility Blog

How to Avoid Shorter Days Affecting Your Budget

It's that time of year again where the days keep getting shorter and the nights get longer. Did you know that shorter daylight time can actually affect your budget? Here's how to avoid increased costs just because of the season change.


Daylight savingsWhile many people are on a screen for work during the day, less daylight and colder temps leads to staying inside more. And you might watch more TV or be on your phone more. Here's what to do instead of being stuck to a screen all night:

  • Play with your pets.
  • If your place isn't big enough for fetch, try tug of war.
  • Have play time with the kids or your spouse/partner.
  • Dust off those old board games or pack of cards and play games.
  • Invite friends over.
  • Read a book.

Physical and Mental Health

If you're in a colder climate like I am (Minnesota), you may know that we tend to eat a little bit more when it starts to turn colder and sometimes even get a little depressed due to lack of sun. And when we want something to eat, often we spend more money on comfort food. So to to be healthier and save money try the following to help:

  • Exercise.
  • Have a dance party with your kids...or pets. :)
  • Watch a comedy to put you in a better mood.
  • Take a hot bath.
  • If you need comfort food, make chili, soup, or stew.
  • Take Vitamin D (just make sure to consult your doctor if needed).
  • Enjoy time with family and friends.
  • Do outdoor activities. Try skiing, snowshoeing, or even building a snowman.

Home Lighting and Heat

Easy math will tell you that less sunlight equals more use of electricity for lighting indoors. This can take a toll on your energy bills, but you can take measure to minimize the extra lighting costs of winter:

  • Open curtains when there is light. It can help with both light and even a little bit of warmth from the sun.
  • Use lighting with dimmers/adjustable brightness.
  • Turn off lights when you're not in the room.
  • Turn down heat at night and turn it down when you  leave the house.
  • Try keeping your heat down by 1 or 2 less degrees than normal if you can.
  • Put plastic coverings on your windows to keep heat in.

These are just a few ideas to help you save a little money, keep your budget balanced, and maintain sanity when it gets cold...because winter is coming whether we like it or not!

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.