No one wants to think about it while they are still enjoying the summer sunshine, but the fact of the matter is that winter will be here before we know it. Every year, we tell ourselves that this will be the year that we make sure that are properly prepared and that we won’t find ourselves in the same rushed, panicked position that we ended up in last year. But it is so easy to get distracted by everything else that is going on and find ourselves caught in the same old pattern.
With everything that is going on right now, it is more important than ever that you take sensible steps before you end up in the thick of the winter rush. It is the time of year when we need to make sure that we have properly budgeted for the winter energy bills as well as Christmas shopping. It is the time of year when the things that can go wrong in our homes and in our cars will go wrong. And it is the time of year when we can lose track of our physical and mental health. Here are a few tips that will help you prepare yourself and your household for the winter stresses before we get there.
Start Planning Expenses Now
The winter always ends up being the most expensive time of year. First of all, there are all the costs associated with Christmas, ranging from shopping for presents, buying the food for the big Christmas dinner, and making sure that everyone in your family is having the best time whether you are staying at home or going on holiday. What’s more, we already know that we are going to be in for some eye-watering energy bills this winter. The government may or may not take more steps to try and cushion the blow for everyone, but this is not something that we can afford to not be mindful of.
Given that we still have a few months left to prepare, try to make a list of all of your expenses now. Even if it is not exact, it will give you a general idea of what you are going to be working with so you can start saving and thinking about what costs you can cut. For example, you should think about comparing prices for the essential services that you use, whether it is your broadband connection or your mobile phone contract. If you know that money is going to be tight around Christmas, think about cutting back on the non-essential expenses now to start building up a bit of a cushion.
Get Proactive With Your Checks and Repairs
It is a fact of life that the things that we rely on will pick the worst possible time to break down. When we head into the winter, everyone holds their breath and hopes that they can make it through this year’s bad weather without something really important breaking down. The best way that you can try and steer clear of any major disruptive (and expensive) issues is by getting proactive now. If it has been a little while since you last got your boiler checked, then it is a good idea to pay someone to come and give it a once-over. The last thing you want is to be running out of hot water when you have the whole family over for Christmas!
It would also be a good idea to get your pipes inspected by a qualified plumber, as changes in temperature can cause a lot of wear and tear. Checking your insulation is a smart way to ensure that you are cutting down on the amount of waste heat that your home is losing and can help you save on your energy bills. Every homeowner knows that they have a few problem spots around the house, and it will help to get them identified and fixed now rather than paying someone to come and fix it on a rush job.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Car
Speaking of things that can derail our plans by breaking down, it is really important that you keep a close eye on how your car is doing during the winter months. With prices going up everywhere, an expensive breakdown is the last thing that anyone needs. Most of us dread the idea of taking our car into a garage because we all know that the prices can be incredibly steep, and most of us do not have much of an idea of what’s really going on under the hood. In this case, you just have to trust that the mechanic that we have taken it to both knows what they are doing and is giving us a fair price. Good maintenance and regular checks are the best ways to ensure that your car stays in good working order, and there are little things that you can do during the winter to stay on top of the wear and tear that will inevitably occur.
But if you want to get ahead of those breakdowns and get a better idea of what exactly is going on in your vehicle, then you should think about an OBD scanner. An OBD scanner reads the data and error memory that your vehicle records via its onboard diagnostics, and it will help you to access the data from your phone. But some of the market offer you more than others. What is the difference between an OBD and OBD2? An OBD reader is often make-specific, whereas an OBD2 reader like the one from Carly will help you access data from a wide range of different vehicles. Visit their website to find out more about how their tech can help you.
Get Proactive With Your Family’s Health
This point may require less of a financial investment than, say, getting your boiler replaced, but it is still very important. Any parent knows that the winter is always a rough time for viruses and bugs, and we all need to be keeping a careful eye out given everything that we have all been through with our health. For example, you should think about booking your flu vaccine early if you need it, as those slots will fill up fast. You always want to make sure that you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet for the winter months, so it may be a good idea to start making a list of what you will need from tissues and painkillers to throat sweets and vitamins.
It is also a good idea to factor in your mental health. The winter can be extremely tough on our mental health, and it is going to be harder than ever with rising prices. If you know that you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, you should think about investing in a SAD lamp. Make sure that you keep talking to your friends and family about how you are doing and talk to your immediate family about the importance of discussing matters of mental health. The last thing anyone wants is to be feeling like they can’t share the things that are difficult with the people who are closest to them.