5 Ways to Save Money in the Winter

It's no coincidence that with dropping temperatures, you may notice a dropping bank account. Winter is often the most expensive time of year for American consumers. Between higher utility bills and holiday expenses, you can quickly find yourself wondering where all your hard-earned money is going.The last three months of the year are expensive for consumers, so if you're trying to avoid going into debt during this season, check out our tips on heating up with savings this winter -- no matter how cold it gets.When the temperatures drop, it's nice to have something warm to sip. But by brewing coffee in your own kitchen, you can shorten your time walking outside in the cold weather and save a bundle in the long run. That $5 purchase each day adds up to over $1,200 you can put toward your emergency fund, retirement nest egg or next trip. (Your savings won't be quite that high, though; coffee at home isn't totally free.)More From Credit.com: 5 Easy Steps to Get Control of Your FinancesSocializing when it's cold can mean overpriced holiday events. Save yourself the trouble and take turns hosting BYOB parties with your friends. You don't need a lot to entertain -- try a game night, movie marathon or potluck dinner so you can get all the fun without the high price tag.More From Credit.com: 401k: What You Need to Know to Maximize YoursYou can warm your house for less this winter -- seal up any leaks, set a programmable thermostat so you can control the temperature, improve your insulation and establish certain zones in your home where you spend the most time that will receive more heat. And remember, your house doesn't need to be so warm you're comfortable in a T-shirt. Throw on a sweater and turn the thermostat down even just one degree to reap the benefits of energy savings.We all know it is almost always cheaper to cook at home. To save even more this winter, make stews and other meals that warm you up for several days of the week. Buy the ingredients in bulk and take one evening of prep work to ensure you eat well and cheaply all week. It's a strategy that can work all year long, but winter staples like chili and soup are especially easy to make (and reheat).There are plenty of low-cost or even free activities to help make your winter more fun. Take up a new hobby like knitting so you have a new scarf, try indoor herb gardening, go skating at a local frozen lake instead of the ice rink, explore a local museum exhibit and enjoy the central heating, or even make hot chocolate, throw snow boots on and take in the scenery on a nice walk.More From Credit.com: Painless Penny Pinching: How to Save Big Without Feeling DeprivedJust because the weather is cold doesn't mean your bank account needs to shrink. With these winter financial survival tips, you will enjoy the season without letting it ruin your finances.Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author. href='http://abcnews.go.com/Business/ways-save-money-winter/story?id=27949462' - http://abcnews.go.com/Business/ways-save-money-winter/story?id=27949462 -