This is the seventh installment of a monthly series that shows the effect small simple changes in our lives can have on our finances. Last month, we looked at homemade holiday treats as opposed to store bought. This month, with winter here, people will be cranking the heat to keep warm. Let’s see how much we can save by actually being diligent with our heating bills.

Summer and winter may be polar opposites, but the same energy issues are still relevant. In summer, people love their air conditioning. In winter, people crank the heat. Like everything else, I’m sure most people appreciate paying a premium for instant gratification. The use of energy is no different.

I was chatting with a buddy of mine who works as head of public relations at BC Hydro, our local electric company. They were sharing with me how much money people can save during the winter if they regulated the length of time they kept the heat on. To be honest, it wasn’t that the dollar figure that surprised me as much as it was the minimal adjustment needed to achieve it. By simply putting on a sweatsuit and some thick socks, the difference in comfort was next to nothing. So how much would you save?

The Cost Of Heating Your Place

A 1000 watt electric heater running for 50 hours a week will set you back about $15 during the winter months. Most homes will use about four of these, so let’s say the total is $60. $60 per year is a pretty small number and, at first, I figured it was too small to kick up a fuss over. However, it was more an illustration of how people can save even a little with a such a tiny adjustment.

The Results

Let’s imagine that you saved that $60 into your RRSP at an 8% rate of return.

  • 10 years – $600 contributed, $929 market value
  • 20 years – $1200 contributed, $2965 market value
  • 30 years – $1800 contributed, $7425 market value
  • 40 years – $2400 contributed, $17999 market value

How Will You Stay Warm

To be honest, I’d rather just bundle up. Not for the financial gain, but more because I’m too impatient to wait for the whole place to heat up. But as long as it’s there, the financial gain isn’t that bad either for just $60 a year.