Here in the Binghamton NY area, we just found out that heating oil will go from $2.78 (end of this past winter price) to an estimated $4.30 (this coming winter).
I don’t know about you, but that makes me think! I know that at our church our expected fuel costs are going to rise from $7000, which we had trouble raising to over $10,000. I know there are lots of families in our town who had trouble meeting their fuel bill last winter-I shudder to imagine what will happen in the winter of 08-09. . .
All of this is to suggest that we all need to start taking the long view. It isn’t enough to simply reduce our costs to make ends meet today. The smarter bet is to take a look ahead and try to save even more now so that there is money set aside for the costs of the coming winter. This could mean reconsidering some major purchases. For example, you might be able to swing a nice vacation this summer without going into debt-but perhaps the smarter thing to do would be to enjoy some inexpensive local attractions and save the money for winter fuel costs.
Is there anything you can do now to help with future costs? Maybe if you use fuel oil (as we do) you want to get your tank topped off now at the current price. Check your caulk around windows etc now, rather than waiting till the winter-maybe you could do a window or so a week throughout the summer and have it all done by fall.
Need more insulation on your windows? Perhaps you should research thermal window coverings now and either start saving, look for sales, or buy a few at a time. Consider and research other options in your area. Would using a pellet stove decrease costs in the long run? Can you use supplemental electric or kerosene heat (make sure you follow all safety concerns!). Should you install programmable thermostats?
Actions could even be as simple as perparing the family for lower indoor temp settings and wearing sweaters and socks indoors this winter by talking about it now-giving them time to accustom themselves to the idea.