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High heating costs getting you down?

A programmable thermostat can save you money this winter

Every winter and every summer, Canadians fight tirelessly to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature. Temperature swings in both seasons mean we have to adjust our thermostats constantly, but there is a better way: smart thermostats turn down the heating and cooling of your home when you don’t need it automatically, saving you money on your utility bill. Here are the latest insights into how a programmable thermostat can help.

  • 10-15% savings on your energy bill: Installing a programmable thermostat can save you up to 15% a year on your overall power bill if you have electric heating, according to the most conservative estimates. That’s about $145 for the average Canadian.
  • There are more potential savings: Many manufacturers claim smart thermostats save their customers up to 30% of their heating and cooling costs per year. These numbers are often based on ‘factory testing,’ but using your programmable thermostat properly could yield higher-than-average savings in the long run.
  • There are rebate programs: Enbridge is just one company that has put a rebate program in place for customers who buy a smart thermostat. It’s offering a $100 rebate for homeowners who buy one before the end of the year.
  • They add to resale value: Millennials rate homes with programmable thermostats and other smart technology higher: 70% feel smart technology will make their homes more energy efficient. This could be a great selling point if you’re hoping to market your home to young families in the future.
  • ‘Vacation mode’ can save you money: Many programmable thermostats can keep your home from getting too cold while you're away on a much needed winter holiday. They adjust the indoor climate automatically depending on the temperature outdoors, avoiding unnecessarily heating your house until you return.

Four warm winter drinks your guests will love

When the weather gets cold outside, nothing will make your guests feel more at home than by serving these warm, winter cocktails. Whether you’re just having a couple friends over or throwing a full blown holiday bash, here are a few cocktails that will make you a hero of a host. All of them can be served with or without alcohol.


  1. Hot cider toddy Pour apple cider into a saucepan and set over medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes. Remove the cider from the heat and stir in ½ cup of lemon juice along with orange liqueur and brandy, if you’d like. Garnish the cider with cinnamon sticks and orange slices to finish.
  2. Warm chai toddy Boil water with a cinnamon stick, then remove from the heat and add chai and orange pekoe tea bags. Let it steep for five minutes, then remove both the cinnamon and the tea bags. Add the juice of two oranges and 1 tbsp of dark rum (optional) for each mug you pour. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and twists of orange rind.
  3. Mulled wine Heat wine with sugar, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and allspice until the mixture is warm (be sure to take it off the heat before it boils). Serve the mulled wine with slices of clementine for the ultimate flavour. Feel free to substitute the wine with apple juice for a non-alcoholic option.
  4. Mexican hot chocolate Bring milk to a simmer on the stove, then whisk in chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil and keep whisking until it’s slightly thick and smooth. Add coffee liqueur, if you’d like, and serve with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick. Yum!

Flying this winter?

Pack these essentials in case you get delayed


December really can be the ‘perfect storm’ for anyone travelling by air. Snow storms, combined with very high passenger numbers mean delays are a reality for anyone criss-crossing this vast country. Here are some ‘must pack’ items to help get you through. Make sure to tuck them in your carry-on and not in your checked bag:

  • A comfortable change of clothes, including socks, underwear, and a jacket
  • An iPod/MP3 player and its charger, books, and magazines to pass the time
  • A list of contacts, including phone numbers for your airline and travel agent
  • Snacks/granola bars and water (you’ll have to buy a bottle after security)
  • A travel toothbrush, travel toothpaste, wet wipes, kleenex, and a comb

These items should provide some much-needed comfort if you’re stuck in an airport for a few hours. If you’re delayed for longer, you’ll want to scout out a place to have a hot shower or even get a hotel room in the airport until things get moving again. Bon voyage!


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