Tips for Managing Utility and Heating Costs this Winter 
A Message from Richard Porth          
President/CEO of United Way of Connecticut  

As temperatures drop, home utility usage begins to rise--and so do utility bills. Fortunately, Energize CT offers many strategies that encourage efficient energy usage and can help keep Energy your utility expenses down this winter. 
Whether you heat your home with oil, gas, or electricity, the Energize CT website has tips to help keep heating costs in check during cold winter months. A few of these tips are included below. For a full list of smart energy tips, visit the Energize CT Tips Home Page.
Energy Saving Tips:
  • Many hot water heaters are factory set for 140° F. That is a lot higher than most people need, and resetting it to 120° F can save energy and money.
  • Set the thermostat as low as comfort permits -- each degree above 68° F adds 3% to the amount of energy needed for heating.
  • Close heating vents and radiator valves in unused areas.
  • Make sure that drapes and furniture do not block registers for supply or return air.
  • During winter months, closing curtains or drapes at night can cut down on heat loss.
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, including closets and rooms not in use.
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk and weather-strip wherever necessary.
For information about energy conservation, utility assistance, home weatherization and other programs or resources available to help with utility and energy costs, please visit the Utility Assistance page on the 2-1-1 website, check out our eLibrary papers regarding Energy Assistant/Utilities or dial 2-1-1.

My Smart Money™ is a New Website Geared Towards Helping You Plan for a More Secure Financial Future
United Way and the SunTrust Foundation recently launched My Smart Money, a new website aimed at helping families and individuals better manage their finances. The free, online financial tool offers guidance for those with immediate financial needs as well as tips and strategies to plan for a more secure financial future. These step by step strategies help users: establish a budget, reduce debt, begin to save and improve their credit. Through a series of basic financial questions, My Smart Money can also assess your individual "Financial Health" and provide a "Prescription (RX)" for improving your financial health. Visit My Smart Money to get the information and tools you need to start saving for a more secure financial future.

Avoid the Wait, File for Unemployment
Benefits Online
The Connecticut Department of Labor (CT DOL) now allows for unemployment claims to be filed or reopened through their online filing system.
Skip the wait and visit the CT DOL online filing system to file for your unemployment benefits online.
Connecticut Council for Philanthropy is Hosting a Webinar on the 2016 ALICE Update Report
Learn more about ALICE® ( Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and the work that United Ways and many great community partners are doing to help ALICE achieve financial security through an informational webinar hosted by the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm. Visit the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy Programs  page to register and for more information.
Find Holiday Meals Being Offered Near You
Visit and search "Christmas Meals" to find a  location near you to celebrate this holiday season or click HERE for a list of 37 locations offering meals throughout Connecticut on Christmas Day. There are a number of programs and organizations throughout the state working to make the holidays a happy time for families in need.