RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This winter, many Virginians are facing the decision to turn down the heat or pay hefty bills to stay warm. But some expert tips can help you fight the cold while keeping your wallet happy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects homeowners to spend 27% more on this year’s energy bills than they did last year.

But even with this expected increase, there are several ways to save money on utility bills.

Virginia Residents with low incomes can apply for Energy Assistance, which uses federal funding to help Virginiana pay energy bills, weatherize their homes and repair heating and cooling equipment.

Other expert tips include small changes to your home that can make a big difference to your energy bill. You can set your thermostat lower and instead leave your shades open to let in some sun and natural heat.

If you have some extra cash, you can also invest in a smart thermostat which will remotely turn down temperatures when no one is home.