Ways to stay warm

31 Frugal Ways To Stay Warm In Winter

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If cold weather sees your bank balance dropping as fast as the outdoor temperatures, you’ll love these frugal ways to stay warm in winter without turning up the heat. The more of these you try, the cozier you’ll feel!

Ways to Stay Warm in Your Bed

1. Heat from a bag. A hot water bottle can keep you warm and cozy. Before you turn in for the night, slip a full hot water bottle between your sheets. By the time you’re done brushing teeth and setting your alarm, you’ll have frugally warmed up your bed.

2. Add throws. If you’re always cold but your bed partner is not, consider adding an extra throw blanket or two to your side. You’ll stay warmer without making your partner sweat.

3. Choose the right bedding. Switch to flannel sheets during the winter to help stay warm in a cold bedroom. The brushed surface of flannel traps body heat, so you’ll feel warmer all night.

4. Use a heated blanket. It costs only pennies to use an electric blanket which can keep you affordably warm no matter how cold your room gets. Look for one that has a preheating mode to take the chill off your bed and an auto-off feature so it doesn’t cost you money when not in use.

Dressing to Stay Warm When It’s Cold

5. Choose comfort over couture. Looser-fitting clothing traps more body heat, which helps you stay warmer. Sure, those leggings are comfortable, but unless they’re the fleece-lined variety, they’ll just leave you cold. Go for multiple layers of natural fiber clothing and save the spandex/Lycra for later.

6. Pick the proper footwear. Remember those Peter Pan boots from the 90s that made our feet sweaty and cold? Wearing cozy, warm slippers is a simple and affordable way to stay warm in a cold room, so make sure everyone in the family has a pair. Don’t like slippers? Try slipper socks instead.

7. Add a hat. It may seem silly to wear a hat indoors, but if you’re faced with the choice of putting food on the table or heating the house, wearing a hat suddenly makes a lot of cents… er, sense.

Avoid Losing Heat Through Your Windows

8. Create a barrier. Seal windows and unused exterior doors with plastic insulation kits. They’re not difficult to put on, you just need a blow dryer to “shrink” them to fit your windows where they’ll create a barrier that stops drafts and heat-loss.

9. Windows love layers. Use insulated curtains, or add thermal liners to the curtains you already have. When shut, they’ll prevent heat loss and since they shut out light you might sleep better, too.

10. Prepare for storms. If you take off storm windows or storm doors in the warmer seasons, reinstall them before the temperatures plunge. They add another layer of insulation which blocks drafts and prevents heat-loss.

11. Check for gaps. Hold a lit candle or stick of incense and slowly move it around the edge of doors and windows to detect drafts. Incoming air will make the candle flame or incense smoke flicker. Seal or block those spots to keep cold air from invading your home.

12. Put window units away. Leaving your air-conditioning window unit in place means cold air can enter your home through its vents. Move the unit to storage for the cold season if possible, or add an insulated cover to it to block the wind.

Stay Warm With Passive Heat

13. Free solar heating. During the day, draw back the curtains on the sunlit side of your home to let in the natural warmth. As evening approaches, close them to retain that cozy heat and keep out the cool of the night.

14. Bathtime heat. After enjoying a warm bath, allow the water to cool naturally in the tub. This warms up your bathroom and also boosts your home’s humidity, which helps you feel warmer. If you have little ones around, it’s best to skip this tip.

15. Improve your radiator. If you have radiator heating, cover a large piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and fasten it to the wall behind your unit. This DIY heat reflector will help your room stay warmer by directing heat away from the cold exterior wall and back into your room.

Foods and Drinks to Keep You Warm

16. Simmer soup. There’s a reason we associate soups and stews with chilly weather. Long-simmering meals heat up the kitchen as well as our bellies, so gather up those kitchen scraps and keep a pot of broth simmering on the back burner.

17. Drink warm beverages. Hot tea or coffee, cider, and broth are all delicious ways to feel warm. But skip the alcohol which will make you feel warm at first but soon causes you to lose body heat. Keep a crockpot of cranberry citrus tea going and sip it all day long.

18. Enjoy your carbs! Our bodies convert carbs to energy faster than protein, so a regular dose of carbs can help you keep warm. Opt for complex carbs like legumes, beans, and whole grains, or you’ll get a blood sugar crash that can leave you feeling cold and shaky.

19. Use leftover heat. After cooking dinner, prop your oven open to release its heat into the kitchen. Do the same with the clothes dryer and dishwasher, even your toaster oven. You’ve already paid for that heat, so why not use it?

Keep Cold Air Out of Your Home

20. Shut things properly. Don’t just close windows and doors, latch or lock them. This practice ensures you’ve closed things all the way to keep out cold air. Double-hung windows in particular tend to let in air around the top if you don’t latch the window after closing it.

21. Close things. Closets and cabinets are often constructed on exterior walls. By shutting them, you add another barrier to stop losing heat to the chilly outdoors.

22. Shut your garage. Leave your garage exterior door closed to keep heat-stealing drafts from reaching the inner walls of your home. Also, inspect the bottom of your garage door for gaps. If you can see daylight peeking under the door, cold air can get in, too. Add a rubber seal to help your garage door keep out drafts.

23. Close the flue. Although using your fireplace can help you feel warm and cozy, it’s crucial to close the chimney flue when your fireplace is not in use. Leaving the flue open allows cold air to enter your home through the chimney.

Decor Swaps that Help You Stay Warm

24. Floor coverings. Use rugs on floors, especially around sitting areas and next to your bed. They’ll keep your feet warmer and act as insulation, too.

25. Rearrange seating areas. In colder months, consider rearranging your furniture so your seating areas aren’t against the wall. Pulling sofas and chairs into the room moves them away from chilly windows and walls and ensures they don’t block your heating vents.

26. Insulate with books. Moving your bookshelves to your exterior walls lets your home library double as insulation that helps reduce heat loss. Take the opportunity to give your books a good cleaning as you unload and move the shelves.

27. Adjust ceiling fans. In the winter, ceiling fans should spin clockwise (when looking up at the fan) at a low speed. This direction helps to circulate the warm air that rises to the ceiling, pushing it back down into the room. This simple switch can make a room feel warmer and potentially allow you to lower your thermostat, saving on heating costs.

Ways to Warm Up in a Cold Room

28. Don’t just sit there. Indoor exercise is a frugal way to stay warm in winter. So, if you’re feeling chilly, get up and clean! You’ll get your blood pumping, and your home will look nicer.

29. Use space heaters wisely. A space heater can frugally warm up a cold room so you don’t have to heat the whole house. Select one with an auto-off timer and a sensor that shuts the unit off if it tips over. Take it with you if you change rooms, and never leave it running unattended.

30. Snuggle up: One of the nicest things about winter is spending more time with our loved ones. So snuggle up with your partner, pets, and kids, ideally under blankets to trap body heat. It’s an inexpensive way to stay warm and feel closer!

31. Watch TV. If you needed a sign to catch up with your favorite show, this is it: big screen televisions are notorious for emitting heat. So, grab the popcorn, because watching your TV for hours is a great way to stay warm in a cold room while you’re catching up on your favorite shows.

Know of any other affordable ways to stay warm? Share in the comments!

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  1. Robin Phillips says:

    With the cost of gas and electric going up I thought it would be good to stock up on stuff now like hot water bottles or when I’m out shopping just see what I see if I think it could be useful, also good Christmas presents like new slippers, hat and scarves. I think as I look back over this comment that planning ahead is good even though it is summer.

  2. Kristie H. says:

    I made foot warmers for myself and friends by using some fabric scraps to make pouches and put several cups of rice (regular uncooked) in them and sewed them shut; then microwaved them (had to experiment with the time) they stay warm a lot longer than the microwavable slippers and I have used them as a “heating pad” on a back ache and cramps, and put one at the foot of my bed at night (I keep my heat at 60 or so daytime and 50-55 at night) the one I made for my bed is a pillowcase filled with approx 5# (yes 5 pounds) of rice that I heat for 5 minutes in microwave and it stays warm for hours (4 or 5 hours last night) I like sleeping in a cold room because I sleep better when the room is cold and cold feet keep me awake.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Those sound very creative, Kristie! I love your idea about the heated pillowcase. That’s brilliant!

    2. Robyn Howe says:

      I did an experiment with this several years ago and found that organic wheat stays warm longer than rice. Perhaps it has more oil in the kernel? I also sewed a square of corduroy material into a bag with the top end not stitched. Sew up from bottom to about 2″ from the top and 2″ spaced so bag has long pockets with the top opened. Fill each pocket with wheat to desired thickness. Then stitch along the top. The 2″ not stitched allows wheat to flow from one pocket to fill or empty from another if you want a ‘softer’ feel. Sitting this on it’s base against my back in bed while on my side gives me some more sleeping options than just flat in bed.

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Robin,
      A higher oil count makes sense! Your homemade rice back warmer sounds so cozy.

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