If the holiday season 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!
Frugal Ways To Stay Warm in Winter
Be Better in Bed
1. Bag it. Fill up a rubber hot water bottle while you’re doing the dinner dishes and seal it tightly. Slip it between your sheets to preheat your bed, or keep it on your lap, and you’ll feel warm all evening.
2. Throws. When you’re watching TV, it’s easy to get cold because you’re not moving around. Don’t turn up the heat — wrap up in a blanket instead.
3. Two words: flannel sheets. If you’ve never tried them, ask someone who has. They never feel cold when you get into bed, they retain your body heat all night long, and after a couple of washes they’re so soft it feels like you’re sleeping in a warm, cozy cloud.
4. Pile it on. Add extra blankets to your bed, and consider an electric one! It costs pennies to run an electric blanket all night. It takes a LOT of pennies to run a heater for even one hour. That’s why I’ve programmed our thermostat to 60° F when we’re under our electric blankets and flannel sheets. It’s not as severe as it sounds: I’ve also programmed the thermostat to warm the house before anyone’s alarm goes off in the morning, so we never notice the cold.
Watch What You Wear
5. Comfort over couture. Sure, those leggings are comfortable, but you’ll also be cold in them! Looser-fitting clothing traps more of your body heat, which helps you stay warmer. Go for multiple layers of natural fiber clothing and save the spandex/Lycra for later.
6. Wear these. If your feet are cold, chances are the rest of your body will feel cold, too. So make sure everyone in the family has a pair of slippers to wear inside the house. Don’t like slippers? Try these washable slipper socks instead.
7. And this. 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.
8. Lighten up. Open the curtains on the sunny side of your house during the day, and the radiant heat will help warm your home. Close them before sunset to trap the heat indoors and shut out the nighttime chill.
9. Block! Seal windows and unused exterior doors with plastic insulation kits. They’re not difficult to put on (you just need a blow dryer), but they create a barrier to prevents drafts and heat-loss through window panes.
10. Look what loves layers. Use insulated curtains, or add thermal liners to the curtains you already have. When shut, they’ll prevent heat loss. (You might sleep better since they shut out light, too.)
11. Got these? Use them. Use storm windows or storm-doors if you have them. They add another layer of insulation, block drafts, and can prevent heat-loss. Take them down as soon as the temperatures begin to rise to avoid mildew growth.
12. Hunt these down. Use a lit candle or incense to detect drafts around windows and doors, then caulk them or add draft-stoppers at the base of your doors.
13. Save it for summer. You don’t need an AC window unit in winter, and leaving it in place means more gaps in your windows for cold wind to blow through.
Catch What You Can
14. Let it sit. After a hot bath, let the water sit in the tub until it reaches room temperature. Not only will the heat from the water warm your bathroom, but it will also help increase your home’s humidity — something that makes the air feel warmer AND helps prevent painful winter-dry skin. (Skip this if you have small kids.)
15. Reflect on this. If you have radiator heating, cover a large piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and slip it behind the radiator, then fasten it to the wall. This will reflect heat back into the room instead of losing it to the outdoors.
16. Simmer time. 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 bust out those kitchen scraps and get the soup on.
17. Drink up… properly. Hot tea or coffee, cider, and broth are all delicious ways to feel warm. But skip the alcohol: you’ll feel warm at first as blood rushes to the surface of your skin — which is why your cheeks look so rosy after a few sips — but when the alcohol prevents your blood vessels from constricting you’ll quickly begin losing body heat.
18. Carb lovers, rejoice! Winter gives you a reason to nosh on your favorite noms. Since our bodies convert carbs to energy more rapidly than we convert protein, a regular dose of carbs can help you keep warm. Just do your body a favor and choose complex carbs or you’ll get a whole blood sugar crash that often leaves a person feeling cold and shaky… and sends them back to eat more bad carbs in the hope of warming up again.
19. Let it out. After cooking dinner, prop the oven open to release its heat into the kitchen. Do the same with the clothes dryer and dishwasher, too. (Unless you have small children or curious pets.)
Shut It, Already.
20. Lock it up. Don’t just close windows and doors — lock them. Doing so ensures they’re fully closed and will reduce drafts.
21. Close it off. Keep closets, cupboards, and unused rooms shut so you aren’t paying to heat them.
22. Close this, too. Leave your garage exterior door closed to keep heat-stealing drafts from reaching the inner walls of your home.
23. Catch the flue (not the flu). Keep your fireplace flue closed when not in use and you’ll shut out drafts that bring cold air down the chimney.
Do It With Decor
24. Cover this. 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 things. Arrange furniture so your sofas, chairs and dining table aren’t near the walls. This keeps furniture from blocking heating vents and moves seating away from chilly walls and windows.
26. Shelf-stable. Place your bookshelves against the exterior walls, and they’ll help reduce heat loss. Take the opportunity to give your books a good cleaning while you’re at it.
27. Spin it backward. Since heat rises, reversing your ceiling fan will pull the warm air from the ceiling and send it down to where you want it.
28. Don’t just sit there. Not feeling energetic enough to do a major cleaning? Then do a few one-minute chores throughout the day. You’ll get your blood pumping, and your home will look nicer.
29. Use these wisely. A space heater can warm the room you’re in so you don’t have to heat the whole house. Select one with an auto-off timing feature 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 (ideally under blankets) with your spouse, kids, and pets. By sharing body heat, you’ll both stay warm.