Growing up with a “frugal” father, I have many winter memories of being huddled around the kerosene heater trying to get as warm as possible before sprinting toward my bedroom and diving under 8 layers of blankets in order to stay warm at night. Dad refused to set the thermostat higher than 66 degrees, even when there were 4 feet of snow on the ground outside.
I swore when I had a house of my own, I’d always keep it at a comfortable temperature. But with the rising gas prices this year – and a $400 heating bill last month – I finally understand my dad’s stubbornness. In honor of him (and to help you reduce your utility bill), here are 9 tips to keep warm without touching your thermostat this winter.
1. Buy a Space Heater
Space heaters and oil-filled heaters are surprisingly inexpensive and can put out a lot of heat. If you’re going to be sitting in one spot for any length of time, a space heater is really all you need to stay comfortable. A word of caution: If you have animals or small children, make sure they are unable to get to the space heater. Also, make sure you have some way to remind yourself to turn it off whenever you leave your house.
2. Layer Up
Thermal underwear underneath a sweater can go a long way in keeping you warm. As far as your feet, double or triple-layer your socks if you need to, and for added warmth, stick them in the dryer for a few minutes prior to wearing them. And although it’s a myth that most of your heat is lost through your head, I still always feel cozier when I wear a hat.
3. Cover Your Floors
If you have tile or laminate home flooring, you may want to invest in some area rugs. These types of flooring absorb cold air and circulate it back into your home (which is why they always feel cool to the touch). An area rug will help your floors retain heat and act as an insulator between the floor and your home.
4. Invest in Thick Window Coverings
I have room darkeners in my baby son’s room to help him take better naps during the day. But I’ve also noticed that the room darkeners actually help insulate his windows at night. As soon as I open the curtains, I feel a blast of outside cold air. In addition to curtains, you can weather strip your windows for insulation.
5. Squeeze in a Workout
I sneak in a workout and exercise around 7 pm, after my son has gone to bed and I have gotten the house picked up. By that time, it just starts to get chilly, and I’m tempted to turn up the heat. However, once I get my body moving to a workout DVD, or a Wii game, or even a jump rope, I’m ready to turn on a fan. So not only am I getting warmed up, but I’m staying healthy at the same time! Here are some indoor at home exercises and workouts you can try.
6. Take a Hot Bath
Sometimes I think a hot bath is the only way to really warm up when you’re cold to your core. A bonus? Baths add moisture to the air, which can help alleviate your dry, winter skin. After you’re done bathing, don’t drain the water right away. Let the water sit and evaporate into the air.
7. Don’t Eat Out
Not only will you save money by cooking at home, you’ll be indirectly warming up your home. If you use the oven, keep it cracked after you turn it off so that its heat can be reused inside your house. Crock-pots slow cooker recipes are great for making warm, nutritious meals. You can also make gourmet coffee drinks to help stay warm.
8. Get Out the Mop
Cleaning is very physical. There’s a lot of bending and stretching and repetitive movements – and just like exercise – when you move your body, you’ll get warmer. Create some sort of weekly house cleaning schedule and try to stick with it, especially in the winter months. You can even make your own household cleaners to save on costs - baking soda and vinegar make amazing household cleaners!
9. Save Your Old Newspapers
I get two copies of the Sunday newspaper in order to collect the free discount grocery coupons. Since I don’t want the actual papers, I used to throw them in my recycling bin. Now, I keep them because I recently discovered how to use newspapers to make logs to fuel your fireplace. If you’re not familiar, the process is similar to making paper mache. It will save you money and get your fire going quickly, and it only takes a few minutes to make the logs.
Do you have any tricks for staying warm for less this winter?
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