Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saving Money on Heating ~ Tips to Stay Warm this Winter

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As I thought about what I wanted to write for this blog post, I looked at my back issues of the Tightwad Gazette. I noticed that Amy Dacyczyn didn't address this topic the way I would have, other than to discuss firewood mostly. 

Since we do not have a fireplace, that is not an option in our frugal home. So, I will be addressing other things you can do to save money in this area.

Lower your Thermostat - Lowering your thermostat will definitely help you to keep your heating bill low, but then you need to find other ways to keep warm. Here are some tips to help you stay warm while trying to save money.  

Insulation - Make sure your home is well insulated. Our home was insulated very well when it was built, which has saved us a lot of money over the years both with cooling and heating. This is harder to do in a home that you rent, but there are still things you can do to save money. 

Take a look at the blog, CT on a Budget.  Carol has some excellent tips and examples on how she has insulated her home and examples of the steps she has taken to lower her heating bills. 

Check for Drafts - If your home is drafty, your heating system is going to have to work more to compensate for the cold air, so it is necessary to do whatever you can to stop any drafts from coming inside. 

We have window air conditioners in our home and they definitely have drafts around them. We put towels in all the nooks and crannies of the a/c to keep the drafts out. We also cover our windows with either plastic wrap inside or blankets to keep the cold out.We also put a huge slab of Styrofoam on the outside of our French doors to keep the cold out.  

When we lived in an older home with older style windows, they were drafty! We covered all of the windows with plastic outside and and would take socks and stuff them between the glass and window frame to stop any drafts and those measures made a big difference in our electric bill.  

We have friends who lived in an old farm house and they used to take bales of hay and line the crawlspace under the house to keep the cold out.  

Reverse your Ceiling Fans. Here is a blog post I wrote about this very topic. Ceiling fans were created to be used in both cold and hot temperatures. In the winter time, they need to be reversed to allow the warm air to move down the walls and to the floor, which will make the room feel warmer. 

Be Active - The other day I was cleaning the kitchen and when I finally sat down to relax, I realized how warm I was even though it was actually cool in the house. So don't dismiss the idea of exercising or doing some chores to keep yourself busy and warm. 

Dress in layers - Wear warm clothes such as long pants and long sleeve shirts. Wear a hat if it is really cold since that is where a lot of heat escapes from your body. Wear socks and slippers. Put on a sweater or a light jacket. In extreme cold I have been know to even wear gloves in the house.

Close Rooms Not in Use - If you have a room you are not using either close the vent in that room or close the door, so you are not heating rooms unnecessarily. 

Warm Your Bed - Use a hot water bottle, or a rice pack, or cherry pit bed warmer to help keep your bed toasty warm at night. I've been saving my cherry pits for years, so that some day I will be able to make me a cherry pit bed warmer. I first learned about the idea in book from Mother Earth News. Other ideas include using an electric blanket or even a heating pad if you have one available.

Open Blinds & Curtains - Harness the power of the sun and open your blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house, and when the sun shifts close them to keep the warmth inside.

Use Blankets - We have blankets in every location where someone sits in our home and we usually always have one on when we are sitting. It just makes good sense to stay warm by covering up like this.

Drink Warm Drinks - Hot tea or hot chocolate are both good drinks to keep your body from feeling so chilly. 

In the Kitchen - After I have baked something, I always leave my oven door open so the heat can escape into the house.

Invest in an Infrared Heater  - Consider investing in an infrared heater for your home. Here is a blog post I wrote on this topic last year. Infrared Heat  

There are many steps you can take to insure that you stay warm and save some money in the process. I hope my post has helped you come up with some ideas of your own as well. 

What are some of the ways you help to keep your home warm during a cold spell?


CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011-2014.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”


  1. I've always said, if you want to warm up in the winter, just start vacuuming your house. It always works for me. That and a rocking chair next to the woodstove when your finish!!

    1. Vacuuming is definitely a great way to warm up. And the rocking chair next to the wood stove sounds wonderful. :)

  2. Hi Belinda,
    Great, comprehensive post on trying to stay warm in winter. Thanks also, for the shout out. I'd add: serve plenty of hot beverages. I make a pot of tea at night, cover with a tea cozy (bought mine @ Savers for 99 cents!) and surprisingly, it'll stay hot for quite some time!

    Carol in CT

    1. Thank you, Carol. And you're welcome for the shout out. Those tea cozies are cute. I've been thinking of getting one of those. I love hot tea. I even have a board dedicated to it on my Pinterest boards. :)

  3. Great post. I need to get a fan for our dining room for summer and winter. We have one in the master bedroom but only need to use it in the summer time. Our walls and roof have been insulated and it's made a real difference and our windows are double glazed. I think we need thicker curtains though.

    1. Thank you, Carol. Thicker curtains and a fan are both good ideas to keeping warming this winter. Good insulation really does make a difference. Out electric bill went from $100 down to $60 in an older home we lived in when we took measures to keep the cold out, It really does make a difference. :)

  4. This is a great list, Belinda!
    Two things that I do that helps:
    One, is to keep the thermostat lower during the morning hours, after everyone has left the house, and it's just me at home. I use those morning hours to heat up the kitchen with baking, the dishwasher, cooking on the stove, etc. Almost all of my cooking for the day is done in the morning hours, including dinner preparations. This keeps me and the kitchen quite warm. By the time that I'm done with kitchen work, the sun is coming through the windows, warming up the part of the house I use midday. We don't need to have the furnace on much until late afternoon, this time of year.
    The second thing I did was to relocate my computer and office area to a warmer part of the house. Previously, I had my office area in a cold room, and had to turn the thermostat up in the middle of the day, just so I wouldn't freeze while working. Having my office nearer the furnace has made a huge difference in our natural gas bill.
    Hope your weekend is going well!

    1. Those are such great ideas, Lili. I love having a comment section on my blog because more often than not, and this is the case with most blogs, some of the most helpful ideas come from the comment section.

      That is such a great idea to move your office area closer to the furnace. And the kitchen work is also a good idea. I had vacuumed and scrubbed down the kitchen on Friday and I noticed that when I finally sat down to relax, even though the house was cool, I was quite warm. Being active in there really does help to keep you and that area warmer.

      Hope your weekend is going well too. :)

  5. My cat warms my bed. She likes getting under the covers and sleeping right next to me when it's cold out! I have found that if I do any baking--especially crusty bread--that can keep the kitchen warm.

    1. Both good ideas, Pamela. :) We've been bringing our outdoor cats inside all week because of this colder weather. They love it too! lol

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