The cost of energy is rising, like the price of many things in our economy. Staying warm on a budget during the winter takes creativity and commitment. Hopefully, with a little effort, you can avoid nightmarish heating bills. Spare yourself a little cash this winter by being frugal. Here are a few tips for staying warm on a budget in the winter.
1. Buy a portable space heater, and use it in the room you use the most. If you’re going to another room for more than 30 minutes, move the heater there 15 minutes beforehand so that the room will warm up. Keep the door to the room you’re in closed to trap the warm air.
2. Buy a heating pad or blanket. (Remember, thrift is cheapest.) If you can’t afford one, try draping a thermal blanket over your space heater for a few minutes. You’ll create a nice pocket of heat to bask in.
3. Go for a drive. It costs a lot less to heat a van than it does an entire house, so you’ll stay warm while saving money. Enjoy the view!
4. Go to a friend’s house. It costs you less to be in their heated home than it does to heat your own home! It also gets you out of the house for a while. Enjoy the socialization, and keep warm without paying for it.
5. Go to the store, but leave your debit card at home so you won’t be tempted to spend. Stores usually are well-heated in the winter, so you’ll be able to stay warm without spending.
6. Dress for the weather, even in your house. Don’t turn on the central heating system unless it’s so cold that you’re shivering in your sweater. Even then, only warm the house up to a temperature where you can be warm in a sweater. Your house doesn’t need to be hot enough for shorts. This is a great way to stay warm on a budget.
7. Keep the windows and doors tightly closed, and make as few trips in and out of the home as possible. This will mean that it takes less energy to heat your home, resulting in a smaller energy bill.
8. Most fans have two settings. They can spin one way, blowing cold air down, or the opposite direction, pushing cold air up. In the winter, change the setting of your fan so that it pushes cold air up–keeping the warm air down below where you are.
9. If you have a fireplace, use it for heat and light. Gather around it for meals, and spend a little family time reading and telling stories rather than hanging on the TV. Firewood isn’t as expensive as the gas or electricity required to heat a room, and it’s a renewable resource.
10. Cuddle up with your partner, children, and pets. Body heat is a very inexpensive and potent source of warmth. Fuzzy puppies make wonderful snuggle buddies. Don’t forget a soft blanket!
11. Have a warm meal or drink. A cup of soup or a mug of hot cocoa can warm your entire body, even when the air is chilly. Spicy foods are especially potent for heating things up.
12. Get physical. Exercise! Do jumping jacks, or run in place. Break a sweat. This will bring up your body temperature, and you may find yourself needing to cool down–even though your home isn’t even that warm!
13. Have sex. The skin-to-skin contact, friction, and motion will warm not only your bodies, but the blankets in your bed. Steam things up a bit.
14. Have lots of blankets handy. Blankets purchased at the thrift store are just as efficient at keeping you warm as those purchased new. Bundling up in blankets may help you stay warm without having to spend money heating your entire house.
15. Invite some friends over, and have a little get-together. The more people are in a room, the warmer the room will be. Your guests will heat the room with their warm breath and bodily energy. As long as you spend light on the refreshments, you’ll stay warm without spending much.
Some of these aren’t feasible for every person, but most of the items on this list can work for anyone. The key is to avoid using the central heating system of your home as much as possible for a lower energy bills. Staying out of the house will keep the temptation to press the “on” button at bay. When you’re in the house, dress warm, and snuggle up with lots of blankets. There are little ways to warm yourself that can go a long way. Remember, the only thing that really needs to be warm is you!