All across the country, temperatures are dropping as winter settles in. As we collectively focus on staying warm, many of us worry about the extra cost of heating our homes through the chilly months ahead. Good news for our wallets: unlike air conditioning during summer—which is a necessity where I live—heat doesn’t have to add to your budget this winter. There are many ways to heat your home at little to no cost to you. Here’s how to stay warm during winter without burning your cash.
Layer up, even indoors
You lose heat whenever you touch something cold, like sitting on a cold chair. We all know to bundle up when we go outside, but layering can keep you warm inside and help lower our heating costs, says LiveScience (@LiveScience). So break out the sweaters and wool socks and bundle up! Remember: loose fitting clothing traps heat, as opposed to form-fitting clothing which does not.
Seal the leaks
Even a small crack in your doorframe or around your window can quickly add up when it comes to heating your home. Check for air leaks around these areas and plug them up, advises Lifehack.org (@lifehackorg). Even a simple set of curtains can help trap heat and keep the cold out. If you don’t have curtains, a simple set of unused sheets is another frugal solution.
Use flannel sheets
Apartment Therapy (@AptTherapy) advises switching from cotton or other fiber sheets to flannel. The thick material will help keep your bed warm, and you too! You might even be able to find a flannel blanket or two to add for extra warmth.
Warm up with hot water bottles
It may sound old-fashioned, but fill up a reusable hot water bottle with warm water and place it under your sheets or sit with one in your lap. It will help keep you from feeling the chill this winter, according to this article from HuffingtonPost (@HuffingtonPost).
Wear slippers or socks
It seems to be just an expected part of winter that our hands and feet are always cold. A simple pair of slippers or socks is another affordable way to help fight off the cold, says Housewife How To’s (@HousewifeHowTos). Just wear them around the house until bedtime. Then take them off and set them next to your bed for the next morning.
Let there be (sun)light
Those curtains we just hung up a couple of steps ago can be used in other ways, too. CapeTown Magazine (@CapeTownMag) offers this very affordable tip: open your curtains to let sunlight in during the day. Just be sure any leaks those curtains were covering up are plugged somehow. Then close the curtains again when the sun sets to keep the heat you’ve let in trapped. It may only raise the temperature a few degrees, but when paired with our other tricks, it’s an idea worth using.
Remove and store your window unit A/C
Another free but not often thought of solution, EnergyStar (@ENERGYSTAR) advises removing your window A/C units for winter storage. Small gaps around the unit can cause cold air to filter into the room, so if you can’t fill those gaps, removing the A/C unit for the winter is your best bet.
Invest in electric blankets
Contrary to popular belief, an electric blanket is very inexpensive to use. In fact, you can save more money than with a regular blanket of the same weight in a warmer room, says Bankrate (@Bankrate). Just don’t forget to unplug it when not in use.
Crank up the oven
An old trick for sure, it’s still one that works. When you use your oven, whether you’ve made dinner or gone on a baking spree, open the door up when you’re done. Just let the heat out as advised by KnowledgeWeighsNothing.com (@KWNHQ). If you have a small home like I do, this simple step can help heat a room or two.
Close it up
It’s common sense to keep your outside doors and windows closed during cold weather. But don’t forget to close the doors to rooms you’re not using, as well as cupboard and pantry doors. Keeping them shut during winter can lower your heating costs. After all, there’s no point in heating rooms you’re not using, says Today.com (@TODAYshow). They also point out that shutting your unused fireplace’s flue, if you have one, is another way to keep out the unwanted chill.
Put down carpeting
Whether you install wall to wall carpeting or simply lay out a handful of area rugs, your heating bill will thank you. Rugs add a layer of insulation to the floor, says Freshome.com (@freshome), trapping heat when you need it most.
Not just for mood lighting, candles do let off heat. You can’t heat a whole room with them, but they can be useful for warming your hands or a small space, says Natural Living Ideas (@NatLivingIdeas). For a truly frugal option, check out this how-to video to start making your own candles.
Whether you live where it snows half the year or somewhere it never snows but gets chilly anyways, keeping yourself and your family warm should never cost you more than you can afford. I hope this list helps you stay warm this winter without breaking the bank. Do you have any ideas to stay warm that aren’t listed here? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share!