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The Cheapest Ways to Stay Warm This Winter

Staying warm during the winter in cold climates is not cheap. According to a 2019 report, Americans heating a 2,200-square-foot home will spend between $1,095 and $3,143 during the winter trying to stay warm. Is it possible to stay warm and save money? Absolutely. So turn down the thermostat and embrace these simple, cheap ways to stay warm all winter long.

  • Wear Layers. Raise your hand if a parent ever told you to put on a sweater if you were cold. If you raised your hand, you’re far from alone, but it turns out that our parents were right. One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to stay warm is to dress in layers. So pile on your coziest clothes, and don’t forget thick socks. Hooded sweatshirts are a great choice to keep your head and ears warm while you lounge on the sofa.
  • Weatherproof Doors and Windows. Energy Star estimates that 25% of all energy produced for heating and cooling purposes is lost through windows, at a cost of $20 billion. Ouch! You could replace all of your old, drafty windows with new, energy-efficient ones, but that can cost between $3,000 and $10,000 for an average house. There are cheaper fixes available, though! One of the easiest things is to hang curtains. When they’re closed, the curtains will help keep cold drafts out of your living spaces. During the day, you can open them to let the sun warm your rooms. Something else to try is wrapping your windows in plastic. Wrapping your windows is a simple project, and the most complicated tool you’ll need is a hairdryer. Applying weatherstripping to your doors is a slightly more difficult project, but it will help prevent heat loss through cracks and gaps in your exterior doors.
  • Reverse Your Ceiling Fan. Did you know that using your ceiling fan in the winter can save you 10% on your energy bills? The trick is flipping a small switch on the base of the fan, which will cause the fan to operate clockwise (in the summer, fans run counter-clockwise). Heat rises, but a fan running clockwise will push the warm air away from the ceiling and back down into the room.
  • Close it Up. The best way to save money on heating costs is only to heat the spaces you use, so you should close the doors to unused (or rarely used) rooms. First, though, close the vents in those rooms so you aren’t paying to heat them. Also, remember to close your fireplace damper to prevent heat from escaping up your chimney.
  • Do Necessary Maintenance. When winter starts, your heating system has been on an extended break. Now, it’s crunch time, and you need it to work. Sometimes, the best way to save a lot of money is to spend a little money: Having your furnace checked and serviced before the worst of winter arrives is a great idea to ensure a warm house all winter long and potentially save thousands of dollars in future furnace issues. Having it serviced will also increase your unit’s energy efficiency, which can help lower your heating bill. The Department of Energy estimates that maintaining your HVAC system can reduce your energy bill by 30%. If you have a furnace issue and don’t have the funds to pay for the repairs, a title loan can help bridge the gap.
  • Eat at Home. Skip restaurants and cook at home. This is standard advice we’ve all heard, but in the winter, it takes on added importance. Cooking and baking will not only provide you with inexpensive, warm meals but can also serve to warm up your house. So settle in and use your oven! Soups, stews, and casseroles are filling and comforting winter staples, but don’t be afraid to try new recipes.
  • Get Warm In Unusual Ways. Look for less-typical ways to stay warm. Electric blankets are a great choice to keep you toasty while turning the thermostat down. A low-tech version of this same idea is the hot water bottle. Hot water bottles are rubber bladders you fill with hot (but not boiling) water and wrap in fabric. Well-insulated bottles will stay warm (and keep you warm!) all night long. If your feet get cold but you hate wearing socks to bed, you’ll love a hot water bottle at the foot of the bed.
  • Embrace Coziness. In the past few years, the Danish concept of hygge has become popular in the United States. How will this help you save money? Because the Dutch know all about surviving cold, bleak winters. Hygge basically means creating a warm atmosphere. It’s all about coziness! So embrace that coziness in your own winter preparations. Soft rugs on the floor, thick throw blankets on the sofa, warm cups of tea, and a bed made with your favorite quilts and comforters can help you feel warm and happy all winter long, even if your thermostat tells a different story.
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