Simple Frugal Ways To Keep Warm

Winter and the cold weather it brings can see your fuel bills rising rapidly. As someone who tries to live a frugal lifestyle, I am always looking for simple ways that I can keep warm at home without switching the heating on. If you are on a tight budget this winter you might be looking for ways of how to keep warm too. I thought I would share some alternative simple frugal tips and ideas of how you can warm in your house and save yourself lots of money this winter.

Simple Frugal Ways To Keep Warm In Winter

The last few years have seen huge rises in the cost of fuel and I think this has led to us all changing our ways when it comes to heating our homes. It makes me so sad that some people are forced to choose between buying food or heating their homes. For myself and many families like mine, the colder months come with a little bit of dread attached to ending up with a huge fuel bill come the spring.

Of course, there are also environmental reasons for reducing your energy consumption too. Personally  it’s a mixture of both for me and I try to stick to the rule that between March and November we don’t put the heating on at all. This of course depends, if we have a really cold snap then, of course, I will put it on for the children’s sake and I know how lucky I am to have that choice.

Warm Feet

As your extremities are the first thing to feel cold I always try to focus on these areas first. If you have laminate, wood or stone tiled flooring I suggest investing in some good quality rugs to add some warmth. If you don’t want to or can’t afford to carpet your colder rooms you can find lots of different rugs at bargain prices. Using discount retailers and comparing prices online will help you find the best deal. For an even more frugal result, you could use carpet samples and offcuts instead.

You could try Facebook market pages and thrift, charity and second-hand stores if you don’t mind buying used.

I also suggest investing in a really good pair of slippers that will help to keep your feet nice and toasty too. The styles with hard-bottomed soles and faux sheepskin lining the cosiest, in my opinion, but any old pair will do. Wearing warm socks both around the house and for bed will help to keep your feet warm as well.

feet with pink and orange striped socks

Layers

This is such an obvious one isn’t it, layering up with your clothing is such an easy thing to do, it works so well for children, a vest, t-shirt, and a jumper will help keep them toasty warm. The same applies to us grown-ups too, I suggest always having a few trusty jumpers and hoodies on hand and reaching for those instead of the heating switch.

A dressing gown to wear over your clothing while in the house can help to keep you really warm too, I swear by this frugal tip.

You could also keep lots of blankets or throws in each room.  They are great for throwing over the sofa or as an extra layer of warmth on the beds. There’s Nothing like snuggling down to watch a movie in the afternoon when it’s cold outside with a warm blanket for company.

crochet blanket white blue and yellow

Keep It Hot

Another simple but obvious idea is keeping yourself topped up with warm drinks.  Not everyone likes tea or coffee but you could try some hot chocolate, warm milk, Horlicks or Ovaltine instead. Investing in a thermos flask or mug is a great way to keep your drinks nice and hot and saves money on constantly boiling the kettle too.

You could swap your usual lunch for a nice bowl of piping hot soup, stews and casseroles which are also really good at raising your core temperature. Check out my Comfort Food Recipes For Autumn post for more ideas of warm filling meals.

mug of hot chocolate with cookies at the side

Get Moving

Getting your body moving will help to warm you up as well as doing your heart lots of good too. I’m not suggesting you need to put on your get fit kit and go running around the block, anything that gets your blood pumping is great. A  vigorous session of housework or chasing the kids around will get your temperature rising in no time.

To save even more money you could swap the gym for a workout at home, it’s a great frugal way to stay fit, keep you healthy and warm you up nicely as well.

Stop The Draft

Our homes can often leak lots of heat during the colder month causing drafts, I find windows and doors are the main culprits. For windows, I find it effective to keep curtains and blinds closed when the temperature starts to drop if you don’t have thick curtains you could try sewing an old duvet or comforter into them to create a thermal effect.

Another great frugal tip is to use a rolled-up towel along the bottom of the doors to prevent the chilly air from entering and the heat from inside leaking out.

Leaving doors open can also cause a draft so get yourself and the whole family into the habit of closing them every time you leave a room.

plant pot on window with curtains

Candles

Burning candles around your home will create a lovely amount of warmth, as well as making your rooms feel nice and cosy. Burning candles can also save on energy costs as you won’t need to switch the lights on in the evenings.

Blag Warmth For Free

This is my most frugal tip but it’s also quite a  cheeky suggestion. To save money on heating your own home you could pop round to a family, friend or neighbors for chat, a coffee and to steal some of their warmth for a while. Of course, I suggest taking a little token round with you like a homemade cake or pie I’m not a total frugal savage!

You might also be able to sneak your thermos of coffee into the library and read the morning papers enjoying their heating as a bonus. Museums work well for this idea too and you will most likely learn some interesting facts in the process.

black stoneware teapot

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39 Comments

  1. Sarah @tortoise_happy
    October 12th 2016 / 9:38 PM

    We use hot water bottles or microwavable wheat bags, and when the oven has been on we’ll leave the door open to warm the kitchen (we don’t have any small people who could get burnt). If my feet get super cold, sometimes the only answer is to have a nice hot bath 🙂 We could afford for our fuel bills to be a little higher, but we’d rather have money available for other things- that’s our reason for not just sticking the heating on whenever we feel like it.

    • October 17th 2016 / 8:19 AM

      Those are all great ideas, I love having a nice hot bath when it’s chilly but don’t like getting out afterwards it feels so cold.

    • alison megill
      December 6th 2018 / 3:32 AM

      Don’t drain the tub after your bath! The heat from the water will keep the bathroom warm for a long time after you get out.

  2. Lucy
    February 25th 2018 / 8:49 PM

    I can’t believe I wasted my time reading this! There’s nothing original about these tips! Just common sense!

    • February 27th 2018 / 6:57 PM

      Hi Lucy, all I can say is you wasted even more of your time typing your comment!

      • October 13th 2018 / 9:00 PM

        Hahaha, genius comeback, Angela! <3

        I must say I enjoyed the tips… sure, they are common sense, but the article is a great reminder 🙂

        Best wishes from the Netherlands

    • Rebecca
      August 27th 2018 / 4:17 AM

      I’m from south Floridawhere we had about 2 really cold days a year. We would just keep the gas stove on and bundle up if we went outside. I thankful for these ideas now that I have moved to where there is four seasons.

      • August 27th 2018 / 7:39 PM

        Thanks for your comment Rebecca, I can imagine what a surprise having four seasons after just living in sunny Florida was. It’s all about doing the little things to make those savings isn’t it.

  3. Sussie smith
    August 26th 2018 / 5:23 PM

    I don’t know where you people live but, in my area if you don’t turn your heat on your pipes freeze and, you die.

    • August 26th 2018 / 6:30 PM

      Hi Sussie, Thanks for your comment, I obviously wouldn’t suggest these methods if you live somewhere extremely cold. I live in the UK where I suppose we have relatively mild Winters. You have a nice day now.

  4. Tara
    August 27th 2018 / 2:17 AM

    These are great tips for those moving into their first place! I live in Florida where it does get down in temperature but very rarely to the point our pipes burst… and your supposed to keep them dripping the thermostat has nothing to do with that. And common sense isn’t so common so great posglt!

    • August 27th 2018 / 7:41 PM

      Thanks for your lovely comment Tara, it really is about doing the little things sometimes they get overlooked when trying to make savings.

    • Dawn Very long cold winters
      December 16th 2018 / 3:36 AM

      Tara
      Your comment makes sense for someone that lives in Florida. The thermostat DOES make a difference in areas that get below freezing and below zero. Even waterfalls freeze when cold enough. Pipes will freeze even if they have a small flow going thru them. Some of us also live in homes that still have copper pipes, those WILL freeze, making it MUCH cheaper to just turn your thermostat on! I hope none of those people take your words of advice.

      • Dave
        November 10th 2019 / 7:59 AM

        Copper pipes aren’t the only type that freeze and burst…ANY type will, be it the old steel all the way to the new PEX.
        Otherwise, your comment is spot on.

  5. Christine Williams
    August 27th 2018 / 5:50 PM

    Thanks for the ideas. We already do these things and someone said they were just common sense but there are lots of people that either don’t have common sense or just overlook the simple things. And to if you have never had to be frugal before then you may not know these things. I have 5 kids and we incorporate these ideas. Our Climate is iffy. It could be 5 degrees one day and 60 the next. We have been having crazy weather the last few yrs, all yr long. If its to cold for the kids outside then we have fuzzy sleep pants we run around in and fuzzy housecoats. Even though we heat primarily with wood I don’t want to waste the wood. Just my thoughts.

    • August 27th 2018 / 7:37 PM

      Thanks for your comment Christine, sometimes it’s about going back to basics isn’t it. I like to check I’m doing all the little things before I look at other ways to make savings. It sounds like you are doing a great job with saving on fuel.

  6. Yvonne
    September 30th 2018 / 6:07 AM

    My cold-weather hint is to make “Spaghetti Water.” I put a large pot of water on the stove, then bring it to a slow simmer. This puts humidity in the air, & it flows through to several rooms. One cannot actually boil the water–that puts mold on the
    ceiling. As for the bedroom, about an hour before going to bed, in very cold weather I will use a spray bottle of water. I can
    spray the drapes and my bedspread, & I feel warmer due to the moisture in the air. This also helps to eliminate static shocks
    from carpets, if you spray water on them also. I do put some vinegar into the water on the stove, so that I do not have a lime
    buildup around the edges. My home feels so much warmer, so I do not have to use too much heat from the furnace.

  7. Yvonne
    September 30th 2018 / 6:16 AM

    After my pipes froze, despite keeping a trickle of water running, a plumber told me that I should have kept BOTH HOT AND COLD WATER running. His suggestion to thaw them: open doors under sink, put a hair dryer onto a kitchen chair (not too close to pipes), & very slowly heat the frozen pipes–it worked! And to put humidity into both kitchen & living room, I now put “Spaghetti Water” on the stove–I simmer a large pot of water, with a little vinegar in it, but I do not boil it–that only puts mold onto the ceiling. I use the stove timer to alert me in an hour or two, to check the water level. I also use a spray bottle of water for my bedroom drapes, bedspread, and carpet, an hour before retiring. This makes the room feel warmer, and cuts down on getting static shock from the carpet.

    As

    As

  8. Maria from louisiana
    November 14th 2018 / 2:06 AM

    Hey angela how about turning on the oven. To high then open the door. After you finish baking or what ever your doing with the oven. That left over heat can be used to heat up your kitchen too. Thats the one room everyone seems to gather most of the time.

  9. limor
    November 22nd 2018 / 6:59 PM

    i have a problem. we have a heater. around the house. it heats nicely, however, i think it’s attached to someone’s house.
    so i put the temperature, at a certain degree, then it heats up very nice. However in the middle of the night i hear a ghost, or someone yelling, it’s mine. i hear a couple of voices. my heat becomes an air conditioner. There is no one to complain to. so i got these metal tins, bought a couple of floating wicks, and some canola oil… it heats up the house a little. some of us have a cold. But i just bless the person or people who do it. that they will have everything they want. It’s a wonderful thanksgiving.
    When i go to stores, and i feel the heat, or i wish i would also have such wonderful heat. but maybe those who complain need the heat more than we, and so i bless them so they’ll be warm, and won’t have a cold like us.

  10. Kate
    November 24th 2018 / 12:37 AM

    I live in the very humid south USA. Dehydrating in the hot humid months is practically impossible, so most of my dehydrating is done in the cooler months. I get heat and humidity added to the house while I’m accomplishing preserving food.

  11. Karen M. Roth
    November 27th 2018 / 4:25 AM

    As for myself, I live in an apartment complex facing south on the ground floor. We are plastered by the sun during the day and at night our neighbors are turning their heaters on and we are running a fan year round ( Except in the harsh temps) due to my medical conditions which cause me to break out in feverish pitches from time to time. ( I have Dysautonomia and possible Spinal Stenosis.)

    So now, we use their heat without any grumbling as the walls are thin and it soaks through to our own apartment.

    We also have drafts that are around the patio door and the front door. Maintenance refused to fix. I found that using drapes on the windows and a towel in front of the front door and throwing a throw over the Air conditioner has dropped the utility bill greatly.

    Also using quilts with a warm batting instead of the summery duvets and comforters in the winter months over the top of a crocheted afghan also helps. I put the quilt on top as I have a sweet Senior Shelter Rescue Puppers :). I learned the hard way and now my favorite throw is what covers the AC, as I had to cut it to release her snagged toenail ;’ (.

    I also turn on the heat lamp on in the bathroom along with the exhaust fan and that reduces the fog on the mirror and helps warm the apartment after the shower or bath are done.

    Our apartment is hyper dry and I am not able to get a humidifier or the air purifier that my breathing requires. I have been using an Essential Oil Diffuser which helps not only the moisture levels but also the atmosphere and mood :). On occasion, I will put a pot of water on. But I always have a container of just plain water sitting around that also helps add moisture to the air.

    I also dress in layers, but always wearing two pairs of socks but change them often and take them off at bedtime to prevent fungal infections on my feet and toenails.

    I have a little space heater that I turn on only when I need to keep my feet warm. Such as when I am sitting at my PC.
    If I am having a flare up of my Inflammatory Arthritis, I simply run my hands under warm running water for a couple of minutes and then I do it as often as required. I also, use microwaveable Heat packs made with white beans. I have another with Rice for when I need a longer extended period of heat. I often use my Electric Heat pad while I am at my PC from time to time. Also putting my clothes in the dryer for a short spin before dressing / before getting into the bed helps.

    Have a blessed day y’all’s!

    • December 7th 2018 / 8:59 PM

      When dressing, we’d always put our socks onto the hair dryer nozzle and heat them up for 5-10 seconds then put them onto our feet and into shoes right away. That extra heat from the socks would help keep us toasty warm. The kids would line up every morning to have their turn to get their warmed socks. 20 years later, I still do it for myself. Hardly ever use the hair dryer for it’s regular function. In this house it’s for winter warming socks, drying/warming the body after showers and sometimes prewarming the bed before bedtime. Went the whole winter last year without turning on the main heater (South West, USA).

  12. Helen
    December 3rd 2018 / 2:04 PM

    Thanks for these helpful reminders! It is so easy, in our busy lives, to mindlessly turn on the furnace when it begins to be chilly at dusk. And we all know when we r e a l l y need to use it.
    I live in Israel, where winters usually don’t get colder than +4 degrees Celsius. The trouble, though, is that houses are not insulated and so it feels really cold indoors.
    I would just like to add one more reminder to the above mentioned. When you m u s t turn on your heating, do so only in one room and gather the whole family there. If you simultaneously use blankets, shawls, layered clothes, bed socks, hot tea/soup with newly baked bread, one small space heater should be enough, even during the coldest of evenings. Rugs help very much too, and so do draperies in front of windows and draft stoppers at doors.
    The space heaters cannot be used at night when we are sleeping, due to the fire hazard. Flannel bed linens and toasty PJs help keeping us warm too, together with microwaved rice pouches. – The latter can be substituted for a cat or two, if you are a cat lover. Cats have a higher body temperature than humans and can literally warm your legs, back, feet at any time of the day or night:)

  13. December 13th 2018 / 8:20 PM

    Thanks for sharing! I love your suggestion of going out to warm up elsewhere! I look forward to sitting in the sauna or hot tub at the health club to get my fix!

  14. Karen
    December 21st 2018 / 2:30 AM

    I used an enclosed oil heater when it’s windy, blankets in the living room, just bought on sale flannel sheets and warm the bed with a heating pad before I get in. Plus my cat keeps me toasty warm at night.

  15. James
    February 2nd 2019 / 3:34 AM

    Have had great success with bubbie wrap. Throughout the year, it’s possible to get quite a large supply just with your incoming boxes. Invest in a roll of that blue painters tape, it’s real sticky, but easily handled and inexpensive for all the home uses. Use the bubble wrap sheets against the window glass and ledges. Can come down easily if company is coming. I use long towels hung on skirt hangers to break a draft, just hang from the door top, can come down easily, doors, stairways, windows. Keep the warm air where you need it. Like our grandmothers did. If you’re going outside, hard boil some eggs, keep hands warm by putting the eggs in your pocket. Do some for the kids waiting for the bus, or their crossing guard.

  16. Ruth
    March 21st 2019 / 8:27 AM

    I close rooms off during the winter so that the heat I do use is concentrated in just a few rooms. When we 1st moved in it was a very cold spring in the UK and our heating system was inadequate. To stop the worst of the cold in the kitchen (for an elderly dog!) I used to put my slow cooker on overnight. It did help quite a bit. BTW – the simple tips are often the best ones. Good post thank you.

  17. Vanessa Thomas
    May 4th 2019 / 9:58 AM

    Hi I think I am probably the youngest person here but these tips are useful for anyone so thank you Angela Webster for sharing them. I will be moving out of my parent’s house just after I turn 18, so in a few months. I am working out plans to save as much money as I can and will be starting to build habits with this intention.

    Do you have any other tips for saving money on heating? And do you have any tips for keeping dogs warm, bearing in mind that I have no idea what breeds or descriptions they will be when I get them?

    Thanks

  18. Carol J Marshall
    July 12th 2019 / 10:31 PM

    These all great ideas. It was a wonderful refresher course.

  19. Deborah
    July 14th 2019 / 12:00 AM

    Hello
    In the winter I fold an electric twin size blanket in half length wise. I put it on the couch, then turn it on. Sitting on this is very toasty. Especially with a throw over you. My cats love this !
    Keeps the heating cost very low also. : )

  20. uncompahgre gal
    October 12th 2019 / 3:54 AM

    I live in the Rocky Mountains in the USA, and spend lots of time in front of the computer. The heat coming from the processor keeps my hands warm while on the keyboard. I sit on a barstool, and built an 8″ tall stool to put my feet on. One year, while on very short funds for heating, I bought a used heating pad, stuck it inside an old pillowcase and put that on top of the foot stool. I can keep the main house temp at least 5 degrees cooler and still be comfortable as long as my hands and feet are warm. The little bit of electricity it uses is much less than what it would cost to raise the temperature of the whole house by that 5 degrees. I also use a microwave heated rice bag to warm the bed/sheets which makes it an absolute pleasure to climb into bed when it is cold!

    • October 13th 2019 / 1:19 PM

      These are brilliant ideas! thanks for your comment I will definitely try the heat pad idea x

  21. Diane taber
    October 14th 2019 / 10:04 PM

    Hi we’re really in need of some sort of hints and tips and help please as to how to keep warm and keep the house warm./in winter-time please.as we’ve got our gas cenral heating in the house.but we’re really trying to economise on our heating./bills and also trying to keep us also warm with out putting the heating on until.its really cold when the snows on the ground and there’s hard frosts on the ground.as that’s when we’ll really need it.and then we’ll need to put it on to stop burst pipes as this is something we really need to safeguard against if we can.as this will cost us some money if we don’t do this and have some sense.

  22. Diane taber
    October 20th 2019 / 7:35 PM

    Hi we really want to know how to keep our gas central heating bills down and really keep low.and keep the whole house warm and and keep us warm.but the bills low.all the time. As we are a very frugal family and need to be really frugal all the time and all the time and save money.so we can put our savings to things we really want to do in life.

  23. helen gray
    December 25th 2019 / 9:36 PM

    We are so used to maintaining a regular room temperature all year round that we don’t realise we as a species are physiologically well adapted to seasonal changes in temperature. I find that if the temperature drops gradually you acclimatise to the changes in temperature with less discomfort than if there were sudden fluctuations. Consequently when the temperature lowers gradually I just don’t make any changes. I notice the change but I allow myself to get used to it. And I do get used to it. Now I will not put the heating on until the temperature get to 12 degrees centigrade in the house. This is the point at which I will notice it. Any less gradual changes are dealt with by layering up until I have acclimatised. If I find myself a little better off then I would put heating on earlier if I felt the cold (due to sudden changes in temperature) but finances dictate otherwise usually.

    • Sharon
      January 23rd 2020 / 2:00 PM

      I live in north east New England, cranberry country. Probably five -six miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Get ocean effect snow, and recently some very cold weather. Usually keep heat at 62, broke down last night ( 12 degrees Fahrenheit outside) and turned heat up to 66 F. Shut off second floor a few years ago when ex left. Sleep on the couch under fleece lined comforter. Layer always, fleece lined spandex under sweats, thermal shirt under fleece pull over, leave duty lined socks with slippers. I o run a small Vicks brand humidifier, and hang Landry in front of heat vent in bathroom. Tv throws a ton of heat, so it’s on most of the day. Tried a space heater, but I more than doubled my electric bill. No heat in the cellar, so floors are always cold. Am going to make a second cup of Keurig warm sugar cookie, spiked with s spoonful of hot chocolate.

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