Thursday, September 16, 2010

Frugal ways to prepare for cold weather

Cold weather is just around the corner for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere. Every fall, I start thinking of frugal ways to keep warm without spending everything I have on a heating bill. There are lots of ways, but some of them only return small savings and some of them require a lot of effort, so here are three of the easiest, most frugal ways I've found to save prepare for cold weather.
My snowy back yard (2009)

I've seen people walking around in short sleeved shirts and complaining about how cold they are. Layering clothing is a very frugal way to keep you warm without having to turn up the thermostat (or put more wood on the fire). A sweater or overshirt or even a jacket makes frugal sense when you're chilly, whether that's inside or out.

Men wear undershirts in cold weather, why not women? And children? An undershirt, a long sleeved shirt or sweater and a jacket will keep you toasty warm. Do the same with pants. Long underwear is a frugal alternative and is available for men, women and children. Use them, along with heavier weight pants like jeans and corduroy and if you're still too cold when sitting, put a blanket or throw over your legs.

Another frugal way to stay warm is to eat warm things. Cold weather calls for soup and stew, but any other meal served hot is good, too. There are two reasons for this: One, is that the heat really does warm you up from the inside out and the other is that the richness of the dishes give you energy that helps the body maintain an even temperature.

Drinking hot fluids like tea, hot chocolate or broth will help, too. Avoid cold drinks except for water.

Another way works only if you heat with gas or oil: Use an electric space heater only in the room where you are. Close off the rest of the house and turn the thermostat down so it doesn't have to heat the rest of the house much at all. Even two space heaters can be more frugal than running the furnace enough to heat the whole (unused) house.


  1. I drink a lot of tea to stay warm.. but very weak tea so I don't get too TEA-ED out!!

    Yes.. my 14 year old son woke up and asked why I did not put the heat on. It was 61 outside but felt cooler inside.. it went to the 50s at night..

    I let him know he could wear more than a tank top and boxers.. and would not feel cold..


  2. LOL... my daughter used to do the same thing - wear shorts and then complain of being cold!