7 Ways to Get Warm On the Cheap
Brrr . . . it's cold outside. Even if you live somewhere that's usually warm, if you're in the northern hemisphere it's probably been anywhere from a mite chilly to downright freezing out there. If you're at all like me, there's not too much that's worse than being really and truly cold . . . except maybe paying the electric bills on the central heating that will fix that.
Luckily, over the years I've found ways to stay warm, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. As an added bonus, these are all ways that don't cost nearly as much as it would to run the heater all the time. Warm and snuggly, here we come!
Keep the Cold Out
Before you worry about how to fight the cold that gets in, work on keeping it out. Make sure your doors and windows have airtight seals around them. If they don't, duct tape can help in a pinch, or you can get some foam sealant from your local hardware store. Roll up rugs and put them up against cracks at the bottom of your doors and make sure everything is latched.
If you have to use your doors or windows for something, close them as soon as possible. In addition, try to isolate any room where you plan to have a door or window open, so the cold won't spread to other areas of the house.
Cover Your Floors
It's easy for any heat that is in your home to escape into the ground through uncarpeted floors. Even small rugs act as insulation, and any insulation is better than none. If you have a large area covered in wood flooring or linoleum, getting a large area rug or even an extra piece of carpet from a local store can go far toward lowering your energy costs and keeping you warm.
This is especially helpful if you live in an upstairs apartment or condo or spend a lot of time on the second floor of your home. Upper level floors don't even have the benefit of the ground as insulation, so heat can escape even faster.
If you've ever lived somewhere truly cold, you probably know this secret already. You don't have to go out and buy a bunch of big, old, bulky sweaters to stay warm. In fact, it's more efficient, both for your budget and your body, if you wear several lighter layers. As an added bonus, this lets you adjust your temperature as the need arises.
Wearing layers works even where you think it might not. Wear fingerless gloves under mittens, or knitted gloves under bulkier ones to keep your hands warm. Layer a scarf around your head under a hood or hat and help your body heat stay in.
Snuggle With Someone
A little cheesy? Yes, but it works. When it's cold outside, keep your loved ones close and you'll all be warmer. Body heat is almost miraculous in its ability to keep people warm — that's why curling up in a sleeping bag with another person is one of the top cold-weather survival tactics. While you may not want to warm your cold toes on your partner's body without asking, know that if you do, you'll have warm toes all night.
A $10 space heater from Target can go a long way towards keeping you and your family warm. While running it all the time or using it as your main heating source is expensive, it can save you money with strategic use. Instead of turning on your main heater before you leave in the morning, let your space heater warm up a small area, like your bedroom and bathroom, and you don't have to heat the whole house.
If you're still concerned about cost, spend a little more and get a heater with a good energy saver rating. Because these use electricity more efficiently, they will cost you even less over the long haul.
Exercise is great for warming you up, and you don't even have to break a sweat (in fact, you might not want to, since sweat is designed to cool you off). Doing simple household tasks, like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming the living room, and anything else around the house, can help get your blood flowing fast enough that you'll be much warmer, and will stay that way for at least a little while after you're finished. What better motivation to get the house cleaned for your Christmas visitors?
Cook for Yourself
Both your stove and your oven generate heat, and using them is a great way to keep at least a small portion of your home warm. So get started on all those holiday treats and find your kitchen and dining area warmer as a direct result.
This is especially useful if you're making a holiday dinner or having a party in your home. Between the body heat generated by having extra people around and the heat wafting out of the kitchen, you may not even have to turn on the heater to make your guests comfortable.
How will you stay warm this holiday season? I'd love to have even more tricks up my sleeve, so share yours in the comments!