Frugal ways to keep warm without turning up the furnace

Photo by mharvey75

Lately the blogosphere has been abuzz with tips for reducing heating costs while staying warm this winter. Kacie at Sense to Save wrote a pretty complete list of tips to beat cold this winter. I recommend you check out her post, but first here are some extra tips from me for staying warm in the house without turning up the heat.

While I live in a pretty warm climate, the temperature does drop to 30 degrees or so in the evening, sometimes lower at night. What I really want is a cozy fireplace, but we don’t have one of those. We were able to stay pretty cozy without one last winter, even with the thermostat set at 60 degrees.

If you live in a colder climate, you might not be able to keep your thermostat that low. Find your personal limit — the temperature where you’re a little chilly, but not endangering yourself, your family, or your pets. Bundle up with some warm clothes, socks, and slippers.

Still cold? Then use these tips to warm up:


Get up and get moving! When I get cold in the evenings, I throw on a sweater and do some yoga. Physical activity stimulates blood circulation, keeping you warmer. It’s also good for you, and it’ll keep those extra pounds from creeping up during the cold winter months.

Dress your bed for the weather.

Invest in a down comforter and warm flannel sheets. A down comforter can be a big initial investment, but with proper care it will offer years of warmth with lower thermostat temperatures. Down alternative is just as warm for a lower price. Our down comforter was a gift, so it cost us nothing. And it keeps us toasty all night even though our bedroom is the coldest room in the apartment.

Invite your pets to snuggle with you.

Animals emit a remarkable amount of body heat. My dog is like a little mini furnace. Whenever I’m chilly, I invite him onto the couch or bed to snuggle with me. We keep each other warm, so I don’t have to worry that the apartment is too chilly for him. It’s win-win.

Add a little extra warmth.

I love the idea of the homemade heating pad. Unfortunately, I don’t have a microwave. So I just use a plain old heating pad under my blanket set on low. It’s like a little mini electric blanket. I feel like it would be overkill if I was covered up completely with an electric blanket, but a little heating pad provides just enough warmth without overheating me. Sure, it uses a little electricity, but not as much as the furnace would use pumping heat throughout the apartment.

Sometimes when my husband’s feeling extra sweet he’ll lay the heating pad on my side of the bed and turn it on while I’m getting ready for bed. My side of the bed is all warmed up by the time I lie down! Isn’t he sweet?


I’ve taken up hand quilting in the past few months, and it’s really one of the best ways to stay warm on a cold evening. It gives me something to focus on, keeps me moving, and best of all I have a cozy quilt covering my lap while I work.

Take a long, hot bath.

When all else fails, I run a bath as hot as I can stand it, close the bathroom door to trap the heat, and soak until I feel warm. When I get out of the tub, I dry off completely and bundle up in cozy clothes before I open the bathroom door. Usually I head straight to bed and snuggle with my husband under the down comforter. Honestly, though, if the bath water is hot enough, the cold air feels great when I open the bathroom door.

Sip a glass of red wine.

Not only will it warm you up and put a little color in your cheeks, but red wine is actually good for your health in moderation. Not to mention tasty and relaxing. :)

3 thoughts on “Frugal ways to keep warm without turning up the furnace

  1. Denise

    Good suggestions! Today at a garage sale I bought a pair of warming socks for $1. You put them in the microwave and heat them for about a minute and they stay warm for an hour or so. And yes, they work! If my feet get cold, I’m all for turning up that thermostat but with a sweater and the warming socks I can do just fine with the heat turned way down. Not bad for a dollar!

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