Reduce your winter heating bills

Frugal Home Winterization

by Amy Allen Clark

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If you live in regions where it becomes extremely cool in the winter, I am sure that you can feel the changes in the air and sense what is about to come. Winter weather is just around the corner and it is time to prepare your home for the cold weather. For a frugal person, the important thing is figuring out how to prepare your home for the cool season and keep the most money in your pocket. Anyone can turn the thermostat up, but it is the frugally zealous who figure out a way to keep their home as warm as possible without putting a huge dent in the bank.

I would like to share with you a few conventional (and unconventional) ways to prepare your home for winter:

  • A programmable thermostat is a sound investment. Just by purchasing one of these, you can save yourself ten percent a year by turning your thermostat back during the times you are not home. If you are home during the day, programming the thermostat to drop to lower temperatures in the evening is also an option. When choosing a thermostat, be sure to look for the Energy Star label.
  • Related: How to Install a Programmable Thermostat

  • Keep ventilating fans off in the kitchen and bathroom and only use these as is necessary. These fans can suck the majority of the heat out of your home.
  • Caulk your windows and all around the outside edges of the sills. First, begin by caulking the windows on the outside. Then caulk the windows indoors, using a temporary silicone caulk, all around the moveable parts of the window. The caulk will come loose when you want to open your windows in the spring and can save you approximately $200 each year, just by sealing the edges of your windows.
  • Close vents and doors in the rooms that you do not use. There is no sense in paying for heat when no one is even in these rooms.
  • Make quilted window shades. You can make quilted window coverings yourself out of old covers or blankets. Check your local thrift store too for these materials and reuse them for a fraction of the cost. You can also hang blankets and quilts over the windows to hold the heat in at night.
  • Make sure your air filters are clean for your central air-heating unit. Dirty filters will clog the unit up and require it to stay on longer and work harder, costing you money.
  • Dress appropriately for the season. I can't tell you how many times I have gone to someone's house and they are wearing a t-shirt instead of a warm sweater because they have their heat cranked up. I wouldn't expect anyone to wear a coat in their house, but wearing winter clothes is a must! You can also invest in a warm pair of slippers to be worn around the house, which will help to keep your feet warm.
  • Related: Affordable Outdoor Clothes for Winter

  • Have thick blankets, electric blankets, and flannel sheets on hand for when the weather changes. I find the best prices on these at TJ Maxx and it is even easier to save money if you are not particular about the colors. We put these heavier linens on and bring our thermostat down in the evening and never even notice that the temperature has dropped.
  • Bake to your heart's content! This is a great way to warm up your house and to feed your freezer. Who wants to be baking in a hot kitchen in the spring and summer months? Why not take advantage of the cooler weather and cook enough to feed yourself and your freezer so you can take a few nights off in the warmer weather to bask in the beautiful sun.
  • Fill a coffee carafe with hot drinks each morning. These drinks will help to keep you warmer during the day and will stay toasty warm in the carafe.
  • Pull back your curtains during the daytime to allow the natural light to help heat your home. In the evening, close the curtains back up to provide a barrier between the window and your home.
  • Finally, if you feel that your bill is too high, it might be worth taking the time to do some comparison shopping. I love to use because it is a quick way to find out who is in your area and who can offer you the best price.

Reviewed September 2017

Amy Allen Clark is a stay-at-home mother of two wonderful children. She is founder and creator of Her website is geared towards mothers who are seeking advice on staying organized, living on a budget, and those seeking work-at-home employments. The author resides in Granger, Indiana and her hobbies include reading, writing, and cooking. Please visit her new money-saving blog where she offers even more tips for ways you can save your family money.

Take the Next Step:

  • Winter's just around the corner. Begin your preparations today. Maybe you'll want to invest in a programmable thermostat or try your hand at making quilted window shades.
  • For more ways to heat your home for less this winter, visit the TDS library.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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