So for a lot of people reading this, winter has hit. If you live in a tropical climate, I’m jealous.
Personally, I love winter, but I definitely don’t like being cold. I’m always looking for inexpensive ways to stay warm. I currently live in an apartment building where our heating bill is included in our monthly rent, so it doesn’t matter how warm I keep things in my apartment – I always pay the same amount. But still, I try to be frugal with the temperature for a few reasons. First, even if it doesn’t cost me money, it’s just a waste of energy, and I try to be at least a little environmentally friendly. Second, I don’t want to get used to being toasty warm all winter and then move to a place where I do pay for my heat and have to suffer through the first winter. Third, our heat is SO DRY. I run humidifiers all winter and fight to keep the humidity in the 40% range. The less heat I use, the better.
That means I’m always looking for cheap ways to stay warm.
One thing that I learned in my last place was that draft dodgers are excellent. What’s a draft dodger? No, I’m not referring to the military. A draft dodger is essentially a tube of fabric filled with stuffing and something to make it heavy (usually sand) that is then shoved up against the base of a door or a window to prevent cold air from getting in. You can buy these at the store or you can just make your own. A tightly rolled towel will also work. One trick is to get some big rubberbands to wrap around the rolled towel to keep it from unrolling.
I did a lot of research and bought a good space heater – the kind that doesn’t get hot to the touch, so as to prevent fire hazards as much as possible. Why heat the entire apartment when I’m just in one room? It’s nice because it just takes the chill off in the early morning.
I have an electric blanket on my bed that I turn on about an hour before I go to bed. I turn it off when I get into bed because otherwise I get too hot at night, but it’s so nice to slide into a toasty warm bed on a cold evening.
I’m also a big believer in dressing in layers and drinking a lot of tea. I love big fuzzy socks.
What do you do to stay warm in the winter? Do you just crank up the heat and bask in the warmth? Do you turn your heat off completely? Do your kids wear snowsuits in the house to keep warm? Do you live with someone who has opposing views (you like it warm, they like it cold or vice versa)?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.