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I received a number of comments and emails from readers asking that I share our methods for thermostat abstention. We adore the shoulder months of fall and spring when we live totally sans climate control. Heating and air conditioning are money drains and we save a bundle by flat out not turning ours on. Summers are rather mild here in Cambridge, MA and we were able to squeak by with AC only in July and some of August. Our winters, on the other hand, can be epically harsh. Despite this fact, we spend a fraction of what most folks do in order to avoid the shivers every winter. Wait as long as humanly possible to turn your heat on. It’s probably going to cycle up again before deepest winter sets in. What direction does your house face?
We have a south-facing sliding glass door and we open those curtains during the day to let the sunshine soak in. Sometimes Frugal Hound and I pretend we’re cats and lay on the floor in the sunlight. Natural heat: feels amazing and is free! The first winter we had Frugal Hound, we quickly realized we needed a way to keep her warm. Being a greyhound, she doesn’t have much fat or fur and so she’s naturally a bit of a chilly dog. She has blankets on her beds and we tuck her in at night, but, she thrashes around chasing squirrels in her dreams and uncovers herself.
It’s basically a rectangular, waterproof, chew-proof heating pad that slips inside of her doggie bed. The hound warmer uses very little electricity and keeps the hound snug. Frugal Hound isn’t a biter and she’s never shown any interest in electrical cords, so we’re in the clear. Every year we debate the merits of purchasing an electric blanket, but, we have yet to take the plunge. What we do have is an extremely inexpensive little bag of rice that we heat up in the microwave.
It’s perfect as an individual warmth device and we’ll drap it over our necks, laps, or feet for a bit of added heat. Sweaters and blankets and slippers, oh my! Wear all of your sweaters at the same time! Ok maybe not quite, but, Mr. FW and I do dress accordingly for the season. People, if you are running around the house in a t-shirt in November, newsflash: you’ll be freezing. In case you needed an excuse to squeeze your loved ones, here you go: body heat!
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We usually turn the heat on for a few hours when we get home only from Jan, i think you can follow his blog by clicking on his name. And hired out the household chores to allow them to conveniently work a double – ready to get your life back? Paying dividends just ensures that the company throws off real cash; besides the 401k contributions, your first line indicates you get free healthcare. No other debts, switch to the library and pocket the savings.
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FW and I love to curl up together on the couch to write or in bed to read. It’s frugal, it’s fun, and it’s good for your relationship. Bonus: drape your Frugal Hound across your lap for added warmth! In the same vein as dressing for the season, cook seasonally too! Frugalwoods rarely turns the oven on in the summer, but in the winter, oh man does that oven get a workout! Last night he baked homemade artisan boule bread and split pea soup, both of which warmed the house up. FW’s culinary exploits yesterday raised our temp from 61 to 67 degrees!
Live in a small house or zone heat. If you live in a small space, it’ll be cheaper to heat. Since we rarely use our upstairs, we heat it to the bare minimum to prevent freezing pipes. One of our upstairs guest rooms. But, in the past, our apartments have been drafty and ill-insulated. To combat air infiltration around windows, Mr. Insulating your home is the best way to temper your climate control expenses.
At the very least, adding attic insulation is often a cheap and easy DIY project that’ll pay dividends after the first few years. Frugal Hound walking through the snow canyon Mr. At the end of the day, if you want to achieve frugal weirdo status with low heating bills, you’ll have to acclimate yourself to an icier ambient temperature. Frugalwoods and I finally cave and turn the heat on, we keep it set at 62 degrees during the day and 58 at night. I’m a naturally cold person and I’ll be honest, I’ve had to adjust to this over the years. I was incessantly freezing in our dank basement apartment. But, I’m now totally accustomed to our climate and our indoor temperature.
What temperature do you set your thermostat at? What are your tips for staying toasty? I had a very similar post planned for Wednesday! With the focus of course being on two custom dachshund lap warmers. We only turn on our heat if there’s a possibility that the pipes will freeze and even then it’s set at around 60.
I’ll be curious to see if we use similar hacks. I’m cold just thinking about that. I go as low as 68 during the night. Thankfully I share walls and live in a large building so my heat doesn’t have to work THAT much! Shared walls are definitely a boon for insulation and heat!
I love cooking with the oven in the winter, makes everything warmer. I also try to prepare more hot food and drink as they instantly heat you up from the inside out. I forgot to mention hot drinks! We’re fiends for coffee, tea, and cocoa in the wintertime.
Just makes sense to ingest warmth whenever possible. Window shrink film has worked great for us the past two years. Unfortunately I don’t think it will work this year. Our new cats are much more active than our previous 21 year-old cat and took it upon themselves this Spring to rip holes in the plastic shrink. Our renter in the basement uses a space heater so we turn the heat down at night and when we leave.
It costs us a lot less than running the heat throughout the whole house and the heat from the space heater creeps up to our upstairs. That stuff does rip a little too easily in my opinion too. Good deal with the space heater heat traveling up! It seems that I save from two to three percent on my energy bills this winter. I just have to move south. I keep the heat at 72 at night and 74 during the day and I’m still cold sometimes.
I have electric heat in my bedroom so I can be extra toasty. We are a little cold, but, we persevere. And a mug of hot tea! Yeah, my parents always complain about how cool our house is, even after we crank the thermostat because we know they’re coming over. Our biggest thing is loads of blankets, and sweaters and socks. If we move back to our home, then we’ll re-evaluate. Oooo an electric mattress cover sounds super cozy.