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Simple steps to stay warm in a cold house

Dress warm, turn down the thermostat and watch your bill shrink.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 1:18AM

Kate at Living the Frugal Life has some tips that remind us of a Montana winter years ago. Making little money early in our career, we set the thermostat at 60 degrees. That was that.

Years later, when hard times hit, we reverted to those frugal ways. To this day, the programmable thermostat never goes above 63 in winter. Do we sometimes get cold? Yes. Do we suffer? No. We know that Kate's advice works. 

We recently found Kate's blog and enjoy it because it's so real. Unlike personal-finance writers who assemble advice in the comfort of fine homes, she's living a sustainable suburban homestead life.

These simple personal tips will help if you're among those trading warmer houses for lower energy costs. (For more ideas about cutting the power bill, read "13 easy, inexpensive ways to go green" and "10 easy ways to 'green' your house.")

  • Layer your clothes. She's admittedly a wuss so she wears fingerless gloves and a hat in the house. Extreme? Perhaps. We've been thinking about those old-fashioned sleeping hats.

  • Get active when you feel cold. Hand wash dishes, use the vacuum cleaner. She sometimes puts dance music on the stereo to warm up.

  • Use the oven. Another post by Kate explains how to maximize use of your oven by baking several things at a time. After you turn it off, leave the door open.

  • Eat or drink something hot. That's a normal part of our day now that winter weather is here. After our fill of hot coffee, we switch to tea.

  • Don't pour hot cooking water down the drain. When we make pasta, which we do a lot, we lift it with tongs (thank you, Mario Batali) and deposit it in the sauce. The hot water stays on the stove until it cools.

Published Nov. 14, 2008


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