8 Ways You Can Stay Warm And Save Money This Winter
If your frostbitten fingers and shivering shoulders haven’t informed you yet – winter has well and truly arrived in Australia. But before you go cranking up your heater to 30ºC in the hopes of pretending you’re on some sandy beach somewhere in the tropics, there’s something you should remember – heat costs money.
In winter, everyone wants to stay in. It’s warm and toasty, with blankets and laptops and TV and cups of tea. But when you’re staying indoors, you’ll naturally use more energy by way of hot water and electricity. Things can get very expensive, very quickly.
In an effort to keep things cheap (and clean and green), we’ve wrangled together some top-notch savings tips to help you survive
hell freezing over winter with all your fingers, toes and extra pennies intact.
#1 Nix the long showers
Sorry mate – I know how much you love standing under that hot, steamy shower on cold winter mornings, but it’s time to resist the urge. According to Lifestyle, hot water accounts for a third of the average household’s energy use, and with showers averaging about eight minutes, you’re making your hot water system work a lot harder than it needs to.
If that’s not enough to sway you, long hot showers are also a big no-no for your skin, as prolonged exposure to high temperatures can mess with your skin’s natural oils, often leading to dryness, inflammation and itchiness. Plus, burst capillaries. Yikes.
#2 Dinner parties are the best parties
Hey, have you heard? Staying in is the new going out. Host one hell of a great dinner party for your mates or family members or work colleagues to help ease the sting of overpriced outings in the dead of winter. You don’t need a lot to entertain, just some good food, good wine and great company.
#3 Use your heater economically
Program your heater to turn on 20 minutes before you wake up, and turn off 20 minutes before you leave the house or go to bed – there’s no use paying for wasted heat. Not fancy enough to have a programmable thermostat? No worries; you can purchase a plug socket timer from Bunnings for your plug-in mini heater that should do the trick.
#4 Weekly visits to other warm places are a good idea
If you’re not at home, you don’t need to heat the house, right? Why not pop over to someone else’s house and use their warm surrounds? Head over to your ever-obliging grandparents’ house for a meal once a week, or take part in a night class or hobby that’ll keep you out of the house for longer. Do it a couple nights a week and you’ll be grinning.
#5 Use your curtains
Environment Victoria says that “Up to 40% of the heat escaping from your home in winter is from uncovered windows”.
During the day, be sure to open up your blinds to let sunlight in and warm up your room and the glass, especially if you have north-facing windows. But when the sun goes down, keep your blinds and curtains closed to avoid all that natural, totally free warmth from escaping. De-light-ful (sorry).
#6 Cook it yourself
I’m just going to say it: Ubereats/Deliveroo/Menulog have made going out to dinner feel futile – there’s absolutely no reason to brace the cold and leave the house when your meal can come to your door all warm and inviting *sigh*. But hey, all those receipts sure do add up, so it might be time to bunker down for some home-made meals this winter.
Your best bet is making meals that last – buy ingredients in bulk and spend an evening prepping the week’s warm and delicious meals. Here’s some examples to get you started that are both cheap and filling (just double or triple the recipes to last you the week).
Bonus: when you stick a meal in the oven, you’re not just warming the food, you’re also adding a little bit of heat to the rest of the house. Score!
#7 Pump up your tires
When the temperature drops, the pressure in your car tyres can lower greatly. According to the NRMA, low tire pressure can lower your fuel efficiency because your car isn’t rolling along effectively, meaning you need to buy petrol more often. It also can see your tyres wear out more quickly and your on-road performance suffer. So pump them up!
#8 Rug up
Avoid excessive heating costs by wearing more clothes. It’s crazy how many people don’t remember the extremely simple fact that the more layers you wear the warmer you’ll be without having to pay for it. Rug up with an array of jumpers, socks, blankets or Doonas before you go cranking the heat up.
Alternatively, you can light up a fireplace, because they’re super common in Australia! And in the event you don’t have one, here’s a gif of a fireplace that’s almost the same as having your own.
You’re welcome. Stay warm, kids.
Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.