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30 Top tips to keep warm this winter & save money

30 Top tips to keep warm this winter & save money!

Winter is approaching fast and with Christmas soon on our minds, many of us are also dreading our account balance. But there are ways to keep warm and beat the cold, while saving some money at the same time. To help you through the colder months, here are my top 30 money saving tips to keep you warm and snug this winter without costing you an arm and a leg. I still use all of these myself every winter too keep the cost down.

Have a look at my 50 tips to save money this Christmas to celebrate this festive time without breaking the bank.

1. Switch Energy Suppliers

wind turbine farm producing renewable and environmentally friendly energy with a pink orange sky from the sun set

If you have been with your energy supplier for a long time and haven’t reviewed your tariff, there is a big chance that you are overpaying for what you are getting.

2. Stop the draught

Two windows covered in snow and ice during the winter. Light can be seen inside the house through these windows.

Draught-proofing your doors and windows is a cheap and easy way to keep the cold out and prevent heat loss, which in turn saves you money and keeps your home warm and cosy.

I usually buy a pack of 3 draught excluder foam tapes from Amazon. The pack of 3 is enough to tape around my front door and all the windows of my 3 bedroom home.

3. Reflect to Save

How to make a DIY radiator reflector to save money on your energy bill!

Do you use central heating to warm your home? If the answer is Yes, are you aware that some heat is lost to the walls? If the heat is reflected back into the room instead of lost, the room will warm up more quickly and will also help reduce the gas bill.

You can buy reflective radiator foil to save time, however using cheap supermarkets own value brand kitchen foil works just as well! Simply cover some cardboard with kitchen foil, with the shiny side facing out towards the radiator. Then fasten it on the wall behind the radiator.

You can get the Tesco value brand Springforce Wrapping Foil for £0.65 ( 20 m long) and get cardboard for free from your local high street shops that want to dispose of their cardboard boxes. To see how I’ve made my own check out: How to max your radiators efficiency with foil!

4. Close the door

Lady closing the door of an unused room to avoid heating it to save money

If you have a guest room or any other room in the house that isn’t use on a daily basis, turn the radiator off and shut the door. Make sure wardrobe and cupboard doors are kept shut too, as you don’t want to pay to heat these spaces.

5. Close your curtains

Closing the curtains can prevent heat loss and save money on the heating bill

Lots of heat gets lost though the windows, to reduce heat loss close your curtains before it gets dark and when you are out of the house to help retain the heat in your home. To minimize heat loss through your windows, get some thermal curtains or get thermal lining to line your current curtains. If you currently can’t afford to fork out for full priced curtains, why not pop into your local charity shop and have a look whether there are any thermal curtains within your budget?

6. Reposition furniture

elegant pink sofa

Ensure there isn’t any furniture such as a sofa or sideboard in front of the radiators, as you will be ineffectively heating your room. Furniture blocking radiators will absorb the heat instead of heating the room.

7. Annual boiler service

To ensure you are heating your home safely and effectively, get an annual boiler service from a Gas Safe Registered engineer. If you are renting your place, your landlord / landlady is legally responsible for your yearly boiler service in U.K.!

8. Fleece

Lei Hang Shows You When It's The Best & Cheapest Time To Buy Fleece Bedding!
Lei Hang’s daughter Yasmin wrapped up in her fleece PJs and fleece bedding.

Wrap up in a fleece clothing and a fleece throw to keep you and your family warm and toasty this winter! Fleece is a lot warmer than cotton, because the soft and fluffy material is excellent at trapping and retaining your body heat!

I love wrapping myself and my daughter up in our fleece pyjamas, dressing gowns, thick thermal socks and duvet when we are home during the colder months. I tend to get our fleecy PJs and robes from Primark, because their stuff is cheap and so comfortable.

Find out when it’s The Best & Cheapest Time To Buy Fleece Bedding!

The Best & Cheapest Time To Buy Fleece Bedding!
Lei Hang’s daughter Yasmin buying teddy fleece duvet covers

9. Throws & Electric Throws

Can an electric blanket or heated throw save you money on your heating bills? Lei Hang's daughter Yasmin using a Dreamland relaxwell luxury heated throw

We easily get cold when we watch our favourite program or a movie on TV, because we aren’t moving. Why not wrap up in a throw instead of turning up the heating? Ever considered buying an economical electric throw? Have a look at my Dreamland Relaxwell Luxury Heated Throw Review: Does it save money?

I got several throws, but my fave is my economical electric throw. It is the Relaxwell by Dreamland Luxury Velvety Heated Throw.  I love it, because it only cost me 2 pence to run for 7 hours and heats up very quickly. I bought this electric throw last winter for £53 from Amazon and will be getting it out in autumn when it gets cold again. It may sound like a lot to invest, but this has saved me a lot of money on my heating bill last year and will be saving me lots of money every year during the colder months. It is so good, I might even buy the pink one for my daughter.

10. Open the oven door

Save money in the winter by keeping the oven door open after baking or cooking

We tend to close the oven door after we finished cooking or baking. Why not keep the oven door open to let out the heat to add some warmth to the room? Please make sure the oven has been turned off and make sure the kids don’t go near the oven while the oven door is left ajar.

You can do this also with you tumble dryer after drying your clothes or dishwasher.

11. Turn down the thermostat

Turn down the thermostat by 1 degree can save you £80 per year

According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning down our thermostat by 1 degree Celsius can save you £80 per year. But please make sure you keep your temperature at a comfortable temperature, usually between 16-18C to keep you safe and healthy!

12. Set the heater timer

Sand clock with blue sand on pebbles

Stop paying unnecessarily, by setting the timer on your heater. Set the heating to come on for the times of the day when someone will be home and off when nobody is at home.  Setting the thermostat is different to setting the timer, as the thermostat is only designed to maintain a certain temperature. Some portable oil heaters also have a built in timer that can be set to turn on and off at a set time.

I usually set my heaters to come on 1 hour before I wake up and off 1 hour before I leave to do the school run. Then on again 1 hour before we are scheduled to come home. I have set my heaters to turn off 9pm, as we are under our thick duvets to keep us warm when we are asleep.  This way we only use gas central heating for 7 hours a day.

13. Be social

Lei Hang (The Thrifty Island Girl) with her family and her partner Oliver Reade
Lei Hang with her family & partner Oliver Reade

When you aren’t at home, it is obvious that you wont have to heat your home during the time you are away. Why not visit family & friends or pop to a local place like your local library? Just by turning off the heating once or twice a week for few hours can save you a fortune in heating bills over the winter.

I tend to make sure that I go to the gym for 2 hours 5 times a week to make the most of my gym membership and keeping fit & healthy. From this you can see I save 10 hours worth of heating a week.

14. Candles

Lei Hang aka the thrifty island girl explains why she prefers soy candles over paraffin candles.
Lei Hang’s candle collection.

Lighting candles in the evenings to create a romantic or cosy atmosphere, can help you save a little on your lighting and release a little heat at the same time.

One thing to remember it isn’t cheaper to use candles as an alternative to a lamp using a LED bulb, but if you are a big fan of nice smelling candles like myself and light a candle most evenings, why not turn the light off while watching TV. Candles Direct always has good prices on Woodwick candles and Yankee Candles.

15. Snuggle up

Lei Hang with Oliver Reade and daughter Yasmin
Lei Hang with Oliver Reade and daughter Yasmin all snuggled up as a family

Who can say no to cuddles? Snuggle up with your kids, other half or pet under a blanket or duvet to keep each other warm by sharing your body heat. 

16. LED Light bulbs

LED light bulb

A research carried out by revealed that the average home could save on average £231 a year by switching from halogen to LED light bulbs! There are 2 reasons why LEDs will save you a fortune on your electric bill. Firstly LED bulbs use very little energy compared to a halogen bulb to give the same amount of light out. Lastly LEDs last a lot longer than other types of bulbs and therefore less frequently need replacing.

LED bulbs will fit into your existing fitting so there is no refit needed. If you can’t afford to switch all bulbs to LEDs, why not switch the bulbs where the light is mostly used first such as the living room and kitchen before switching the other bulbs?

Some people say LED bulbs are expensive and costing on average about £4 each in grocery shops. I bought mine from Amazon for £1.50 each and all are still working fine after 4 years of use.

17. Make a rice sock

warm cute knitted sheep socks

Yes that’s right, a rice sock! A rice sock is a homemade, water free alternative to a hot water bottle that you can heat in the microwave. You sometimes see those grain filled heat pads for sale in shops, but why buy one when you can make one for a fraction of the cost? Even better why not make one with the kids to keep them entertained on a rainy day or weekend? 

How to make a rice sock:

First grab 1½ cups of rice and a sock BUT make sure it doesn’t contain any synthetic materials! Some socks may have glitter, which is metallic and as we all know we shouldn’t put anything metallic into the microwave!

Secondly pour the rice into the sock then tie a knot at the top of the sock or sew it up to make it look nicer. Then put the sock containing the rice into the other sock and knot it or sew it up at the end again.

Optionally if you are making it with a child, why not sew on 2 plastic buttons as eyes to make a snake shaped heat pad?

How to use your DIY heat pack:

Put the rice sock into the microwave for 1 minute to heat. Voila, Enjoy!

Make sure you keep the rice sock dry.

18. Drink hot drinks or soups

tea in a glass cup with snow flakes

Drinking hot drinks such as coffee, tea or a soup will raise your core temperature, making you feel warmer.  Holding a mug or cup with your hot drink also keeps your hands warm.

19. Draught-proof your chimney

If you have an unused chimney, lots of your heat will escape through your chimney. As well as losing heat, lots of draught will get into your home through the opening. The cheapest and effective way to prevent draught coming in through an unused chimney is to use a chimney balloon. You can pick these up for as little as £15 on Amazon and save a big amount on your energy bill.

20. Keep the heat in

cat shaped draught excluder

Why not use some fun and cute looking animal shaped draught excluders, to prevent cold air coming in from the gap under your doors. If buying isn’t an option at the moment, why not make a DIY draught excluder?

21. Financial help with heating costs

pink pig shaped piggy bank savings

You may be entitled to £140 towards your electric or gas bill during the winter months through a government initiative called Warm Home Discount Scheme, if you are on a low income or pensions.  One thing to bear in mind is that not all, but most energy suppliers are part of this scheme.

Check out my article: Get £140 off your winter energy bill via Warm Home Discount

22. Cold Weather Payment

Lei Hang with her partner Oliver Reade & daugther Yasmin
Lei Hang with her family all wrapped up warm at Winter Wonderland

If you are receiving certain benefits, you may also be entitled to £25 of Cold Weather Payment if the average temperature in your area of residence has been predicted or recorded to be 0 degree Celsius or below for 7 consecutive days between 1st November and 31st march. You can check whether a payment is due for your area using you post code on the Department for Work & Pensions website. 

23. Say no to standby

light bulb and plug

According to The Energy Saving Trust, you can save about £30 per year by switching off unused appliances by the plug rather than leaving in standby mode.

I always switch off all appliances by the plug when not in use, apart from our fridge freezer. As well as switching unused appliances off by the plug, I also switch off the timer for our boiler to prevent heating the home when we are away for a few days.

24. Double-glazing

2 white windows of a yellow building

If you live in a property without double glazed windows, it is worth investing in some seasonal double-glazing film to create temporary double glazed windows. Lots of heat gets lost through the cold windows. By using this special plastic film, some heat loss will be prevented. It insulates your home better, meaning your home warms up more quickly and retains the heat a lot better.

25. Get cooking

italian food, spaghetti pasta, basil, tomatoes and a wooden spoon on a dark brown wooden surface

Get cooking or baking more often! Cooking and baking not only makes some lovely foods, but also produces heat and saves you money compared to buying take away foods.  Why not get the kids involved?

26. Area rug

white brown dog resting on a dark grey shaggy rug in the living room

Wooden, tiled and laminate flooring may look lovely but are cold and not great at keeping the heat in. Lay a large thick area rug such as a shaggy rug down to act as insulation and keeping your feet nice and warm. If buying a large area rug isn’t affordable, consider buying 2 smaller rugs to cover the cold flooring.  The less you can see of the cold flooring, the more insulated your home will be.

27. Get moving

Lei Hang at the gym working out
Lei Hang at her local gym

Keep yourself warm by staying active. Whether you are going to the gym for a workout or dance around the house while you do some cleaning, it all counts!

I usually go to the gym daily, while Yasmin is at school. This way I get my exercise, keep warm and wont need to pay heating at home. If you are a regular gym goer like myself, why not also have a long hot shower at the gym to save some monies on your water and gas bill?

28. Use an oil filled radiator

Oil filled radiators are a great way of heating your home economically and efficiently. They are cheap to run, but also still give of heat for at for a while after the heater has been switched off. This is because the oil is great at retaining heat. Instead of heating the whole home, you can heat an individual room that is being used.

I bought myself a De’Longhi Dragon 4S Oil Filled Radiator in summer 2019. It was reduced from £154.99 to £111.30 on Amazon. Amazon at that point also had a promotion where you get £10 off your order if you use their app. I also had a £30 gift card that I used to order this. So only cost me £71.30. The initial cost of this radiator may be a lot, but in the long run I will save a lot of money. The Eco feature on it will help me save up to 7% of my electric bill running this heater. I have used it last winter and absolutely love it! It take less than 5 minutes to fully heat up and its super effective at heating the room very quickly using its “chimney” technology. I don’t know of any other oil heater manufacturer has as the chimney technology.

The model I have is cost a bit more now, there is also a newer model De’Longhi TRDX41025E Oil Filled Radiator for nearly the same price.

29. Slippers and fleece socks

fluffy pink fleece house slippers

To keep your feet warm and cosy try wearing thick thermal socks. If this isn’t warm enough also wear slippers or slipper boots.

I love getting mine and my little girls winter socks and slippers from Primark, as they are cheap and comfy. I buy them usually during January Sales if I need any and buy them for next year or to use them during the spring time if it is still cold. With Primark being cheap compared to other places, imagine if you pick all these bargains up during the sales.

30. Bleed radiators

Radiator bleed key

If your gas central heating isn’t heating your room properly it is worth looking whether your radiators need to be bled. You can bleed your radiators yourself by getting a cheap radiator key from Amazon with free delivery. If you rent your place ask you landlord to sort it out, as it is his legal obligation to ensure the heating is function properly!

Hope these tips are helpful, but if you have any tips please do share them in the comment box below or message me 😁

Lei Hang - The Thrifty Island Girl