Keeping warm on a limited budget

 We are much warmer than the rest of the UK. Down south in Cornwall, we rarely get it this cold and we’ve been -2 at the warmest today!!! It is a challenge to stay warm in this weather. A lot of people like me will be doing what they can to keep warm. We were advised by the central heating engineer, to have the boiler set on the lowest setting and the radiators set of the highest setting. Boiler is on 1 and the rads are on 9 and the house is 18 degrees. What warmth we have needs to stay in. If you have spare blankets, shut the curtains and then hang a blanket over the curtain rail to form another thickness to your curtain. Hang a blanket or another curtains over the doors. We’ve lightly nailed curtains to our glass internal doors. I’ll worry about the holes and fill them with wood filler in the spring. For now, the need is warmth and not looks.

 I’m upstairs working in my office and to stop the warmth being wasted, I bring a flask with me and then I don’t have to keep opening the door. I also only boil the kettle once. I don’t have lovely homemade blankets, but I do buy whitney blankets in the charity shop. I have one over the back of my office chair and one across my lap. I’m certainly not cold.

 I’ve stopped up all the draughts with draught excluders. I don’t have any thing as posh at the one below, I use folded old curtains or folded old towels. They stop the air flow just the same.

 One thing we can afford plenty of, is homemade soup. Tonight we had the remainder of the gammon with some chips and beans, but we always have soup to defrost.

Tonight, our heating will be on for three hours and we need to make sure we keep the house warm all night. Even double glazing is not that brilliant as insulation, so you need to do a lot to stop the warmth escaping. If you don’t have spare curtains, then use old cardboard to form another barrier inside. If you have a spare duvet, put that under your bottom sheets to insulate underneath your body as well as one of top.

The gas bills will go up in the new year, whilst we are paying for this quarter, so be aware of the 7% increase, which will have 20% VAT on it too, so our bills will increase by one quarter. Hence if your bill is usually £100 a quarter, it will now be £125 a quarter!!!

I’m not suggesting that anyone allows themselves to be chilly for the sake of saving money, but if you have heated your home, do what ever you can to keep it warm and yourselves warm. Finally, one room living is the answer, if like us, you’re just a couple without children. We’ve warmed (taken the edge off!) all of the house, but we heat the one room we are in. We use our oil filled radiator, it cost us about £25 (Argos) and it really warms a room to the point of being cosy. It is very cheap to run. You can wheel it from room to room. Ours is in our living room, where we eat, read, knit and ‘hunker down’ in this cold weather. What is everyone else doing to keep warm without breaking the bank?


16 thoughts on “Keeping warm on a limited budget

  1. Hello down there Frugal Queen. I'm keeping nicely warm (and post-op recuperating) thank you by staying in bed under the duvet with my electric blanket, sleeping bag and thermos. Wearing pj's long dressing-gowns and bedsocks. Oh, and it's the spare bed downstairs because the main en-suite up in the attic is freezing throughout the winter. Another good reason to move out of this poor excuse for a renovated eighteenth century farmhouse rental – it has NO insulation.
    pamela xxx


  2. I'm not sure what you boil, but I'm pretty sure you don't boil the curtain! The kettle, perhaps?

    An excellent post – as usual! Lots to learn in there, some we already do, but we have some way to go to be as good as you. Well done.


  3. (psst, morgan, thanks for pointing out the kettle/curtain that was a little slip – I didn't like to just in-case it was my cognitive incapacity due to legally drug-induced mind-fug lol!!!)

    Gosh. Must have some yogi tea and calm right down……………….


  4. In the autumn I lined the curtain on the glass door into the boot room with thermal lining,It is on a portiere rod, I loop the curtain back during the day to allow the light from the boot room window into the hall. I also put curtains at the very front window and door, we have an internal curtain on the bay so we can shut it off. Our central heating is oil it cost £486 for a full tank, we also have a multifuel stove in the sitting room, once its up and running we leave the sitting room door open, a fan on top of the stove pushes the heat into the hall and down the passage towrds the bedrooms. The coldest rooms are the kitchen and bathroom. I have a halogen heater I use in the kitchen.

    The central heating is on 7.30am – 10.00am and then 8.00pm – 10.30pm.

    The boiler is in the boot room which keeps the chill off in there.

    We put hot water bottles in our bed an hour before we go to bed, nightclothes are over the radiator in the bedroom so we put warm night clothes on. There is a fleece liner and an old duvet under the bottom sheet on the bed, the duvet and a patchwork quilt top off the bed.

    Once the weather started to get bad we broke out the thermals, just now I have on a bra, thermal vest, 3/4 sleeve top, trousers 1 thin and 1 handknitted pair of socks and a gilet. The multifuel stove is just dying down as the central heating kicks in.

    We do not keep the stove in overnight, its not very good for soot and tar deposits in the chimney. We burn mostly wood.

    We have fleeces and quilts on the back of our chairs. Our kettle is one where we can boil just enough for a mug of tea/coffee each.

    Our supper tonight was the drumsticks from a chicken with salad and lemon and coriander cous cous. Dessert was chocolate pudding which will last us for another couple of nights if OH does not eat it before. The rest of the chicken will do us for 2 more meals this week, with rice in a fricasse and a chicken and leek pie. 4 meals from the chicken I cooked yesterday.

    I love reading what you have been up to, too old now to ride a bike our car is the most frugal we could find, it costs £25 for road tax, does 600 miles on a full tank of desiel……I put £30 of fuel in a month….when its gone we walk!!


  5. I do all of the above, plus lots of layers of clothes too for me and the kiddos, I dont have the luxury of havign the heating off when the kids are home, mainly for 2 reasons, 1 my house has been prone to damp before, so it helps keep this at bay, but also having the kiddos, I have the heating off while not inthe house, but a few hours inthe morning and 3-4 hours in the evening. I alsomake a habit of closing the bedroom doors, as it keeps the heat in those particular rooms.


  6. Wow think my hubby is convert..i have been saying for months about being frugal and saving money on the heating..yes i did have to spend a bit more to buy linings for the curtains and yes the hot water bottles cost a £5 for 6 from a charity shop..but considering how much i'm saving in the long run its an investment that i feel is worth it..and our house is lovely and warm..all tips from you and others have been implemented and are working thank you…sorted my heating out so its warm when me and the littlies get up and warm at bathtime for them…have saved quite a bit of money too by turning down my thermostat by a couple of degrees…the only room thats cold is our bedroom and the SAS do the winter survival course in there..its soooo cold its unreal..we can't seem to work out why opinion is because its over the utility room and the floor is full of holes,o and the radiator doesn't work properly even though its been bled it still doesn't warm up..waste of time it is…i have a huge throw that weighs a ton on the bed and once we are in its lovely but such a shock to the system when you get out of bed..its like stepping into the arctic..we have seriously got to find out why that room is so cold and do something about it…might need to put a new floor down but that will have to wait til next yr..
    anyway i have waffled..take care and keep warm..
    o its -5 here tonight with snow and freezing fog..


  7. I would heartily recommend microfibre blankets – they are similar to fleece but softer, fluffier and more drapeable and are made from the same beautifully soft stuff they make beanie baby toys from or the big snuggly dressing gowns that Asda sell in the run up to Christmas. They seem to have magical powers as when you sit or lay under one you warm up in literally seconds. We have 6 or 7 round the house and a couple with our eldest at uni. We bought them all for probably about £6 or £7 each in Lidl if I remember the price correctly – although you have to keep an eye open for when they are available. You can source them elsewhere like Dunelm but they tend to be pricier. I bought the first ones for backing patchwork quilts but they are stretchy so were a disaster – now we use them all around the house and one has gone into each car in case we get stuck in a snowdrift plus there's always one on the top of our bed in winter and my son huddles up in one to play on his x-box in the chilly conservatory – the game must go on! We also take them camping and they will turn the thinnest sleeping bag into a 3 or 4 season bag in an instant – living in a house with a husband akin to a menopausal polar bear and me a tropical flower who freezes at the first sign of autumn they enable me to compromise on the heating levels so he doesn't fry and I don't freeze. Well worth the money!


  8. I love reading all the hints and tips to save money on gas and electricity bills. We have the opposite problem trying to keep cool without breaking the bank, a few of the suggestions can also help to keep your house cooler:) Stay safe and warm everyone♥ Linda xx


  9. I made soup yesterday which is feeding us today and tomorrow. Also, we keep all our doors shut, and have 3 blankets on the bed as well as a hot water bottle. We're so concious of the heating bills after being stung last year.


  10. Hello Froogs , I'm lucky to have a pretty warm house . It wasn't always like this , but cavity wall insulation and a conservatory on the north side made a huge difference. I don't try to heat the conservatory in winter, just shut it off and it acts as an buffer between my house and the outside.
    The other night it got to minus 11 in the middle of the night and my temperature monitor told me the internal temp did not drop below 17 . there was no heating on , just thick curtains drawn etc.
    In the winter I do love my thick dressing gown and fluffy slippers too :0)
    Jacquie x


  11. Thank you for sharing these wonderful suggestions! I'm Canadian – I live in the “other” London, just west of Toronto and grew up in Montreal – so winter's been part of my blood my entire life.

    I find proper clothing makes it easier to handle a colder house. So I wear extra layers, including slippers and hoodie-type sweatshirts, while I work – I'm a journalist and I work from a home office – and I have a thermal mug that lets me nurse my tea for much of the day.

    The dog also stays close, and he's a lovely source of heat on a cold winter's day.

    Glad I found your blog. Such a delight!


  12. We tend to just heat the room we are in. We actually turned the heating on for one hour over the weekend to take the chill off the house – first time this year. We have now turned the frost stat on the CH up to 5'C. The frost stat is set in one of the warmer areas in the house (the silly CH engineer who installed it, wouldn't listen to me…) so if the temperature falls below 5 degrees there, you can be sure that is is much colder elsewhere in the house. This means that the edge is taken off the chill and we know that the pipes won't freeze. In the living room we have a gas fire that eats money and in the bedroom we have our new halogen heater. All the rooms have curtains and those windows that face north have lined velvet curtains. These curtains are 25 years old at least but they do the job. The front door has just had a new draught excluder fitted and rolled up towels sit at the bottom of strategic doors.

    The kitchen door that leads to the utility room and back door is propped just “cat-wide” with a water-filled milk bottle as I have found that this partial closing means that the howling gale from the cat flap is much reduced. This kitchen door is closed when we are actually at home.

    For Christmas last year I was given a bean toy which you heat in the microwave – great for cuddling under a blanket if you are actually sitting down. Poundland also currently has hot water bottles for £1 which rather beats the £5.99 I had to pay at the end of last winter when mine sprang a leak and I was desperate to replace it. I now have a small reserve stock – just in case : )


  13. Hey Froogs, I know what you mean about trying to keep the heat in – Brrr!
    My addition to your frugal list would be to visit an Army Surplus store and grab a few pairs of their incredible woolen Arctic socks. They are a blessing, super cheap and last forever.


  14. We have a wood-burner that supplements our heat. Keeps the electric furnace from kicking on all day, but leaves the bedrooms chilly. Our programmable thermostat kicks the heat on about the time we're waking up, making it a little easier to get out of bed. Really enjoyed reading your post. From it and the comments here, I can see that it would pay me to go ahead and figure out how to line my curtains. Thanks…will definitely be reading more of your wisdom!


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