Keeping warm on a budget!

Hello Dear Reader,

Firstly a reply to Sara. I’m not mean, just skint and having to put every penny aside that I can for rainy days. No one can afford not to save these days and we all need to be very careful with what ever income we have. So Sara, I’m not mean, just living with my means. Now, onto keeping warm on a budget.

I have a huge four bedroom house that I’m lumbered with until I can get out of a mortgage deal in September and then only then if the market picks up and I can sell it. In the mean time, I can only afford to heat one room so how do I go about keeping warm. It’s about 4 degrees outside this evening so I have to do everything I can to keep us all warm, Firstly, we’re very well wrapped up. Tights. socks, jeans, layers, jumpers and a scarf. I block off rooms I don’t use. I have thick heavy curtains over the windows where there is no heating and I have a duvet and a homemade quilt and the electric blanket gets put on  in readiness.

Now, I’m paying for this year’s wood so I burn it sparingly and I leave the fire to die down at 8pm and then go off up to bed to read and snuggle up in thick jim jams, with socks and even a hat if it gets too cold! It’s not that cold yet, we all remember last winter when December rarely got over freezing! I’m making the most of ‘warm’ weather whilst it lasts. There are many way that we can and do all keep warm when the cost of heating is high.

As ever, now over to you, how do you keep warm when the cost of heating is so high?

All my love,



35 thoughts on “Keeping warm on a budget!

  1. Layers of clothing is how I keep warm. A summer tee shirt, and over it a long sleeve turtleneck, and over that a warm wool sweater I made a few years ago. I tuck a layer into my jeans so no air comes up my tummy.

    Hot tea and/or coffee all day long, and I can warm my hands on the mug. And I grumble a lot. Grumbling is good.


  2. Fluffy blankets to keep us warm and tea lights on the coffee (you know the ones, £1 for about 500 from Ikea)table to make us feel warm. Perfect. One evening of heating so far this year and then no-one noticed. I swear the bird is frozen to his perch.


  3. I keep the heat just enough to not freeze the pipes. Each bed has warm quilts and extra afghans handy. Every
    chair and soft has afghans. My newest favorite this year is fingerless gloves that can be worn
    while doing things around the house which includes using the computer.
    I made several pair. They are easy to wash and dry quickly near a heater.


  4. We layer as well, all my pj's are recycled day clothes – t shirts etc jogging bottoms that are getting saggy, washed out etc, long sleeved t shirts etc etc Two blankets on the bed ( duvets ) and fleecy blankets. We go up to bed early to watch tv, read etc etc We snuggle. The heating is only on for 1 hour in teh morning and will only heat to 17 C. vests !!! We love a good vest and a fleece!!!

    As a camper we don't mind inthe slightest. We have an oil filled radiator to heat one room – whatever we are using at the time Slippers!!!

    Having taken a pay cut after redundancy and also being saddled with a house that is out of my budget I have no choice but to be MEAN lol Also as a single parent etc etc I love making it work though 0 its a challenge and a game – otherwise I would cry about it!


  5. Hi froogs I dont know who Sara is but I dont know how she can think you are mean. I think you are fantastic and inspiring. I am following your lead in trying to downsize and save money. We have a wood burning stove in our home which heats the rads but not great heat throughout the whole house so am putting up curtains in all the rooms (we have pull down blinds) and putting a curtain over the hall door (inside) to keep drafts out plus putting cushions in front of doors in house to stop drafts.

    Keep doing what you are doing.



  6. It's bitterly cold here today in the Midlands.
    I start the day with half an hour of exercise to get the blood pumping and both of us have engaged in a good deal of physical activity, Jon by washing the car & wood chopping and me by walking into town and back and getting supplies.
    We light the fire just before it gets dark. At the moment we're still using the skip load of wood we got from ebay in the summer for 99p. The windows have got polythene on the inside which we put up in October and take down in Spring. The curtains are made by me from patchwork scraps and lined with sheeting. We live in one room in the evenings with the door shut and a handmade draught excluder to block the cold air. x


  7. My goodness. 4 degrees is still not cold. At least not for me. Here we have had some temperatures under zero for a few days here and there and many windy days with the draft coming in through our vents and window leaks as well as through the front door due to hallway vents that are directed right to my suite.

    So to keep warm, I'm having to do a lot of different things. I purchased plastic to put over the windows to block out the winds. I have a space heater that I turn on for a few minutes whenever it gets too cold and I need to warm up. My mattress pad has a heater and I turn that on when I go to sleep so I don't need to turn on the heat in the bedroom. I turn off the heating pad if it gets too warm. If it is really cold, I turn on the heating in the bedroom for an hour before sleep and once in a blue moon will leave the heat on all night. Layers of clothing, socks and bootie slippers are a must in this place, as well as a cover up when seated. Whew! I wish I had some wood fireplace but I have a gas one. I don't turn it on since the pilot light needs fixing. I'm going to have to fix it soon. I've left it too long. The fireplace doesn't throw heat enough to warm you but my computer desk is directly across so it will keep me warm.

    Maybe you've mentioned this before. I'm wondering what your heating bills are each month.


  8. we are very lucky we found a deal where wood was a third of the price of the stuff thats precut and delivered. but the catch was you had to buy alot of it. which is fine as we had saved alot and had the money. we also were able to borrow a truck and trailer and hubby drove up to the next state and got a load. We also bought a hydrolic splitter and we now have a huge pile that we split as we need. We also have be offered all the free wood we want and all we have to do is go to the farm and cut it ourselves. So we will spend the summer collecting as much as we can and add it to our growing stockpile. We also do the blankies on the couches and thick curtains but with the wood situation good we have two wood fires so if it gets really cold we light both and the whole house is toasty warm.


  9. We both work from home so the money we save on commuting has to pay for extra heating.

    Until the end of November, we used almost entirely wood for the heat – free wood that we've scrounged over the year – but have switched to our central heating now. Last year our boiler died for a fortnight during the coldest part of the winter, so I want to limit our wood in case that happens again. I suspect we'll switch back onto nearly all wood heating from January though – we should have enough for the rest of the winter then.

    Either way, wood or gas, we wrap up so it doesn't have to be on for as long. We often wear our bathrobes over our clothes when we're working at our desks for another layer and to prevent draughts. On the sofa as I am now, I have a blanket, and a dog and a cat as mobile furry heating units. I've also noticed that if my feet are cold, then all of me is cold so they are always in multiple layers.


  10. I haunt charity shops for thermal backed curtains or hang two pairs together to cover every window (once the sun has gone in) and every door. We draft-chase with a candle to find where any cold is coming from! We have old-fashioned front and back doors – the front has an escutcheon to cover the keyhole but the back doesn't so the key stays in to block the keyhole – it's amazing how cold whistles in!

    We found a company that makes fit it yourself secondary glazing frames – spendy but SO worth it ( so we upgraded in the two rooms with the biggest windows – wonderful!

    Slippers and wristwarmers – or leg warmers on your forearms – or just plain cut off jumper sleeves! I was given a pair of Pachamama armwarmers made of wool and lined with fleece – they are fantastic.

    Hot water bottles are excellent – and you can always make a jazzy cover (or put them inside cushion covers with or without the pad).

    If you can get them – old fashioned flanellette sheets and pillowcases – cozy and hardwearing and often super-retro!


  11. We live in a tall, thin house – there are five flights of stairs. So, I find if I keep active and do stuff that meakes me go up and down the stairs whenever I start to feel a bit chilly, I soon get very warm indeed! Hot drinks and a bit of ironing also makes me heat up a treat…



  12. If Sara doesn't like what she reads she has another option–stop reading it! I for one find your blog informative and encouraging. Sara obviously has enough money to buy what she thinks fit and isn't that what we all do ultimately? We should be supportive to each other rather than critical of what we don't understand. Write on Froogs!


  13. I live in a very cold rented flat with old rickety windows and I read on the internet that it helps to put bubble wrap on windows to keep the house warmer – it really works! You stick a sheet of bubble wrap to the window by generously spraying water on windows and then putting bubble wrap on it and smooth it with your hand so that there is no air between the window and the bubble wrap, bubble side to the window, and it really works, it's like improvised double glazing! I would also like to say that you are an inspiration and I look forward to reading your blog every day!


  14. we are lucky with having wood, but dh suffers such a lot with feeling cold, it is hard. I am going to invest in a hot water bottle for him, or if funds permit an electric blanket for his side of the bed, I don't feel it cold like he does,

    Gill in Canada


  15. Big knickers, long socks, long sleeved t shirts put on first thing and tucked in, then either a big woolly jumper or a baggy cardigan on (and off and on: thank you menopause) all day. Then early to bed for a snuggle to keep warm in the best way possible!


  16. For various reasons we have the gas central heating on at 15deg all the time.
    My wife suffers from spondylitus and is a wheelchair user, this means she feels the cold, it makes her back worse; and she can't exercise to keep warm. She has a hot water bottle which helps her back.
    Also, living in rented accommodation with a gas-fired combi boiler which needs to have constant water pressure, we can't knock the water off to prevent freezing if we go away in winter, so the house is kept above freezing.
    The modern open flame effect gas fire is swithched on low perhaps a couple of hours in the evening, lowest setting, if needed.
    Our first winter here, so we're not sure of costs yet, but the summer quartes we hardly used any gas, only for the hob, we use the electric shower.

    (I dunno who Sara is either)


  17. Today I put up the draft catchers on our windows. I sew long tubes and fill them with sand. We won't need them in the new place we are moving to, and we probably won't need nearly as many blankets either. Our Fall and early Winter have been unseasonably warm here, which has helped in selling our house! I am leaving the draft catchers for the next owner. He wanted my curtains and I plan to fill him on all the old-fashioned tricks of heating an old house. Our next house will cut our heating bills easily in half which I can't wait for!

    I put the tubes filled with sand on the window sills and over the top of the first window to trap as much incoming air as I can.

    Stay warm my friend!


  18. Fleece blankets and sheets are the warmest ever! I hang quilts on all the outside walls to help keep the cold out…I have tons of wool for my rug hooking so that goes over the curtain rods in the bedrooms…I've made heavy curtains for all the other rooms…


  19. We are having the heating on for an hour in the morning and an hour in he evening. the rest of the time we wrap up well, plenty of blankets on the bed. the house is a terrace which I think helps and it will stay warm for at least an hour after the heating has gone off x


  20. tralala, it is amazing how the wind whistles through keyholes! My son (aged 3 then) sorted ours out by putting a fridge magnet over top of the keyhole. It only works on iron or steel door furniture though.


  21. Not many people have mentioned thermal underwear but it is a really effective layer for keeping warm. Aldi and Lidl both have done a set in their specials. I got a set for £7.99 last winter and was very glad of it! It still looks good as new after loads of washes so it should last quite a few winters. I also have a bodywarmer as the top layer in the house when it is really cold.

    I also like to have two hot water bottles in bed – one at the end for my feet and one at my side. A husband at my back helps too 🙂 The two HWB really make a difference especially when the temperature is well below 0'.

    We haven't had the CH on yet but are using our trusty halogen heater in whichever room we are in. We can have the halogen on for a whole evening for the same cost as one hour of CH.


  22. Bubblewrap (large) on the panes of the guest rooms then calk round the frame then put up shrink wrap and blow hot air on to get a tight seal then woolen curtains. The bubblewrap can be used from year to year and is so easy to install and if you have guest you can take it down for as long as you need.
    Ikea s warmest weight duvet on top and a couple of old duvets in the fitted sheet. Someone told me newspaper under your mattress is good – must try.


  23. Someone thought you were mean? I live in the U.S. and rent. While I own to mistakes made with hubs, the two of us agree: most of the propaganda surrounding frugality here is aimed to make one feel poor. Our nation seems to have no common sense regarding finance – personal handling and otherwise. While his and my parents were frugal, they carried on with a sense of shame over it. Your blog and Ilona's are two very refreshing blogs. And I had to find this bright outlook across the pond!! Figures!! LOL. Mean???? Did the lady have enough coffee??? Keep on, dear. Your place is the very opposite of mean. For that I can read stateside. Americans can be uplifting, but I find my countrymen/ladies to be very emotional about thrift. I am drawn to the “let's get on with it” mentality and find that much more inspiring. You are very gracious to address that comment. Eileen in NYC.


  24. I would love to have a woodburner or even a fireplace, but we live in a small, modern house with no chimney, which makes me sad, I would rather have a real fire than a telly!
    It's hard to keep just one room warm because teenagers don't want to sit with you in the evenings, they want to be up in their rooms only coming down to raid the fridge. I suppose I could freeze them out! Anyway, try to keep an eye on the thermostat and limit when the heating comes on and wrap up well, we always used to didn't we!?
    Sarah (with an h!) Don't want to be confused with anyone else!


  25. Thick jumpers & layers! We have a wood burning stove downstairs & run it from around 5.30 in the afternoon till about 8. For the last half hour we use the fan from the aircon, which is above it, to blow the warm air through the whole of the downstairs. Upstairs it is a portable gas fire in the bathroom for half an hour before hot bath & then jump into bed! We have no central heating, and pile the bed up with coats if necessary & a large dog helps!


  26. There are some great ideas here. I have no heating in my kitchen, so I like nothing better than slow-cooking a casserole in my oven, so my little kitchen stays warm, and I have a lovely meal too!


  27. I want you to know I just love reading your blog….the lovely food pics, the British names for things (pingty ping for microwave) your reminders not to get caught up in buying, appreciating the beauty of your surroundings. Thanks for sharing your journey.


  28. I've just hoiked down the thermostat from 18 degrees to 17 and it's fine. I try not to have the heating on very much, starting with the odd hour and then for longer. I generally wear thermal vest and what I call “long janes” i.e. lady's longjohns under regular clothing. I wear wool socks I knitted and try to wear wool or 50% wool jumpers when I can get them cheaply. I will sit under blankets – lap and shoulders – with a hot water bottle and fingerless gloves if necessary; usually on the days when I am sitting down a lot. And a hat sometimes! We have double glazing but still have thermal linings added and DH made shelves to go over all the radiators that are under windows. I find porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch, regular hot drinks and periodic physical movement keep me warmer too.


  29. Hi Frualqueen, I was very curious so read back to find Sarah's comment… oh dear. she obviously hasnt read your title! You have never come across as mean to me, you spend your time and money thoughtfully, which is a lovely and worthwhile endeavour.
    keeping warm? i cut wood at a community 'reclaim our wood from the drinkers' project, and store it for next year. this years wood was a local cut down hedge – shame but at least we benefited. layers and planning are the answer!


  30. Dear Froogs,

    Please don't delete me,
    don't make me go … !

    Still love the blog, but can't find what poor old Sara did to offend, or has that bit gone? I saw your reply to being “mean” – was there more?

    I get the impression from reading a number of thrifty blogs that such accusations often tend to be made. And some can be quite humorous. Dunno just what went on here.

    However, I get the impression that Sara's comment was based on the fact that you aren't that badly off yet could cheesepare and chisel for Britain, or at least at County level! That may be insulting and “mean” is a charged expression but it is also quite interesting.

    I also see that you were very alarmed about debt and have worked really hard to tackle and now conquer credit card debt and are now working away at the mortgage. You have my admiration for that achievement and that ambition.

    One interesting thing is that relatively well-off, middle class, professional folk today are doing what you are doing and not just looking to upgrade the Volvo.

    Another interesting slant is that there can be a romantic appeal to thrift, even amongst the well-off. The fashionable 1940 approach, backs to the wall etc.

    I know you don't do ironic frugal dinner parties with hilarious pilchard-based canapes but still, to a reader with no prospect of buying their own house and who has no rather than two incomes and who cannot invest in, say, something as dear as a woodburner etc, you can see that the money-saving advice for the skint may seem a bit rich. Sorry to say it, but it is a natural consequence.

    Standing in a box collecting your shower water is frankly bonkers! It saves practically nothing and is more likely to put your back out than help your water bill. I think that is the meanest trick in your book. However, we have gone a bit further and have, on the strength of your approach, put a hose connector and a tap on the shower drain pipe where it comes out of the house and use that to hose to the veg beds. That was thanks to you and I do thank you!

    The roof water also now fills a loo – it's tuppence a flush now and is paying for itself every day. Thanks to you, we take a 10l+ watering can to put in the washing machine each time. In summer it comes out of the greenhouse so we don't need to heat the water either.(As an aside, a drop of Jeyes fluid goes in the water butt to keep it sweet and keep down garden pests and to freshen the laundry). The point I take from you is that if you save the tuppences, the pounds look after themselves.

    We embrace what you say and do, others may laugh at it or be unpleasant, and Sara, as I read her comments, was not trying to be rude but just exploring the approach. It's your blog and you have editorial control. But a bit of grit can produce pearls. I'll bet Sara keeps looking in, if not commenting if she is like me because your site is informative and very approachable and practical. Perhaps like lots of other people who are not really skint, the current economic situation makes them very anxious and they want to feel more in control of their lives and live in a better way.

    I look forward to more of your ideas and more of your generous spirit, which so many of us find rewarding.

    Much love,



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