environment · homesteading · stewardship

Save Money and The Planet Without Freezing Your Butt Off

I’m over half Dutch. My maiden name is Dykstra. Having grown up in a Dutch family in a Dutch community in Michigan, I was steeped in the core Dutch value of frugality from the moment I took my first breath.

Frugality gets a bad rap, but should not be confused with the miserly disposition that can accompany it. Frugality squeezes the most out of what we have. When done with a certain mindset it can be a creative, enjoyable lifestyle that imbues generosity, rather than stinginess. My parents embraced and encouraged stewardship along with their natural knack for stretching their dollars, so it’s natural for me to do many things along those same lines. If I can save natural resources and money at the same time, doing so is a no-brainer!

Here are my favorite tips for staying warm without breaking the bank:

  • Open the oven after baking to let the heat escape. (Bonus there is food involved!)
  • Skip the dry cycle on the dishwasher and let the hot dishes air dry with the door open and allow the heat and steam to escape.
  • Instead of using the vent fan in the bathroom, let the hot air out of the room after a shower.
  • Close off heat vents and shut doors of unused rooms.
  • Use fireplaces or space heaters to heat living areas.
  • Use heating pads or electric blankets to warm up if you’re home alone, rather than heating the house.
  • Cuddle your pets (their body temperature is warmer than ours and it’s good for your health!).
  • Make a tent over a heat vent and let the warm air swirl around you (Little House on the Prairie nightgowns are great for this!) We used to do this while eating breakfast on the weekends, so there’s serious nostalgia involved for me.
  • Use layers and blankets.
  • When the sun is out open the shades and sit in it like a cat, and when it’s hidden, close them against drafts.
  • Drink warm beverages.
  • Keep a rechargeable hand warmer in your pocket.
  • Shake your booty and increase your body temperature.

While I readily admit that I’m a post-menopausal warm-body, so when I’m home alone I keep the house frigid and don’t even mind, as a mom, I strive to keep everyone comfy, and often use multiple tricks from my bag at once. If you have great tips, be sure to add them in the comments!