Minimize Your Gas Bill with 5 Toasty Alternatives

My almost-2-year-old son is a fabulous singer. His new favorite song is the Christmas classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” He likes to belt it out whenever we’re walking out to the car because it’s winter in Michigan and, baby, it IS cold outside.

The other problem with Michigan winter is that it’s pretty darn cold inside, too. And since we’re not millionaires, raising the temperature via central heating isn’t always the best option. If you’re in the same boat and you’d like to stay warm without going into debt, consider some alternative measures to keep yourself warm. Before you touch that thermostat, here’s how you can stay a little warmer without cranking up the heat.

Bake Something

stay warm bake cookiesWinter and fresh chocolate chip cookies go together like campfires and s’mores. A chilly day isn’t complete until you’ve baked up a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies, mouthwatering brownies, cheerful confetti cake, rich red velvet cheesecake… oh sorry, where was I? Oh yes — if you’re considering hibernation to cope with the cold, you’ll need to stock up on calories! Heavenly treats can warm the soul. (One thing to remember, though: While using the oven to bake may naturally help warm up your kitchen, don’t ever consider using the oven as a space heater. It can pose a carbon monoxide hazard.)

Get Moving

Now that you’ve gobbled your fresh-from-the-oven baked goods, you’ll need to get some exercise. The best way to free your veins of ice is to get your heart pumping. Clean the house. Pop in an exercise DVD. Play “freeze tag” with the kids (freeze tag, get it?). Getting out from under the blankets when it’s cold in the house is a bit like jumping into an unheated pool, but once you’re in motion, chilly limbs will be a thing of the past.

Let the Sunshine In

Sunshine can improve your metabolism, up your energy levels, lower your blood pressure, and even warm your house! A room full of natural light can make the coldest home look and feel much, much warmer. Interior blinds are the perfect way to make the winter sun work for you. When the sunshine hits the window, open the slats to let the heat and light stream in. When the sun is gone, close the blinds to keep the heat in and the cold out.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans: Not just for summer. Once cooler temperatures hit, flip the reverse switch on your ceiling fan so that it moves clockwise. This way, your fan will force the hot air down to the floor. Your heater may therefore work more efficiently because the room will be more evenly heated. Just make sure to use a low fan speed to avoid drafts.

Stop Cold at the Source

You should’ve winterized your home months ago, but the good news is, it’s not too late. You can start by using caulking and weather stripping around your windows and doors to seal off leaks and prevent drafts. Check out my article on the Quicken Loans Zing Blog for more detailed information on winterizing your home. You’ll be amazed at how much warmer your home feels after just a few minutes’ worth of work.

Saving on your heating bill doesn’t mean that you have to open yourself up to the possibility of frostbite. With a few simple changes, and a little bit of action, you can make it through the coldest of winters without letting your gas bill skyrocket.

Christine Bilger is a writer at Quicken Loans and she loves blogging about family, personal finance, and mortgage tips on the Quicken Loans Zing Blog. 

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