There’s one really rotten thing about living in cold weather climates when you’re on a budget: increased utility bills.
Because living a frugal kind of a lifestyle is something I’ve simply had to do for all of my life, any increased expense really bugs me. I hate the soaring prices of food and gasoline. To save money on my electric bill, I don’t run the air conditioning in the summer unless it is a miserably hot day (we’re talking temperatures in the 90s).
So when I was single and living on my own, winter heating bills drove me bonkers – especially because I couldn’t afford to shell out hundreds of dollars a month just to keep warm. I quickly learned that my love for heat just wouldn’t be realized in the winter – unless I cranked up the heater in my car, or happened to visit a toasty, warm place.
At the time, I lived in one of my favorite homes ever – it was one-fourth of a huge Victorian house built in the 1800s. The apartment had so much character – from a claw-foot bathtub to high ceilings and tall, tall windows.
While every room oozed charm – since the rent was so cheap, it was very shabby chic – it also oozed heat out of every tall, tall original-to-the-home window. There was no insulation. The four rooms were freezing in the Ohio winter.
So, I did what any person should do – I winterized my apartment. Like crazy. Here’s what I did:
- I applied plastic to the inside of every window. All outside doors also had windows above the doors, and I covered them in plastic, too. On windy nights I remember hearing the breeze blow the plastic window coverings.
- My dad applied weatherstripping to the outside doorways. It helped block some of the air. I used stuffed “draft dodgers” on the inside of the doorways, too.
- My crafty mom made huge, heavy window coverings for each window out of quilts. We found the quilts at a discount store, she cut them and sewed them to fit – all five windows. I remember she even made matching throw pillows. (I love how thoughtful she is!)
- I hunkered down. Determined to keep my thermostat set low, I bought a cozy fleece pullover and I wore two or three layers of clothing every night, along with two pairs of socks. For bed, I used flannel sheets, two or three thick blankets, flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks.
Many years later when Prince Charming and I were married and owned our first home, we dealt with 50-year-old windows – the metal sliding kind. Anytime there was a hint of frost in the air, the condensation on the window frames would turn to ice. In that home:
- Prince Charming added quite a lot of blow-in insulation to our attic.
- We applied weatherstripping to the outside doorways – and stuck stuffed “draft dodgers” on the inside of the doorway.
- We applied plastic sheeting to all of the windows.
- Prince Charming installed a programmable thermostat and we kept temperatures low while we were both at work, at church, and asleep at night.
How have you winterized your home in the past?