8 Tips to Save Money and the Planet This Winter
Let’s face it: We all want to save money wherever we can. Rent, utilities, and groceries are expensive, especially when the weather outside is frightful and we just want to be warm and order delivery so we don’t have to go back outside. Despite the temptation to crank the heat and enjoy balmy temps indoors, it’s not always practical for the budget or the environment to do so. But worry not! Our tips will help you achieve warm interiors this winter, to stay comfy and cozy with minimal impact on your bottom line and the planet.
Wrap the windows. This will use a bit of plastic, but the lack of drafty windows means that your apartment stays warmer and doesn’t lose as much heat, so your gas bill will stay lower all season long. Most shrink wrap and plastic wrap is recyclable #4 plastic, so if you do use it on your windows, you can do so without generating landfill waste. If you can’t or don’t want to use a plastic shrink-wrap kit on the windows, use heavy drapes or tack up some throw blankets around the window frames to help insulate. Keep a few windows un-covered so you can enjoy what natural light you can get in the winter months.
Wear layers. The most obvious way to save on the heating bill is to keep the thermostat lower and bundle up in warm layers when you’re at home. Some cozy socks and a sweatshirt or sweater will go a long way toward keeping you comfortable. Keep the heat at 68 during the day, reducing by a few more degrees at night if you’re willing. We recommend a temperature of at least 65 degrees for homes with houseplants; be sure to keep them away from drafts and the heat vents.
Switch your bedding. Use flannel or jersey sheets along with extra blankets to help you keep warm while you sleep.
Humidify strategically. The cold, dry air of winter is a nightmare of dry skin and sinuses. But humid air feels even colder, so it’s important to strike a balance between the moisture and warmth your body needs. Keep humidity loving houseplants in the bathroom for a regular steaming, use moisturizing lotions and oils for your skin, and run a humidifier at night in bedrooms to ease breathing. Plants also add humidity to the air, so adding a few more plants can help brighten a room and add natural humidity!
Meal plan. Even your meal prep routine can affect your energy bills in the winter. If you’re planning on using the oven, try to cook a few things at a time to be more efficient with your energy use. It’ll also help to add heat to your home without cranking up the thermostat. This is also a perfect excuse to bake cookies!
Shop in-season and buy in bulk. Fall and winter are the ideal time for soups and other warm foods, and you can save a fair bit of money by sticking with seasonal produce (apples, squash, root veggies, cranberries, cauliflower) and buying grains and legumes in bulk for filling and hearty soups, stir-fries, and casseroles. Avoid cooler foods like salads and smoothies, since they’ll make you feel colder.
Switch to tea. Hydration is important and crucial for your body, but drinking cold water all day will have you hiding under cover of blankets and reaching for the thermostat. Swap out a portion of your regular water intake for herbal teas that will hydrate and warm you at the same time. You can also switch to room temperature water or warm water with lemon.
Shop thrifty. If you’re in need of supplies for your low-impact winter plans, hit up the local thrift store before buying new or ordering online. You can find rugs, blankets, quilts, and probably some flannel footie pajamas if you know where to look, and buying second-hand will save money and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping.
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