Winter makes saving money and keeping to your financial plan a little more difficult! All around the country temperature gauges are plummeting about as fast as the electricity meters are lighting up. If you, like many South Africans, have an electricity box that you recharge, you’ll be acutely aware of how much faster the usage light starts to flash during the icy winter days ahead. If you’re billed after the month, you’re probably anticipating a hefty utility bill!

But staying warm in Winter doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. There are many economical ways to keep your house, and your family, warm through the cold days and nights of June through September. Here are some super options to try out!

Let in some light.

Open blinds on sun-facing windows during the day to let in the sun. If you leave home early in the morning, make sure you open these curtains, but keep the windows closed, and you’ll have a considerably warmer house to come home to. As soon as the sun dips and the temperature follows suit, be sure to close up the windows again as they then act as extra internal insulation. Check to see if you have any windows that are blocked by over grown trees or bushes, you can cut these back to let even more light in.

Use rugs on bare floors.

If you have tiled or wooden floors you’ll notice the cold even more than those who enjoy a carpeted home. An area rug or a couple of thick throws do a fine job of keeping the floors a little warmer (and your feet!) in winter.

Block drafts.

This is best done with weather-stripping or other forms of insulation, but even a rolled blanket in front of a door can help as a temporary solution on the super cold nights. By laying a blanket in front of the door, you can significantly reduce cold air being sucked in an cooling down your room.

Use wall heaters.

This is the single best way to save money on heating. A portable radiator-type oil heater uses a lot of power, but not nearly as much as a bar heater. The panel or wall heaters take a while to heat up and are not always very hot to the touch, but you can leave them on 24/7 and they use considerably less energy than any other electrical heater currently available.

Bundle up.

Now is the time to break out your warm, winter wardrobe! Long underwear, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves and slippers! When you’re at home, get cozy. Buy some fleece blankets from your local Mr Price and cover your couches and beds. Wrap up whilst watching TV, working in your study or eating.

Use an electric blanket.

There’s no need to heat the entire house when you’re asleep. There’s no need to even heat the bedroom. An electric blanket is cheaper and cozier. (A blanket with dual-controls is best.)

Close unused rooms.

Do not heat them. Close bathroom doors and spare rooms when they’re not in use and stop the warm air from being diluted. In this same vein, try to spend more time in the warmer rooms of the house and you’ll find yourself less inclined to turn on a heater.
Even if you find yourself going over budget this winter, allow yourself some leniency as your energy bill will certainly be 50%, or more, higher than the warmer months.
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