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Saving money while freezing…


It’s been a little on the cold side in California.

No seriously. Stop laughing.

It IS cold to us thin skinned folks. The temperatures have been dipping down to the low 40’s at night. Last night it hovered at 60 degrees… inside our living room.

Yes, I could turn on the heater but since we’re trying to stretch our cash, we simply do without. We had two blankets on the bed but I was still chilled. I tried to snuggle with my husband to stay warm but his coughing kept shaking me awake. And no, I will not admit his cough is from the frosty internal temperature – well, not to his face anyway.

Our dogs have a heated floor in their dog house so they stay more toasty warm than we do. Please don’t tell my husband – he may ask to join them.

I added two more blankets last night and slept well. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I dress myself in three sweaters, a pair of sweatpants, and slippers. Sometimes, while putting on my make-up, I catch a glimpse of my Michelin Man appearance in the mirror and start to giggle.

Sometimes the circumstances of life are just funny.

I’m trying to beat my all time record internal house temperature of 56. Based on our new standard of living and the fact that the coldest month is still yet to come… I think I may just have a chance.

I hope you’re staying warm!


  • Reply AprilFire |

    Why not invest in an electric blanket? It’ll help both you sleep, keep you warm and keep the utility bills down cuz you’re not heating an entire room.

    I’m buying mine this weekend!

  • Reply Helio |

    Don’t forget to check that your windows are always closed and without gaps, you can lose a lot of heat there. Also double glass is a must.

  • Reply Claire in CA, USA |

    I’m not laughing. I live in So Cal, too, and the cold is waking me up at night. I’m not nearly as noble as you; the heater is set to 68, but in the morning I punch it up a few degrees to take the chill out of the air.

  • Reply Melanie |

    We leave the house on 60 in the winter; I don’t know if you have any of those “Vellux” blankets, but if not, it might be something to put on your Christmas wish list. One of those and you’re inside a tiny oven. Our kitty, Shelli, spends most of the winter curled up on our laps in the “Vellux Cavern.” I don’t know if they’re expensive…both of ours were gifted, but they’re definitely worth asking for:). Stay warm!!

  • Reply brooklynchick |

    I grew up in a big drafty house that my thrifty dad kept at 58 at night, so I feel your pain. A cheaper alternative to heat is a $15 humidifier from the drugstore. I keep one on in my bedroom all winter – it doesn’t use much electricity and it really warms up a room.

  • Reply debtmaven |

    I fully understand your pain! I have been living in an artist studio in a big old, 100-year old wood factory that has no insulation, and 75% of my living space is unheated. It is in Seattle, which is much farther north than Calif. I’ve gotten used to mid-40 temperatures. It can be really difficult to take!

    The positive part of this is that the only heating source has become walled off into a separate room and we also built a loft in that room for the bed. Heat rises, and the room heats up quickly with a gas heater made to heat a much larger space (before it was walled off that is). So the bedroom is the only warm space in the studio. We heat it during the evenings during the week, and turn it off when we go to sleep. The rest of the time we do without in the kitchen/living room, bathroom.

    It’s super cold and it takes getting used to. I will say that year 2 is often much easier than year 1. Hot water bottles at night also help! Just be careful that you let it cool down from boiling before pressing it against bare skin – you can still get serious burns while sleeping if you don’t (and you won’t even notice it!).

    My annual goal is to wait until November before turning on the heat. I rarely make it. THat last week of October is usually pretty chilly.

    Best of luck! Try the water bottles, that’s my favorite trick.

  • Reply Mar |

    Rice socks, Beks, rice socks. Take a man’s long cotton athletic sock, fill it with 5-6 cups of rice (can be the elcheapo store brand white) and tie a very sturdy knot at the open end. Heat it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on how hot you want it and how powerful your microwave is). Check it at 1.5 minutes the first couple times you do this because you really don’t want the rice to burn – trust me on this. Put it on your lap while sitting at your desk or watching TV then reheat it and put it in your bed under the covers while you are brushing your TV, etc. We’ve used ours for 2 years now and they are GREAT. They won’t help in the morning, but they will when you go to bed.

  • Reply John DeFlumeri Jr |

    Sure am, we live on the West Coast of Central Florida! Did live in New York. No substitute for blankets and flannel shirts when it’s cold. Save that heat.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  • Reply Nicole |

    Get a space heater. I have one in my boys room that cycles off and on. I set it lower but not freezing. The good thing is that it’s easier to get out of your snuggly bed in the morning when it’s not the temperature of the arctic in your room : )

  • Reply Leslie |

    I think this is something many of us are dealing with. I live with roommates in a big, drafty house in Portland, OR. This is our second year here, and last year we could see our breath in the living room (yes, we did end up turning on our heat before the winter ran its course). It’s not nearly as cold this year so far, but with my boyfriend out of the country for the next month, it’s not as easy to just snuggle up in the covers and wait for it to warm up. A hound in the bed really helps that situation, though, when I can make her stay under the covers.

    Right before they left on tour, our roommate bought one of those little $15 heater fans from Target. It’s not quite a space heater, and we’ll still have to see what effect it has on our overall energy bills. It’s really great for just taking that frigid edge off the room once the sun goes down. It’s cool on bottom, with no danger factor that I’m aware of, although I certainly don’t leave it on unattended. It’s surprisingly effective for its size and price, especially if you’re not trying to maintain heat throughout the whole house. I’m curious as to whether anyone has used one of these on a regular basis and whether it saves on energy costs.

  • Reply Abigail |

    Having moved to a warmer climate, I’m finding myself more easily chilled, too. So I won’t do more than a little giggle at the thought of two blankets on a bed for 60 degree weather.

    I will say, though, that a lot of staying warm under the sheets is to, well, warm them up. Sounds obvious, but I mean things like a rice sock that’s been microwaved. Put it at the foot of the bed, under the covers, about 10 minutes before you get in bed. It’ll have heated up things a bit.

    I lived in Anchorage, where getting under the sheets at night was not terribly comfortable at first — at least, not in the winter. My trick was to duck my head under the covers and breathe that way for a minute or so. My breath helped create a warm pocket. Kind of cheesy, but maybe it’ll help.

  • Reply Jenn |

    Get into you PJs, sweatsuit or whatever you sleep in well before bedtime (I get into my fleecies when I get home from work). No point in sitting in warm clothes all evening and then peeling them off to get into cold PJs at bedtime. I crawl into bed with my already warm evening TV watching clothes on. I usually curl up on the couch with a fleece blanket too, so I take that to bed also. Take it right under the covers and pull your sheets and blankets up over it. If you never come in contact with most of the cold parts of your bed you don’t have to start from scratch warming it up.

    We keep our place at about 60, which is warmer than you folks are working with, but outside it’s currently hovering around freezing and will get down to -40 by January. I could tough out a freezing house for a few weeks, but when our winter lasts at least 5 months I surrender to the elements and heat to 60. A complete fleece wardrobe, microwavable slippers (barley filled soles), hot water bottles, down duvets on the beds etc takes care of the rest. Hang in there, it sounds like you cold spell has a limited engagement and should soon pass.

  • Reply Trevorlawrence |

    I’ve lived most of my life in the cold and snow. I much prefer the warm weather. If I could sell my house I would move home to TX in a heartbeat. Anything under 75 is too cold in my opinion. I don’t seem to have a problem with staying cool enough in the hot weather. I have a problem staying warm though. No matter how many clothes I put on I can feel the cold in my bones.

  • Reply Bradley |

    my house was routinely in the 50’s last winter. it wasnt the most pleasant experience, but i needed to save money on natural gas bills as best as i could.

    of course, the trip to belize during the winter helped to sustain me! 😀

  • Reply Jen |

    Growing up my mom kept our thermostats at 62! But we were in MA and had electric heat (ick!). But, I was a kid and I was used to. Now that I’m getting older, my tolerance for cold and heat has decreased. I keep my thermostat set to 65, but pump it up to 69 if I’m feeling cold. But I like it cold when I sleep, and I have a wool blanket and down comforter on my bed.

    One suggestion I’d make is lie on top of your bed and read or watch TV before getting under the covers. That’ll warm up your bed so you won’t spend 30 minutes feeling cold under cold sheets.

    Another thing you could do is to isolate any unused rooms in your house. We only used the dining room and living room growing up, so my parents took thick plastic sheeting and taped those off. It won’t keep you warmer, but it will help keep your heating bill down!

  • Reply Lisa |

    I like a lot of these ideas! I have to admit that I find your cold intolerance funny 😉 I live in the midwest and the temps have been dipping in the 30s at night and we haven’t turned on the heat yet! I suspect that the other apartments are though and we feed off their heat!

    I workout in the wee hours of the morning (out of bed at 5:20am) and I like to stick my workout clothes in the dryer for a minute or two. It warms them up so it’s not such a shock getting out of bed and changing clothes.

  • Reply Edwin |

    I’ve always found the hardest part of a situation like this is having to make the trip from the bed to the closet in the morning, even thinking about it sends chills down my spine.

So, what do you think ?