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It’s officially the start of winter this week! The season of hot chocolate, woolly jumpers and scarves, wearing ugg boots all day and nights snuggled on the couch. However it can also mean the start of high energy bills due to heating costs. Running a heater can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bill, and increasing energy costs are an extra pressure on many Australian households that are already struggling to make ends meet. Here are my top tips on how to save money in winter while keeping toasty warm.
The first step in how to save money in winter is a bit of a no-brainer, but layer up your clothing before turning on the heater. Layering up your clothing helps to trap in your body heat more efficiently. Invest in a good-quality thermal top or two for those really chilly days. Plus it’s winter, you don’t really need to be walking around in the house wearing a summer dress or boardies with the heating turned up high!
Flannelette and blankets are your best friend
Once you’ve layered up with your clothing, layer up your bed. Flannette sheets, a blanket or two, topped with a doona or quilt will ensure you stay toasty warm while you sleep. Hot water bottles and heat packs are a quick way to heat your bed, or if using an electric blanket, simply use it to heat up the bed for when you first hop in, before turning it off for the night.
Keep smaller blankets and throws on the couch to snuggle under while watching TV or reading. Heated throw blankets are great for really cold climates, just remember to turn it off when you are finished using them.
Warm up from the inside
Hot drinks and nourishing, filling meals are a great way to warm yourself from the inside out. Think hot chocolate and tea, and comforting winter meals like soups, casseroles and curries that will fill up the whole family.
Exercise is a great way to warm yourself up. It can be anything from going for a run or to the gym, walking to the shops instead of taking the car (saving on car costs too!), or even doing the housework (with the bonus of a clean house!).
Let the sunshine in
Once the sun is up in the morning, open up the curtains or blinds to let in the warmth of the sun’s rays. Once the sun has moved away, cover up the windows again to keep the house warm.
Be energy efficient
If you do need to turn the heater on, opt for a setting between 18 and 20 degrees, rather than a toasty 25 degrees. Every degree that you reduce the temperature by can save up to 10% on your energy bill. Once you’ve heated the house, make sure you keep the heat you’ve paid for inside – close doors into unused rooms, block up drafts with door stoppers and snakes, and cover windows with block out curtains. Turn off the heater when you go to bed, and also when you leave the house.
It can also be tempting to take a long, hot shower to warm up, but this will increase your hot water bill as well. Keep showers short, and install a water-efficient shower head to save on hot water costs.
Use the clothes dryer for emergencies only, opting for the clothes line or an indoor clothes airer to further reduce energy costs. If you need to use the dryer, add a dry towel or wool dryer ball to speed up the drying process.
If you are considering longer-term solutions or renovating, installing insulation, an energy efficient heater or solar system, or double-glazing windows will also help with reducing your energy costs over the winter months.
Compare energy providers
My final tip for how to save money in winter, is taking the time to check that your household is on the best energy plan for its needs. You can compare all the retailer plans available on the Energy Made Easy site.
Keeping warm in winter doesn’t need to result in bill shock! By making a few changes, being mindful with your energy usage and checking you are on the right plan, you can stay comfortable and warm while saving money this winter.