About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....
 

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November 18, 2022

I just posted yesterday the regular blog post but I want to add this extra post today to ask you all for your help with ideas for staying warm in winter. So if you have not read yesterdays post it is called, Learning about the past and.... 

I have several posts that I have written talking about  what people did long ago to stay warm, such as soapstones and bed warmers and such as that.  Charles and I turn on a electric blanket and get the bed warm when it is really cold and then turn it off and we normally stay warm all night. Our fur babies sleep in the bottom of our closet that has a rug and warm doggie beds and piles of blankets.  Our cockatiel Belle has a small heater that hooks to her cage we bought off of Amazon and we cover her cage.  This way we do not have to turn on the heat at night. Long ago people did not heat their homes at night.

I Know some of you reading this have just come out of winter so what did you do this winter to stay warm without it raising the bill?

Many people right now are in a crisis situation with affording electric heat or even having access to fuel for heat.  We are hearing to expect electric and fuel bills to soar this winter.  It has already been cold here and today is November 18, winter does not start until December 21 2022 - March 20 2023. 

So I am asking you to share what you do in the comment section.  I will not be able to comment back to all of the comments but will have read them before they were posted to the comment section. 

So what do you do to save money to stay warm in the winter.  Do you cover your windows, wear sweaters and coats in the house?  Heat one room?  Many people are interested to know.  Do not be timid to comment, you could be helping someone to afford to stay in their home.  It does not matter when you are reading this, what month or year, your comment is still welcome and Thank You. 

What do you set your thermostat at?

What do you use for heating?  Electricity, Fuel, Wood or other?

We are talking only affordable ways to stay warm .  

If you put where you live it would give us all and idea of your climate but you do not have to do this.  We live in Southeast Alabama, USA. It was 31 degrees this morning, that is -0.56 celsius.

Here is the article about soapstone.  https://gdonna.com/living-like-the-past/soapstone/

I welcome your comments, please translate your comment to English before posting.  Thank You. 

***Note  I started off replying to the comments in this post but I have decided that it would be better for me to not reply to comments because I want this blog post to be about your stories about what you do in your home and your ideas to help keep costs down with keeping your home warm in the winter.  I look forward to all of your comments and I am sure others do too. 

Even those of you that just left winter and are going into summer, please tell us what you did to help keep heating costs low.

Grandma Donna 

 

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Comments (44)

Kieva Adair

November 27, 2022 8:15 PM
We heat with wood but recently my husband got a job that takes away the time he had to get in the mountain and collect wood so we have to be careful with the wood we use. Since I am now pregnant, I can't help as much with wood collection. We use plastic to seal our windows and energy efficient curtains. We have one window that broke but we can't quite afford to fix it (hopefully in a couple months) so we cut some Styrofoam insulation to fit into the window up against the glass, then sealed the window with plastic, and then put the energy efficient blinds over it. That room stays comfortable now even below freezing. We have a large room downstairs that we don't use much so we put energy efficient curtains on a rod over the doorway and we block off that room (we don't have a door to the room). We have plenty of blankets and wear sweaters and socks to bed sometimes. I sometimes take a basin of warm water to soak my feet in if they get too cold and then I will bundle them up in one or two pairs of socks. If the day isn't too cold but I need to get the chill out of the house, I will take a tote outside and clean the yard of twigs and smaller branches. We wil burn those to save the good wood for night or colder days. We do have a space heater to help us heat but we dare not get another one due to electric costs. I have read that there are bed tents you can get and I wouldn't mind getting a couple to conserve body heat in the night. I would really love a canopy bed though! As it is, my room is right above the wood stove so the new baby will be staying here with us and it will be nice and toasty next winter. Oh and sometimes I will soak in a warm bath if I am chilled to the bone...especially right before bed so I can have my bones warmed before bundling up for the night if we are short on wood. On particularly cold nights I skip hair washing even if it's needed because I refuse to be even colder for the night. Hopefully, once my husband's work settles down a bit, we can collect a lot more wood and not have to be so careful. Also, I hope this summer coming up is not as busy as it was last summer so we can have way more wood stocked for next winter. Shoot, what am I thinking?? I'll have a newborn in July right before canning season! Oh well, we'll figure it out ????

Becky Sue

November 26, 2022 11:58 PM
I've really enjoyed this post! I live in southern Missouri and it has been much colder here than usual this year. We have already had snow three times and usually we only get snow 5 or 6 times in the whole winter. My furnace hasn't been working for a couple of years so I am heating with my wood stove. If at all possible though I try not to build a fire during the day to save wood. I usually build a fire about 5 or 6 p.m. On days when it is very cold I often do some canning. It helps heat up the kitchen and dining room. (I am trying to get all my dried beans canned up.) The wood stove is nice for cooking and heating water too. At night I use an Eden Pure heater in my room to stay warm as I don't want to have to tend the fire at night. It has 13 heat settings but I only keep it at 3 or 4 all night. I have plenty of blankets on my bed too. I wear cotton pants under my skirts or dresses. (I don't just wear pants ever.) I also wear a fleece hoodie in the house. A few years ago I added storm doors on both the front and back door and that helped a LOT! I also put plastic on the windows in the winter, but not just any plastic. I use heavy duty 12 gauge clear shower curtains. They are the best, super thick. This is what they are called on eBay: AmazerBath 12 Gauge Heavy Duty Crystal Clear Thick Shower Curtain Liner. I also have a triple flap doggie door and that cuts down on the cold coming in. I have deep window sills so I also put something else in the window between the glass and the plastic. They are styrofoam containers that grapes come in. I saw them at our local store. They don't sell them. For the most part they will just give them to you. Anyhow, one of these almost exactly fits my windows. I put a thick pillow in each one, tape up any openings and then cover the whole thing in Contac paper. I stack them two high in the window and there is enough space at the top to let light in. I wish there was a way to post a picture to show you. They really help to block the cold, wind, and noise. Also on the windows in my bedroom I use EZ Blackout shades. The shades have velcro all around the window and that further helps to block everything. In between my kitchen and laundry room I hang a heavy clear shower curtain to block the cold. Years ago I used to save cherry pits all summer and made cherry stone bed warmers. I would heat the in my wood cookstove oven and warm the bed with them. I also used to always wear union suits. I have some wool blend union suits but I actually get too hot in them. The thinner cotton ones work nice though.

Linda

November 26, 2022 2:38 AM
HI Grandma Donna,
We have a fireplace which we use early Spring/Winter and Autumn. It heats the living room/kitchen area and we have vents built into the wall, which we open to let warm air down to the bedrooms. We also have a large heat pump which we turn on just to take the chill off the living room before the fire is lit. We have a small oil heater which is on a thermostat and when it is very cold in Winter we turn that on very low. It stays on all night and doesn't affect the power bill that much. So we don't heat the whole house, just the rooms we are in, although when our big fireplace (Yunca) is cranking it gets very hot and the whole house is warm. I also dry my washing inside on clothes horses, so it is doing two jobs. Blessings ~ Linda

Andrea

November 25, 2022 8:39 PM
We live in central rural Virginia. We keep our electric heat pump set at 67 for heat and rarely turn on the air conditioning. That's really only turned on in August when it's very muggy, but most nights the air conditioning is still turned off and the windows are left open with fans on. We sleep in winter dressed warm and we use the Vermont Soap Stones that GDonna recommended a long time ago. We do have a propane fireplace, but we have never used it as it needs to be repaired and probably an entire new unit. In January of 2022 we had a massive ice storm come here and hit our county the hardest a storm has ever been here especially for winter time. We had no electricity for 56 hours and it was too dangerous with the trees/branches falling down constantly to be outside and try to light a fire for warmth. The inside temperature of our home was in the low 40's and when it gets that cold inside your just trying to survive and keep warm. My husband who was stuck at our shop in another county came home several days later as the roads had to be cleared and was able to bring his chainsaw and a stove to cook on as they were both not at the house. Having never experienced that kind of cold inside a home is completely different and I can say that anything since then of trying to keep warm has been easier as we now keep our home a little warmer in case that happens again it might save us and be a little warmer. We were able to wrap the soap stones in foil and place them on some hot pieces of firewood and went to sleep under our sleeping bags using them. I can't say enough good things about that product. It always helps to sleep with socks and warm clothing. We invested in some good thermals to wear under our clothes and that really keeps you warm. Since that experience we have since come up with things to save money for in case that does happen again.

Karen

November 24, 2022 12:44 PM
New Zealand. We're just coming out of a very cold and wet Spring. To stay warm we shut off rooms to divide our home into parts for Winter and parts we can use the rest of the year. We only have an enclosed Woodburner and and open fire in another room. We hardly use the open fire but on that particular room we can at least shut the door to keep the heat in. Where the enclosed burner is it is open plan. We use draft stoppers on doors. We have louver windows that are drafty in the kitchen so on the outside we will screw a piece of clear perspex on and remove it in Summer. In bed I have hot water bottles, wear socks and now a beanie as my hair/head gets very cold. The women who wore those mop hats to bed sure knew something hahaha. Buy thicker tight or thermal leggings. Merino wool items are lightweight and have reduced in price over the years. Layer your clothing, even nightwear, like they did years ago.

Elaine

November 24, 2022 11:02 AM
So interesting to read everyone’s comments, I live in rural Suffolk in the east of England where winter temperatures range from 8 degrees to below zero. Our house is an Edwardian cottage from around 1910, with double glazed sash windows and oil CH. The energy prices have sky rocketed in the last few months and although the government have given each household a minimum of £400 to help with these there has been no extra help for those of us who use oil as our main heating fuel. I try to fill up our tank in the summer when it’s usually cheaper and hope that will last us through. The thermostat sits at 20 degrees and the heating is on a couple of hours a day, more if the weather turns really cold.
We have sheets & blankets rather than a duvet, brushed cotton ones as they are warmer plus hot water bottles if needed. Our little dog has her own bed & blankets with high sides to keep her out of any drafts.
I switch my oven on 3 times a week to bake bread and tend to batch cook then to make the most of the heat, otherwise it’s either stove top or the slow cooker with soups & stews top of the list. The oven door is left open after cooking so the heat goes into the kitchen.
We layer up our clothes with cotton bases, topped with wool sweaters, cords or jeans, thick soaks and we both wear slippers in the house.
We use door curtains on both the front and back door, all the window curtains have thermal linings pinned to them in the winter.
Most of these things I learnt from my parents and growing up in a house whose only heating was a parkray in the main living room.

Julie

November 24, 2022 8:34 AM
I very much enjoyed reading the comments and finding so many like minded people and picking up a few more tips to try. I have enjoyed your blog for years now Grandma Donna, thank you. I live in Wisconsin and in winter we have snow and temperatures can go below zero. I have added insulation to my attic and put in better insulated windows. I try to do something to improve the house every year. New doors were put in this year after I discovered a crack with light coming through in one of them. I try to keep the heater temperature at 60F, though for the holiday it is set at 62F today. I use a woodstove also that can bring the temperatures up about 5 more degrees. I unplug most electrical appliances in the house when not in use. And this year I am trying to cook on the woodstove more or use the crockpot slowcooker, thermal cooker, or the toaster oven instead of the stove/oven or bake multiple things in the oven when its used. And I do many of the same things already mentioned. I also enjoy gardening and canning/dehydrating.

Patty Mc

November 23, 2022 8:33 PM
So nice to find your blog. We are 70 and 79 years old and married 50 years. Forty seven years ago we bought 2 1/2 acres and a new mobile home. We installed air con in 2013 and replaced our heater. We are on propane so heating is super expensive. We do live in So. Ca. but, in winter, it can be in the high 20s at night. Cold for an old, not well insulated, mobile. We planted eyculyptus trees years ago. For many years we've cut and harvested wood from those trees and burn it in our wood stove. It's harder and messier than it sounds but thankfully we are in good health and continue. Our entire lifestyle is such we grow our fruit and vegatables, have chickens, and work hard. It doesn't seem like work when we've done it most of our lives. At this stage of our lives we take it a day at a time and do what we can. Not as much as we did 20 years ago but still enough to feed us and heat our home. We truely love our lifestyle.

Kim

November 23, 2022 12:19 PM
My thermostat is set to 66 degrees. I am in East Texas so heating is electric. We had the snowstorm a couple of years ago and learned a lot from it. I have stocked up on blankets, have made more scarves etc to bundle up. I also have a hot water bottle to help. I try to save electricity by cooking big batches at once in my crock pot and freezing for easy dinners on work nights etc.

Kathy T

November 23, 2022 10:21 AM
I'm in SE Texas, and aside from the occasional ice storm, our cold fronts are usually not that bad. I keep the heat at 68 and just put on extra stuff like sweaters, flannel shirts and socks. We also have a fireplace that doesn't putt out too much heat, but makes you feel warmer just looking at it lol. When I bake, I open the oven door after I'm done, and the little bit of heat makes the kitchen warmer. I have an open floor plan house and I do not like not being able to close off the spaces other than bedrooms. We do what we can. At the very minimum, I have a roof over my head and I am grateful.

Nes

November 23, 2022 1:12 AM
All interesting comments, and thank you for this post gdonna. I Just want to mention one thing specifically.... While watching the temperature is one thing , humidity is another. So don't forget to ventilate. Mold in your house is very costly to remove and very unhealthy. Oh, and I'm from Holland, during the day I keep the temperature around 16,5 Celsius (61F) and in the evening around 18 Celsius (65F), Just because I love my family. I know during the day thats pretty cold for today's standards, but do not feel sorry for me, I really do wel with this temperature, feels really warm to me. It is the summerheat in which I do not cope well ...

Griffin

November 22, 2022 8:02 PM
These comments are all really interesting!
I don't live in a cold climate (most nights usually only get down to 35-42F), but I do live in a Victorian, so we need some heating. We have a gas furnace, an electric furnace (both from the 80s I believe), and a fireplace. We leave the heaters at 80F for an hour in the morning, and an hour before we go to bed, which keeps the heat retained in the house. I get cold very easily though, so I wear layers as well. The fireplace isn't as effective as the furnaces, but it does make the room it's in warm. For the upstairs beds that don't get hit by the heat, I'll double up on quilts.
When it's really cold, but we're trying to save money, we'll sit on our socks/slippers for a few minutes in the morning before putting them on. Simple but effective!

Lisa from Indiana

November 22, 2022 4:55 PM
I live in northeast Indiana. Last week it was down to 13 F at night. We keep our thermostat set at 64 F for day and 60 F for night. We have a small electric heating to sit beside us in the evenings. Mostly, we just wear LOTS of layers and stay moving as much as possible to keep metabolisms up.

karen

November 22, 2022 8:52 AM
We live in SE Va and our temperatures have already dropped to 28F at night. We have a house too big for us so we close off the upstairs until it is needed. We still keep the heat on up there but I think it is set to 55F. Downstairs we keep the house at 63F during the day and about 60F at night. We have doors or pocket doors on every room downstairs so it's easy to close off rooms if needed. At night, I have a collection of 100% wool blankets that are put on the bed. The thickest one is under my bottom sheet and the rest are above. I have always collected the nicer ones at thrift stores throughout the years and recently was able to give enough to my daughter for her family for the winter. I am a huge believer in wool, it retains heat, wicks away moisture, it doesn't slide around during sleep, and doesn't require electricity. On the windows, I have heavy insulated curtains. In the office where my husband spends his morning, I hung a rod in the doorway and put some of the same ceiling to floor curtains along with a small space heater. That made a huge difference in our thermostat usage because up until I did that he was always trying to warm up that area by turning up the whole house thermostat. I have multiple baskets of warm throws in each of the sitting areas so if your cold in the evening it is easy to snuggle up with a warm throw. As far as what we wear, it is layering. Fleece, wool cardigans, but multiple layers. If we need it, such as no power, I have multiple hot water bottles we could add to our bedtime routine to help with warmth. We have a natural gas stove but haven't turned it on yet this year. I have lots of extra beanies, scarfs, gloves, hot hands in case of emergencies. For Christmas, all my children/grandchildren are getting alpaca beanies, gloves, socks and gloves. There is nothing warmer and softer.This has been a great post hearing about the ways so many stay warm!


.

Kimberly

November 21, 2022 9:39 PM
Hi again from North Dakota! As I'm writing this it is 9:30pm central time and it is a cool 22 degrees with a feels like 10 degree fahrenheit.
We have a propane furnace that also needs electricity to run, it's not to terrible but I do wish for a wood stove. I try to cover the windows with the window plastic, that really helps on the windy days. I also invested in heavy lined curtains, that helps keep it cool in the summer also! We definitely dress in layers and have slippers for the whole family in the winter. I'm lucky to have two large south facing windows so first thing in the morning I open those and let the sun warm it up. Once it gets to the -20's and lower I will close off rooms either by closing the door or hanging a blanket and we just stay in those rooms, easier to heat one or two rooms rather then six.
I can't think of anything else off the top of my head, stay warm everyone!

Felicity

November 21, 2022 8:05 PM
Hello GD

Delighted to share how we keep warm in the Winter as economically as possible.
We live in the South Island of Aotearoa ( New Zealand) -inland from the coast and reasonably near some quite high mountains. They are about 7000’ or so and about 55 miles away from us) We are sheltered here on the rural high edge of a village community and our property backs into a native forest.
It can get quite cold in Winter with frosts in the mornings and ice on the roads- but a frosty morning usually means sun is coming and we have a cold, but sunny day afterwards. The Winter days that are really chilly are the grey, overcast ones where no sun even peeps through.
So on average Winter temps here could be 10 or 11 C (around 50 F) and we could go down to -1 or -2 C overnight (30F or so).
We have a large central woodburner we use to heat our house – which is small and compact so that is great. We light it first thing in the morning- as it dies down over night to maintain good air quality in the environment ( we have quite strict regulations for home heating now –fireplaces are largely not allowed to be used any more and only low emission woodburners instead which cannot be kept going all night ) We keep our big burner going all day. We love it.
We don’t have electric or diesel or any other sort of central heating –not a lot of homes in our country have that - although in the south it could be sensible)
We buy in dry pine at least a truckload for the Winter and we buy it early (now) to stack and store. We have a lot of our own trees around also providing some wood so we are lucky. We live on about an acre of garden. My husband is great at keeping the wood chopped and stacked ready and he enjoys it. He is a big fan of Lars Mytting’s Norwegian Wood. That is worth a read if you enjoy trees and woodchopping.
Our house- which was built around about 1990- is only single glazed and rather than spend a lot of money changing that to double we have bought ‘honeycomb’ blinds which fit the windows snugly and are double layered. ( https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/how-to/113276534/consumer-nz-says-these-blinds-are-the-best-for-keeping-your-home-warm) We have found them very good indeed. In addition, we have floor length lined curtains over the top and the lining of these is thermal and thick. Having curtains to the floor traps heat in and cold out well and sealing over the window at the top is also recommended –like with a pelmet –old fashioned but wonderful. We will do this for next Winter.
We also draw these early –as the first of the daylight goes really.
We have heated towel rails –electric- which keep bathrooms warm enough for us and actually warm around into other rooms a little too so we tend to leave them on over Winter.
Otherwise the only other heating we have is a wall mounted panel heater which has a fan in it in the downstairs back area of our house. Switching it on briefly helps on a very cold evening and then a low setting overnight is occasionally necessary.
We are well used to dressing for Wintertime. We both wear layers of clothing –and we don’t expect not to. We wear light merino singlets and one or two sweaters over these. Not all through Winter but often. We wear warm coats or jackets to walk outdoors and a knitted beanie and a scarf and gloves if we are going far. We both like to wear polo or 'turtle' neck sweaters. (did you see the Governor of Japan is currently advising her people to wear 'turtle' necks to help in the cold Winter and because the cost of living is so high). Keeping your neck warm helps your whole body stay warm.
We do walk in the Winter too –stirring the body temperature up is a good idea.
We change our bedding at Winter as you do there –flannelette sheets and pillowcases go on. We change our duvet (quilt) to a woolen one –lightweight but really warm.
Our cat often snuggles up to us on the bed at night –but more often stays downstairs near the last of the warmth from the burner (sharing his fur on the couch for me to brush off in the morning! Every morning!)
We might wear bedsocks if we feel the need but mostly we do not.
We eat well in Winter –soups and stews and hot puddings. Keeping our insides warm is a good idea we find.
In Winter –and we, like you enjoy living simply and very much as we grew up living -we knit and read by the fire, talk and plan. Sometimes we might listen to something but sometimes we think there is just enough going on right in our heads without more noise!
We keep our power bill as low as we can and heating with the burner certainly helps. We turn off lights where we don’t need them and stay in one room in the evening. We use the oven sparingly. We shut outside doors as we go in and out during the day.
To a large extent, we focus on keeping all our costs as low as we can so that we can be sure to stay well and warm in Winter. We use our vehicle as little as possible. We grow our own veges as much as we can and we buy locally. We eat simply –veges and a little meat or fish –very like your meals, GD.
We mend our clothes rather than buy new and think we each have plenty to last the remaining years of our lives. We rarely go ‘on holiday’ We just love being at home and enjoying each other’s company and that of our surroundings.

Judy

November 21, 2022 4:29 PM
We live in Georgia. It was very cold here the last couple of days. Woke up yesterday to 29 degrees. Too cold for me. We keep the house at around 76 if we're still cold I turn on the space heaters. I just can't stand being cold plus our cats and little crocker spaniel don't care much for the cold either. I even have a heater for my chickens and once it gets down to 40 it comes on. I was raised in Florida so I guess that's why I don't like the cold .

Tammy

November 20, 2022 1:02 PM
This is a very interesting post and I am enjoying the comments too. I especially love the way you look after your pets as i don't think everyone appreciates that animals feel cold as well. I always bank the fire up when i go to bed for the fur babies and have put a space blanket under their beds as insulation. I live in the south of England so, usually, warmer,or should I say less cold, than the rest of the country. I haven't turned on our gas central heating yet as we have a wood burner that has a flat top and can heat a kettle or pan of soup. I have baked potatoes on top wrapped in foil but will be experimenting with cooking on it this winter to safe energy bills. If you have some ideas on how to do this I would greatly appreciate it. I pick up a lot of sticks and twigs on my dog walks in the summer to help stretch the wood we buy which are rings that we split ourselves ( that warms you up!) Kindlng is made from palletts. I also have draught excluders at the doors, thick curtains as well.

Barb McGovern

November 19, 2022 10:57 PM
Hello Grandma Donna
Thank you for all your wonderful posts. I look forward to them each week.
I live in country Queensland in Australia so we are currently in the late spring/early summer phase of the year. I have been thinking about next winter though, and one thing I would like to try is to hang a quilt inside the window frame of our large glass sliding doors to help keep the heat in. We have blinds on all our windows but not our glass doors. I wish you a healthy and safe winter. Love to the doggies and Charles.

Tammy

November 19, 2022 5:50 PM
I live in VA and tomorrow's high will be a very wintry feeling 36 degrees. Brrrrrr-cold. I'm now wearing my "winter uniform" of sweatpants, a thermal top or sweatshirt, t-shirt underneath, wool socks, and fuzzy slippers. Sometimes if I'm really cold I'll add a fleece hoodie. The heat doesn't usually get turned on until around the beginning of December, then I keep the thermostat set on 65 during the day, turning it down to 60 at night. We sleep on flannel sheets topped with these amazing microfiber down alternative blankets I bought about ten years ago. They really keep you toasty warm. During the day I also keep all the doors to other rooms shut, so it stays warmer in the living room and kitchen where I spend most of my time. I also have thermal backed curtains that I usually keep closed during the day to keep out some of the cold coming in by the patio door and windows. At night when we're watching TV, dh and I both have warm blankets to throw over us to help keep us warm and when we had to replace our furniture a couple of years ago, we both got recliners with heat warmers. Hoping everyone stays warm! Love your blog, Grandma Donna.

matty

November 19, 2022 5:33 PM
We are in the nw corner of NC in the mountains and live in a 1917 chestnut house. When I bought it, there were only three windows, the porch was gone, no electric or water service... and no heat. I bought it in August 1992 and moved in on Thanksgiving day 1992 without whole house heat. There were two kerosene heaters, one in the dining room and one in the living room. It is now 30 years later and, while I now use a wood stove boiler (only 10 years old), I still work to keep my big old house warm. I've paid for the work as I've gone, so this has taken all 30 years to accomplish. Slow and steady wins the race!
These are the things I've done / do:
1) Put down rugs all over the downstairs since there isn't a subfloor under my hardwood; there is batt insulation under the house that is held in place with wire hangers to reduce drafts through the floor. I've had underpinning around the house done from rocks I picked up all over the farm. The rugs have come from estate sales and thrift stores. I splurge on the padding as that adds to the insulation at a very reasonable price!
2) Rake all my leaves against the underpinning; this was done in the 'old days' and it works just as well now as then. Plus, my flowers love it! Cut pine boughs work equally well. They add a thermal layer to the exterior walls / foundation.
3) Replaced windows and doors with energy efficient ones as I could afford it. Sometimes it was just one window a year, but it did make a difference. I used old quilts as curtains (they are so pretty!) and close my blinds when dark falls. I still hang quilts over my exterior doors! Who doesn't love to see a beautiful thrift store tulip quilt in the throes of a cold winter!?
4) There is no heat upstairs because heat rises. The downstairs is a balmy 64-degrees. I have gas logs in the living room and they can warm up a lot of the downstairs when I use my door corner fans to move the air out of the room. Ceiling fans push the heat from the ceilings, too (my ceilings are 11-feet, so there's a lot of heat up there!).
5) I bake once a week. I make all our bread and cook all our meats and veggies on Monday. We reheat the rest of the week. A crockpot will reheat food and bread well, too!
6) I invested in a solar oven that will cook food as long as the sun shines. They can be made from a box as well. I've boiled eggs, made bread, and roasted meat in mine -- all for free!
7) Wear layers. I wear summer tops under my winter clothes or, sometimes on top for a stylish layered look! LOL Slippers and fleece long johns are my best friends. And wool socks!
8) Adjust your outlook! Remember, hunger is just fasting (see how that flipped your thoughts?), so cold is just 'fresh', to quote a friend of mine! Your immune system will thank you and you will find you have more energy and, hopefully, have less illness (another money saver!).
I heat my built of recycled materials greenhouse and chicken coop with an energy efficient red heat lamp. Today the outside temp was 32 and my greenhouse was 56. I have laid a floor of pavers in both to help insulate from the ground and to absorb heat. I use bubble wrap to collect heat as well in the greenhouse. I just read, too, that a can of shortening with four candles and a terracotta pot over it will heat a large room for several months! I'm thinking of trying that in the greenhouse.... If you try it, I hope you'll share the info.

Laura

November 19, 2022 2:45 PM
Hello Grandma Donna.
I live in rural Northwest Tennessee. It was 19 here this morning and will be 17 tonight. We heat our 900 sq foot home with propane. We set our temp at 64 during the day and 63 at night and wear layers. We find that small moving blankets ( when temps are below 20) covering our north facing windows really help keep cold drafts out and warm air in. Plus we turn off vents and close doors in rooms we don’t use.

Marie

November 19, 2022 1:21 PM
I live in the Midwest in the suburbs outside of a large city. It gets very cold here. If you don’t keep the heat on all the time, your pipes would freeze. I live in a small, one bedroom apartment. I have a regular, forced air furnace powered by natural gas. I keep the temp set at 61. I cannot stand being hot, plus hot flashes, so this helps.

I have a pile of blankets on my bed so I can flip them back or on me, as I get hot or cold. I use jersey fabric sheets as they are more comfortable. I have a hot water bottle I take to bed when it is very cold. I drink lot of hot tea and often have soup for my evening meal. I will often take a quick hot shower before bed. When it’s very cold, I’ll dress in layers at home. I wear socks under Crocs (cement slab under carpet). I spend a lot of time in the evenings reading in bed. It’s just me, no husband or kids, so I keep it as cold as I like inside. I usually go well into November before turning the heat on. It’s a game I play each year.

Margaret

November 19, 2022 10:50 AM
I live in the midwest. Today it's 23? which is 10- 20 degrees colder than our usual November. This is typically January weather.

I wear a long wool sweater all day when I'm home. This with whatever I'm wearing (long sleeves, sweater, pants or skirt) usually keeps me warm. I bought it a couple years ago at Lands' End and it has become one of my favorite things! If I'm cooking I usually have to take it off as I get too hot!

Years ago I bought us a bunch of those metal water bottles for hiking and biking. Now I carefully fill one with hot water from the tap and wrap it in a hand towel for a very warm water bottle! I did make a fleece sleeve for my daughter. I guess I need to make one for me!

I have to admit I don't keep the temp as low as some of you in the winter. If it gets too cold I can't function well. I try to find a balance. But I do make up for that in the summer! I don't run the AC unless I have to (usually when my adult kids come over and say it's too hot mom!) My husband likes to run the AC (we have 2 wall units) which I turn off when he's not home. I do run fans. I like the heat! I look forward to opening the windows all year and my husband and family can't wait to turn on the AC the minute they perceive any heat!

sar

November 19, 2022 8:42 AM
i live in a 1300 sq foot house in NY state. I keep the downstairs heat zone at 66 during the day, although I am probably going to try 65 instead starting today. I will override on occasion and increase it for an hour or so in the morning. At night it goes to 62. The upstairs zone is set at about 62 all of the time unless it gets well below zero or is very windy. It usually stays at least 64 without the heat every coming on up there. I use electric blankets on beds and electric throws in other places where we like to sit for longer periods. No extra heat goes on unless we have on socks, layers including a sweatshirt and/or sweater. Draft protectors for the bottom of the inside doors and I add the plastic to windows that you shrink with a hair dryer - which does a nice job of keeping out window drafts (even though nearly all of my windows are insulated). I also find that it is just all around better if I keep moving so I am sure to get up from my work desk (work at home) to exercise every hour. Sitting for any period of time is always going to be make me colder. Certain exercises such as squats will warm the body up relatively quickly. I think it is pretty important not to let yourself get cold in the first place. I notice that my son will forget to add another layer or two in the morning and come down in a tshirt and then in about an hour wants to turn up the thermostat. Better start with several layers as soon as you get out bed even if you don't notice that you are cold at first.

Nelliegrace

November 19, 2022 8:16 AM
It is 7°C here in Staffordshire, England. Gas and electricity prices have gone up threefold this year. We left the central heating off a month longer than usual and now it is set at 15°C, just in the early morning and evening. We go to bed earlier in Winter.
We put on extra layers of clothing as winter progresses, several thin layers trap warmth, a wool jumper over them and a quilted gilet. A woolly hat and scarf make a difference, and extra socks and wrist warmers. I bought a feather and down jacket in the sales to wear indoors. This year I bought shearling lined slippers when they were on offer. I take care of my clothes and make them last for years so they are and investment. The aim is to warm the person and not the house.
We don’t buy many Christmas presents, none for adults, but the grandchildren are having warm pyjamas and fleece lined hoodies. .
The chairs have several rugs to snuggle into and spread over us when we are sitting. I shall use the spare duvet on the sofa too, and a hot water bottle when it gets colder. Putting our feet up keeps them warmer. I need to make another draught excluder..
I have pegged fleece blankets behind the curtains to reduce the draughts. The curtains are open to let the sunshine warmth in by day and are all closed as it gets dark.
We have regular hot drinks, filling a flask when we top up the pot of tea and coffee. We are using the pressure cooker, tiered steamer or frying pan to cook meals on one gas burner, and I put saucepan meals in the haybox to finish cooking. We make batches of thick vegetable soup with lentils and beans. When the oven is on I do a pot roast, a tea loaf and a tray bake at the same time.
We have prepared a box of things for the expected power cuts, and I have a Kelly kettle set to use outside if necessary for boiling water and basic cooking with twigs for fuel.

Frances

November 19, 2022 7:40 AM
We live in an old, poorly insulated mobile home in SW Pennsylvania. The temperature this morning is 21F. Because my husband is 91 years old and chills easily, we keep the house at 72F daytime and 65F at night. Our house is heated with forced-air natural gas. A supplemental woodstove is not an option because I have asthma and because we can't get homeowner's insurance if we have one in a mobile home this old (50 years). We have an indoor-safe portable propane heater for emergencies only. Over the years, I have replaced nearly all of the single-pane windows with energy efficient double-panes covered with window blinds and thermal curtains in some of the rooms, letting the sun heat during the day, closing blinds and curtains at dusk. I've installed foam insulation panels under the house against the skirting to keep the pipes and floors warmer. This year I added a solid thermal door and a new aluminum storm door to our unheated porch to keep the wind out. I also added styrofoam (repurposed from packaging), broken down cardboard boxes and large plastic birdseed bags as insulation against the porch wall that takes the west wind. I weather stripped and caulked around all of the house exterior doors. Before I bought the house 20 years ago, the previous owner had installed a metal standing-seam roof over styrofoam insulation over the old roof. We wear layers of clothing, shoes in the house, and my husband sometimes wears a hat. I wear fingerless gloves on my arthritic hands. We have multiple blankets and quilts on the beds and warm throws in the living room. Husband uses flannel sheets all year around. I bake in our natural gas oven in the morning to help warm the house, turning off the gas five minutes before the food is done to save a little gas. I insulated the hot water pipes coming from the (electric) water heater, and it makes a big difference in the time it takes to get hot water in the sinks and shower. Hanging laundry in the house instead of the dryer makes a big difference in the electric bill and adds much needed moisture to the air.

Marrigje

November 19, 2022 6:21 AM
Dear grandma Donna,

we live in the Netherlands and todays temperature is around zero degrees Celcius. We live in an old farmhouse in a rural area en we stay warm because of our woodstoves. I have and old rayburn stove in the kitchen, and we heat only this one because we spend most off our time in the kitchen. The other rooms downstairs are heated by wood to, but we don't use them often, only in special occasions. Or when it is very cold or when the wind is ' thin' , as we say. Our house is not insulated at all, and we are saving for it.

We dress in multiple layers and we use multiple layers off blankets on our beds. And put a stone on the stove, put it in a towel when it is hot en use it to warm our beds before sleeping. There are many layers of rugs on the floors. We use two layers of curtains en close them in the evenings and overnight. You can also put a blanket for your windows of doors. And go outside as much as whe can. When you enter the house, 18 degrees Celsius, feels very comfortable. We are used to it after a few years.

Pam

November 19, 2022 3:18 AM
Good morning from rural innland Norway. We have - 3 C and snow. Our 1950's house has 3 wood stoves and we cut our own wood. We try to cut trees that are crooked or that will affect power lines in future. Our woodshed is full and we wear lots of wool clothes. I keep the passages cold (like an extra fridge if needed e.g. at Christmas) and keep doors to the other rooms shut as to keep the warmth in. We only use a small heater in the bathroom. My hot water bottles are two small chineese crested dogs ????. Blessings, Pam

Carol

November 18, 2022 10:24 PM
Hi Donna! I enjoy reading your blog. I’ve always been interested in past ways of doing things. We live in northwestern Washington State. We are having freezing temperatures now at night and the day time temperatures are in the 40’s. The best investment we made was having a ductless heat pump installed. Our electric bill plummeted, as we were using electric baseboard heat. The heat pump heats our small house adequately most days. The thing that was hardest to get used to is the temperature is not turned down at night, as it takes more energy to bring the temperature back up than it does to keep the thermostat at a constant temperature. I have to admit it’s lovely to get up to a warmer house in the morning. We have a wood stove for back up, should the power go out. We use down comforters at night. I splurged on some silk long underwear ten years ago, and it’s still in great condition for wearing on colder days. As we’re older and more susceptible to cold, we also wear more layers and warm slippers in the house and use lap sized blankets for sitting around.

Judi

November 18, 2022 8:55 PM
Hi Donna, I am an oldfashioned soul and as soon as the weather cools I put on my first layer of defence - my singlet. I guess if my weather got really cold like snow areas I would buy thermal underwear. I also have heard of people using plastic bubble-wrap to line their windows and that keeps a lot of the cold out. It is very important to go around your house and make sure there are no drafts coming in- I have door stoppers for that. Most days during winter you can find me all proper dressed with my dressing-gown on top of my clothes, it really helps keep me warm.

Shelli Bennett

November 18, 2022 8:03 PM
Hello! Here in coastal NSW Australia, we have a generally temperate winter climate, but the wind can really get whipping from Antarctica at times. We try to only use the heater on cold mornings to heat up the house, then we open all the windowshades to capture the heat of the sun, which has warmth even on the coldest days here. We put on extra layers when it's really cold, and never run the heat at night.

Jackie

November 18, 2022 5:36 PM
Hi, Donna. Another thought-inspiring post. I live in a 1400 Sq. Ft. mobile home in northwestern Washington state. It doesn't usually get super cold here but it's already been below freezing a few times this season. My home is all-electric except I have a propane gas range. The heat is central but I don't have ac. I have no alternate heat source. At night I turn the furnace down to 60; in the morning I turn it up to 68 until the house warms up and then I turn it down to 66. I have 2 bedrooms and a bathroom that are rarely used so I close the heat registers and the doors in those rooms. I'm on the budget payment plan with the electric company and I pay $86 per month year-round. I used to use an electric blanket but last Christmas one of my daughters gave me a weighted blanket and I don't need the electric one. I have a little laundry room off the kitchen which also has the back door. I hang a curtain made from a sheet on the kitchen side to keep the cold (or hot) air out. When the sun goes down I close all of the curtains and mini-blinds until I get up. I dress warmly and have blankets, shawls and sweaters available. That keeps me mostly warm during the cool months.5

Lora

November 18, 2022 5:29 PM
Hi, we live in northeastern Oregon and right now our temperatures are dropping into the 13-19°F at night. Our daytime highs hover right around freezing. We have a natural gas heater and have small electric heaters in our bedrooms. We try to keep our heater set at 70 during the day and 66 at night. Our house is a small 2 bed home built in 1925 and just over 900 sq ft and heating and cooling costs was one of the main factors in choosing a smaller place. To help stay warm, we hung a tension rod with a curtain in the doorway of our laundry room. I only spend a few minutes in there at a time and since it's off our kitchen it helps stop the loss of heat. We put towels at the base of our exterior and basement doors to stop drafts and have both blinds and curtains on all our windows. The doubling up of layers helps trap more heat inside. We have lots of blankets scattered throughout to curl up under while watching television or while I'm doing needlework. We wear sweaters and my husband lives in his thermal underwear until spring comes back! For me, I was quite surprised that I am warmer in dresses or skirts. I layer tights and a slip underneath then depending on the style of skirt or dress I can easily add a turtleneck or t-shirt under and a sweater over my outfit. Women's jeans (at least where I live and shop) are made so thin and wind just goes right through. Each layer I wear now is thin, but when combined I am much warmer. Wishing everyone a safe and cozy winter season, Lora

Elise

November 18, 2022 5:22 PM
My husband and I live on the coast of Maine. Currently temps are in the 30's during the day and 20's at night. We have a small house and heat half of it with a wood stove. We have been able to coordinate with an arborist to have him drop off some wood from trees he took down. We have to cut it up but it is saving us alot of money buying wood! Our children and I have also been gathering fallen sticks and branches and raiding the brush pile, cutting it up and storing it for kindling and quick hot fires. I had never thought of that before this year but we have woods all around and it is a great free resource! We use a space heater in our bathroom just when we need it warm in there, or on cold nights to protect the plumbing. We have a propane heater but to cut back on use I am hanging light quilts or wool blankets from tension rods or hooks over certain windows. We made a big curtain out of wool to cover our stairway up to the attic and that has made a dramatic difference! Our kids love a warm hot water bottle to take to bed so they will each be getting their own for Christmas. I lived in a camper at one point in my life and there is thin plastic you can cover windows in to add a layer of heat loss prevention. In the camper I even used bubble wrap over the windows! My Gramma always used a rolled up blanket or a "snake" of fabric filled with something at the doorways to block heat loss under the door. Pur woodstove has a flat too so we can cook soup and bone broth on it, which further saves propane that we can then heat with.

Hilogene in Az

November 18, 2022 4:31 PM
Hi, we live in Phoenix, Arizona, so the winter temperatures are very mild. Maybe one or two nights down to freezing. We turn on the electric blanket and use it to keep warm at night, setting the house heat to 60 degrees. In the morning, I have the heat come on just as we get up and heat up the house, then it goes off for most of the day. If the house is cold at dinner or lunch, I turn on the heat for a while. We wear sweaters or flannel shirts during the day. Our electric rates are low except for three hours a day (4 pm to 7 pm) so we try not to use it during that time period. But we are lucky to live here in the winter. Our electric rates are fine for us in the winter, it is the summer, when we have to use air conditioning all the time, that slays us.

Carol

November 18, 2022 3:44 PM
In PA, thermostat to 66 24/7 in master bedroom suite. 66 degrees overnight in all of house but 67-68 in main house during day.
We use heating oil, currently almost $6/gallon, which is twice as much as last year. I estimate it will cost us about $700/month.
We also have a woodstove and will order wood probably next week. Usually use one cord per year. Hopefully that helps our heating bills somewhat.
We do dress warmly, use extra blankets in bed and in house, have doors sealed with new weatherstripping, we’ve turned the baseboard hot water heat waaaayyy down upstairs on each unit.
If I read in our bedroom during the day, I use a blanket and small heating pad over my shoulders.

Lana

November 18, 2022 3:08 PM
We live in SC and it was 25 degrees here this morning. We have had a letter from our electric co-op telling us that our rates will not increase this year and no more than one percent next year. We live in a 2700 SF house that is all electric. We keep our thermostat on 70 during the day and 67 at night. We cannot go lower because I have a genetic disease that causes pain and being too cold makes me ache very badly. In the winter I wear a tank top under shirts. Keeping my torso warm keeps all of me warmer. I have an extra rug under the large area rug under my feet where I sit on the couch and this really keeps my feet warmer. Of course we have throws on the couch to cover up when we are sitting. We have a back hall off our kitchen that goes to that laundry room and garage. We put a tension rod in that doorway and hang a heavy fleece curtain to keep the cold from that area contained. It is quite cold in that hall because it runs all my side the unheated garage. Our bills are higher in the winter but not over $350 for usually two months out of the year whereas our regular bill is about $150.

Of course hot food and drinks help, too. Our daughter was a missionary in the far north for a time and those native people never drank cold water. Water was always served piping hot in a tea pot with a cup to pour into. She said this made a huge difference in staying warm when the weather was below zero for weeks on end.

Lyn Silver

November 18, 2022 2:57 PM
We do not use an electric blanket, but instead have a thick pure wool underlay on our bed, which keeps us beautifully warm all night. On extra cold nights, I use a hot water bottle to warm up enough to go to sleep.

Donna M Wilson

November 18, 2022 2:31 PM
Dear Grandma Donna ~
We live in Dallas, and even though we rarely get snow, it can still get quite cold. Our 1930's home is not well-insulated. We have a fireplace in our living room we use regularly. We have a space heater in my husband's office, as he gets quite chilled sitting on his computer working, we have a dairy heater (kerosene) on our back porch for chilly evenings, drink lots of hot drinks during the day, sweaters, sweatshirts, shawls and afghans always on, or handy. We try to keep our thermostat no higher than 68. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. I love to read your Friday posts!
Donna ~

Galadriel

November 18, 2022 1:34 PM
I live in Yorkshire in the UK, where we have a fairly mild climate--I think we are USDA hardiness zone 8A, probably similar to yours in Alabama (though we generally don't get as hot as you in the summer). This winter we can't afford to turn the heating on as normal; last winter our gas and electric bill almost doubled, and then it more than doubled again in spring (and this was after we turned the heating off). The price per unit has gone up again this winter and is set to go up again in spring. So this is why we are keeping the heating off. (In fact, we are trying desperately to reduce our electricity too, despite already being economical with it in the first place).

This spring we had a multi fuel stove installed in our living room and are burning mostly smokeless coal in it, which is far cheaper than wood (we can get some wood for free, but not enough to burn all winter); it's also far cheaper than natural gas which is what our boiler runs on (for both hot water and radiators). It only heats our living room and very slightly the master bedroom above it. The bathroom and rest of the house have been pretty chilly, and it's only November.

Our 12 year old and I take hot water bottles to bed and my husband sometimes puts his feet on mine too :) We all wear extra layers in the house--I even wear a hat and scarf--and our 2 year old and I both wear woolly pajamas I sewed out of soft old sweaters which are wonderful in bed (the 12 year old is still sleeping in his undies--high metabolism I guess)! I will even sit with the hot water bottle on my lap if I am cold in the afternoon/evening after work. I keep a kettle on the coal stove to fill it up, and also for hot drinks.

Thank you for requesting this, I look forward to reading others' replies.

Paula Alexandra Santos

November 18, 2022 1:01 PM
Hi, Grandma Donna!
Here in Baixa da Banheira, Portugal, we have 15º C (that's about 59 Farenheit) right now, but it was 10ºC (50 Farenheit) this morning. It was COLD in your part of the woods, Grandma Donna! ;)
We live in an apartment and it used to be very cold in the Winter and hot in the Summer, but we changed all the windows and installed windows that close very tight, so the cold can't go through and we painted the house with a paint that fights humidity and mold.
Also, in Portugal almost everyone has roller shutters outside the windows, so we changed the plastic ones that came with the house, for thermal ones. They last more and keep the cold away!
It was an investment, but after all these years it still pays off in the electricity bill.
We see people complaining because the electricity and gas have gone up 40% in some cases and the wood and pellets are geting more and more expensive, but some of them never invested a cent in upgrading their houses.
Oh and we have a feather duvet from Ikea, too. It's very warm!
I hope this helped a bit!
:)

Grandma Donna

November 18, 2022 12:48 PM
This is the translation of the comment below. However, please translate your comment to English before commenting because It is difficult for me to translate posts, Thank you.

Good evening, Thanks for the blog. We live in South Holland Netherlands this morning in the house 18 degrees. Turned on the wood stove this afternoon. Bought this this summer.
The central heating has not yet been on, the lowest temperature was 16.5 degrees
Upstairs we notice that it is getting colder and the laundry is difficult to dry. As soon as it is dry and there is some wind, we dry outside.
We have purchased a draught-free letterbox and sandwiched bubble wrap between a window (which caused a lot of draught). That makes a difference. A woolen plaid is on the sofa. We miss the underfloor heating and the warm shower floor and radiator, now that the central heating is still off. The wood stove is nice, we bought a special wood stove fan to distribute the heat. Nevertheless, we have agreed that the central heating will come on when the temperature drops below 16.5. Because a heater heats the walls for a while, but not for a long time and we have a corner house, so it gets cold faster, And we don't want mold in the house.. gr

Salesa

November 18, 2022 12:22 PM
Goedeavond,Dank voor de blog. Wij wonen in Zuid holland Nederland vanmorgen in huis 18 graden. Vanmiddag de houtkachel aangedaan. Deze van de zomer aangeschaft.
De centrale verwarming is nog niet aangeweest laagste temp was 16.5 graad
Boven merken wij dat het kouder word de was is moeilijk te drogen. Zodra het droog is en wat waait dan drogen we buiten.
We hebben een tochtvrije brievenbus aangeschaft en bubbeltjes folie tussen een raam geklemd (wat erg tocht gaf) .Dat scheelt weer . Een wollen plaid ligt op de bank. We missen de vloerverwarming en de warme douchevloer en radiator ,nu de cv nog uit staat. De houtkachel is fijn,we hebben een speciale houtkachelventikator gekocht om de warmte te verspreiden. Toch hebben we afgesproken dat de cv aangaat als de temperatuur onder de 16.5 daalt. Want een kachel verwarmt even maar niet langdurig de muren en we hebben een hoekwoning ,dus gauwer koud, En wil geen schimmels in huis..gr
 
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