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30 Ways to Save Money, Conserve Energy, and Stay Warm This Winter

by Tiffany in A Green Home

A cold snap set in this week and it has me thinking about staying warm. For some reason I have a greater tolerance for cold than I do heat so it seems more manageable for me to find little ways to whittle our heating bills this time of year. I am sure that many folks are doing the same. We want to pinch pennies and divert them elsewhere. It’s also a bonus that saving money on energy usage means we are saving precious resources too.

For me this has been a work in process ever since we moved to Ohio. One year we invested in several sets of thermal blackout curtains. Another year I spent days making draft snakes to put along each door and inside each window. This year we replaced our dinosaur furnace and rearranged furniture for better insulation. I have our wool blankets that we picked up in Mexico at the ready to hang on walls or windows. Yesterday I was packing up some children’s play rugs to donate when I decided to put them on our cold basement floor instead. Now I will be cozier when I go down there to wash laundry and since the rugs are all sorts of wild colors it is very cheery down there. Every little change helps and I can look at our gas bill and smile rather than want to pass out.

Here are some other easy tips for warming your home for winter, conserving energy, and saving money:

  1. Open the oven after cooking your meals and let the heat escape
  2. Close vents and doors in rooms that are not used regularly (guest room, storage room)
  3. Close blinds and curtains each night
  4. Use thick insulating, thermal curtains in winter, especially on northern facing windows
  5. Layer your window coverings like you layer your clothing, add shears on the inside to help with drafts
  6. Add extra insulation to your attic
  7. Seal leaks around doors, vents, outlets, and windows with caulking
  8. Check your furnace filter often and clean it to help with efficiency
  9. Clean furnace vents and make sure they are not blocked, especially in children’s rooms (ie clothes, toys on floor)
  10. Turn down your thermostat low each night, get a programmable thermostat if you forget
  11. Replace your old furnace or boiler with a newer and more energy efficient model
  12. Use draft snakes to seal gaps. To make roll up small blankets / towels or fill up panty hose with rice
  13. Caulk your windows, outside first, then inside (using a temporary silicone caulk)
  14. Use dryer lint to stuff inside window panes to insulate
  15. Close cupboards and drawers…they insulate
  16. Use thick blankets and quilts to cover windows
  17. Hang quilts on walls (in medieval times they used to hang tapestries for this purpose)
  18. Bake and use the oven instead of microwaves and crock pots
  19. Dress warm, drink hot tea or coffee, wear a blanket, and layer clothing
  20. Open curtains during sunny days, especially southern facing windows
  21. Put bookshelves, book cases, filing cabinets, ect against outside walls
  22. Move beds, couches, recliners, computer desks (ie where you sit/sleep/live) to inside walls
  23. Cover vinyl or leather cloches and chairs with slipcovers or blankets
  24. Cover window unit air conditioners with a quilt or mattress pad to block drafts
  25. Flip the switch on seasonal reverse switches on ceiling fans to blow warm air downward
  26. Insulate your garage door
  27. Add a storm door for extra door insulation
  28. Open your dishwasher immediately after running to let hot air/steam out
  29. Wrap your hot water heater with a Thermal Blanket.
  30. Plant trees. They save money by providing a wind break in the winter, which keeps you warmer. In summer they save you money by providing shade. Trees are awesome.

Do you have any tips to share??


  • Excellent tips! It is very cold where I live, but like you I can tolerate the cold better than the heat. We do pretty much everything you listed. Our kitchen and family room get the sun all afternoon so it gets nice and warm in there. And in our office in the basement where it can get quite cold, we have this neat small space heater that makes a world of difference. 

    • Our place is only 1100ish square feet so that helps us out quite a bit!

  • These are all such helpful tips! Sharing!

  • Twiseowl

    Outlet cover insulation and child proofing plug protectors also keep out the chill

  • Dmrhodes

    I’m thinking of stuffing insulation where my siding meets up with my concrete foundation. There appears to be a gap and much heat could escape this way.

  • Mandee

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • TenderAllure

    Great tips!  I’ll have to keep some of these in mind :)

  • Katrina @ Enchanted Savings

    Those are great ideas!  I will definitely keep some of those in mind for this winter.

  • MikeAnnis

    Thanks for a very relevant and useful article.  I featured it on the Frugal News Review podcast episode 21.

  • Great list! I do all of these things except insulate the garage door. How do you do that? I do have a rubber flap at the bottom of the door but I didn’t know you can insulate the door itself.

    One other thing I do is to check the vent flap (from my stove) on the outside wall every winter. Sometimes the flap gets stuck and it doesn’t close all the way and the cold draft is brutal. I had to replace the flap twice so it closes properly.

    I also have to insulate the attic more but haven’t tackled that renovation yet.

    Home ownership is so much work! And costly! *groan*