Tag Archives: saving on heating costs

October 2007 Newsletter

I keep trying to convince myself that fall has arrived here in New England. Yep, the leaves are changing but instead of our average 60-70 degree Farenheit days, we’re experiencing record and near record temperatures in the 80’s and low 90’s! I was worried about keeping the heat off until mid-October but instead I’m catching myself wanting to turn the air conditioning back on. Alas, the fickle New Englander in me shows. Just wait until January when the temperatures are below freezing and the wind chill makes it feel like 20-below zero. I’ll be complaining it’s too cold then!

I really do love fall in New England. I especially love fall for all the apples, squash and pumpkins. Apple cider either icy cold or warm and spiced is another favorite. I love working in the yard in jeans and a sweater. I love baking lots of goodies for the boys as well. I have definitely noticed that my fall loves focus around food so I’ve worked at adding a few baking things to the site this past month.

I have several recipes that call for the typical apple pie spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. I found apple pie spice mix several years ago in the store and then eventually started mixing my own. Don’t hesitate to adjust this recipe if you prefer more of one spice to another (I’m a huge cinnamon fan but not so much a ginger fan for example. ). I’ve also put up a similar mix recipe for pumpkin pie spice mix.

Apple Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Another great recipe from my box is a basic baking mix. This is the same thing as the box you buy in the store that makes quick bisquits and such. You know the box, right? I have used the homemade version in every recipe that calls for the “quick” mix and never had a problem. It’s significantly cheaper and very easy to make.

Basic Baking Mix

In most parts of the country, fall can also mean that it’s time to prep your home for cold temperatures. Heating costs have sky-rocketed and we put up a new tips sheet on how to cut down on heating expenses. One of the ideas in that article calls for microwave cozies. I also put up the directions for these. They make fantastic inexpensive presents (yep, that time of year is fast approaching as well! ).

Cutting Down on Heating Expenses

Microwave Cozies

Speaking of the holidays, it isn’t too early to start shopping for bargains or better yet, making gifts that give more of your heart, than your pocketbook. In addition, spreading your shopping over three months versus three weeks makes it more likely that you can stick to cash purchases instead of hitting up the credit cards. Avoid those January blues that arrive with the first post-holiday credit card statement.

I almost forgot Halloween! In my home, we don’t get into the dark and scary side of this day but the boys enjoy dressing up and we visit friends and family. We have alot of great ways to dress up your little trick-or-treaters as frugally as possible and we also have some fun ghoulish recipes.

Halloween articles

Ghoulish Recipes

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Thank you for being part of our frugal family!

Tips for Cutting down on Heating Expenses

• Turning down the thermostat even a few degrees helps a lot.

• Moist air feels warmer. Make sure you maintain adequate humidity during the more dry winter months. Open the dishwasher to dry dishes and release steam and hanging clothes to dry will not only cut down on your electric bill but also add humidity.

• Wash laundry in cold water only. This is very cost effective and most clothes wash just fine in cold water only.

• Do you have naturally warm areas in your home? Make them work for you. My warm rooms are the kitchen and the furnace room. I keep the furnace room door open with a small fan blowing out into my family room. The heat gleaned just from that is enough to keep the family room warm. When I do a big baking day, I also run a fan that blow the warm air out into the remainder of the home.

• On a good blustery day, get down on your hands and knees and feel around. A stick of burning incense helps to find drafty areas, but even just feeling for cold areas with your hands will help. Cutting down on those drafts will go a long way in cutting down on your heating bill! A trip to the local hardware store will help you find a bevy of cost cutting products, but simple, inexpensive things like homemade draft dodgers, towels, and window quilts will be effective as well.

• Turn down your hot water.

• Do you have a fireplace? Most people don’t realize that modern fireplaces with deeper fire boxes, are not effective heat sources and the reality is, they suck air from your home. You actually LOSE heat when you run your fire place unless you have fireplace doors that you keep closed (basically going just for the ambience) or you can close off that room and minimize the flue draft. If you really want your fireplace to work for you, consider fireplace inserts, inset stoves and that sort of thing.

• Put on an extra layer of clothes if you’re always cold. Adding a layer on top such as a sweater or sweatshirt OR a layer underneath, like silk long underwear help a lot.

• Wear a hat to bed. The human body loses a huge amount of heat through the top of the head. Keep your head warm and you’ll be warmer. If you’re a bit chilled crawling into bed, make a microwave cozie to warm it up first!

• Keep a lap quilt for those times when you’re sitting down and reading a good book and getting cold versus turning up the heat. Sticking that microwave cozie under the quilt with you is pretty nice, too.

• Consider major home improvements. We have our garage under one end of our home and that end of the house was always cold. The old wooden doors had almost no insulation value (R-value), let in snow and cold air from underneath and barely kept the garage above freezing. We invested about $1800 to have modern, well insulated doors installed and the results were amazing! The average garage temp is now about 45 degrees, that end of the house is much warmer and we have averaged about $400 LESS in heating expenses per year. Major things like new windows and doors can be a bit more costly and take more planning and saving, but will be worth it in the long run.

Tammy Paquin is the owner and publisher of frugal-families.com.  You can reprint this article with an active link back to Frugal-Families.com