6 Free Ways to Stay Warm Without Cranking the Heat

It's that time of year again -- the time when the heat comes back on and we wonder exactly how much money feeling comfortable and cozy in our own homes is going to cost this winter. Even though home heating costs are expected to remain relatively stable, you'd much rather put that money into a stylish new coat than line your oil or gas guy's pocket.

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Looking to save a pretty penny? Then look no further than our suggestions on how to keep warm without breaking the bank.

1. Make sure windows and doors are sealed tight. Doorways and gaps in the sealing around your house result in a huge loss of warm air and allow for cooler drafts to leak in. Check the thermal seals on your windows and replace them before the chill gets to be too much, and make sure that your storm window screens are locked in place. This will provide an extra layer of protection as the winds pick up and (eeek) the snow season heads our way.

2. Grab (and fill) a hot water bottle. And you thought hot water bottles were only used for menstrual cramps and stomach aches. Not at all. This one might not be free if you don't already have one, but spending $10 at your local Target is a lot better than the alternative and just feels so good!

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3. Let the sun shine in. Be smart about your surroundings and figure out when and where the sun is shining into your home. In the mornings, open your blinds facing east and close the ones on the west to allow sunlight to naturally filter in and warm (to an extent) your pad.

4. Cozy up with the ones you love. Show that sharing really is caring and snuggle with your loved ones for some extra body warmth. Date night not going exactly how you planned? Attempt to salvage your time by suggesting the two of you warm up under a blanket ... together. Who knows, maybe you'll be enjoying some Snuggie sutra in no time.

5. [Cover your] Head, shoulders, knees, and toes (knees and toes)! In the long run, buying a few extra warm items is much better than topping off your oil tank. Layers are an obvious and comfortable solution to chilly mornings and cool nights. Pick up a great pair of warm, knit pajamas or snag a classic pair of L.L. Bean moccasins to wear around the house.

6. Will you light my candle? There's nothing better in the fall than autumn scents, including my personal faves: fresh baked pumpkin pie or warm apple cider. Fill your house with these delectable scents -- and fulfill your inner pyro en route to your fireplace. Pick up discounted firewood at local farmers' markets and jazz up the mantel while you're at it.

What's your favorite way to warm up?

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Written by Emily Abbate for CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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