By Jonathan Moberly – Document Management Intern
Winter has finally come. For those students like myself that are living off campus, this means that we finally have to get used to the fact that our utility bills are about to go up. As a college student on a budget, I have experimented with a lot of different ways to save on that utility bill without spending much money. For the past three years my roommates and I have set our thermostat in the low 60s, saving money and energy. Here are some of my suggestions for how you can do the same.
One of the easiest things you can do to deal with the winter is to change your habits to match the season. For example, by cooking more hot meals, you’ll heat up yourself and to a lesser degree the house. Another habit to get into is layering up. One of the big changes I make over the winter is to start wearing a lot more layers not only when I’m outside but when I’m inside as well. Everyone has a Snuggie or an old sweatshirt from high school lying around and if you throw one on next time you get cold you will be a lot less tempted to turn up the heat. Also I’ve found that when you’re asleep, you don’t care about the temperature in the living room, kitchen, etc. Because of that I make sure to turn the heat down before I go to sleep and throw an extra blanket or two on the bed. From eating warmer to throwing on an extra layer of clothing, you can warm yourself up without turning up the thermostat.
This next tip applies mostly to people living in older houses such as myself. The windows probably aren’t that efficient and a lot of heat probably escapes around the door. One of the things that my roommates and I are talking about doing is to put a plastic layer of insulation around the windows. I’ve found a lot of positive reviews online by people who have used window insulation kits that you can buy at any hardware store. They are cheap, simple to install, and effective at keeping in heat.
Additionally, we are thinking of using our front door less, which blasts the living room with cold air every time it gets opened, and using the side door. Fortunately you can also lower you heating bill by closing doors within the house as well. By closing the doors to rooms that get used less in your house, you can keep heat contained within the most important rooms. For example, my closet is really cold and when the door is open, the heat in my room gets sucked into the closet. By keeping the closet door closed, I can keep my room warmer; this idea applies for doors throughout the house and can help you keep your most important rooms warm.
One thing that I have recently done is to buy a space heater. My bedroom gets really cold during the winter so having a space heater helps me make the room more bearable when I’m in it. Additionally, because the space heater is small and light, I can take it with me to another room of the house when I’m going to be there. By buying a space heater for the rooms you spend the most time in, you can keep the room you are in warm while not turning the heat on for the whole house.
Almost every student is on a strict budget, and here at IU most students are living off campus and paying for their utilities directly. Using less heat is a great way to save money and help the environment. There are many ways to get by in a cooler home. From wearing more clothing to cheap purchases such as window insulation and a space heater, you can live comfortably with less heat.