Cheap ways to keep warm: 9 effective options that don't cost the earth

With energy bills remaining high, we explore the best cheap ways to keep warm this winter

Close up of woman drinking a hot drink from a mug
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If you’re looking for cheap ways to keep warm while learning how to save energy in your home (opens in new tab) this winter, you certainly won’t be alone. With energy bills going up, households remain concerned about how much their energy bills will cost, (opens in new tab) and many will be reluctant to switch on their central heating over the colder months, even though the £400 energy rebate (opens in new tab) is now being paid.

PriceYourJob’s (opens in new tab) heating expert Thomas Halpin, told us: “Due to the drastic increase in cost of living and the skyrocketing of energy prices, it’s vital that we get up to scratch on the best ways to keep warm through the winter. With a lot of homeowners struggling to pay for heating and electricity, as well as the increase in food, petrol, rent and general home living, many of us will be sacrificing our warmth this winter in order to pay the bills.” 

Cheap ways to keep warm 

Below, we explain nine easy and cheap ways to keep warm this winter. 

1. Keep your feet toasty

Firstly, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your feet warm. Energy saving expert Ava Kelly, from Energy Helpline (opens in new tab), explains: “We lose a lot of heat through our feet so by warming this body part, the rest of you will instantly feel warmer too.”

You can pick up electric foot warmers on Amazon (opens in new tab) and eBay (opens in new tab) from £20 upwards, but if you’d prefer to save the money, simply wearing socks and slippers can be an effective way to keep warm.

Psychologist and relationship advisor, Barbara Santini (opens in new tab), says: “Socks and other footwear like slippers can help regulate body temperature when moving around the house. Choose long bed socks or thick types to insulate your feet. Moreover, buy adjustable slippers for a proper and snug fit.” 

2. Use hand warmers

It also pays to keep your hands warm, particularly if you’re sitting typing at a desk all day. 

A spokesperson for lighter and hand warmer manufacturer Zippo (opens in new tab), told us: “Finding a portable device that allows you to heat yourself indoors and outdoors can be challenging, but hand warmers tick both boxes. Whether in the office or doing extended outdoor activities, hand warmers can generate a lot of heat to keep one’s hands warm in the cold weather – providing reliable and cost-effective continuous gentle warmth.”

You can purchase the pocket-sized Zippo HeatBank rechargeable hand warmer (opens in new tab) for £29.90, or the Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer (opens in new tab) is currently £19.99. Alternatively, you can buy disposable hand warmers (opens in new tab) for as little as £1 - but these won’t be as good for the environment. 

3. Use a hot water bottle

Hot water bottles are a handy, budget-friendly way to stay warm. To fill one, all you need to do is boil a kettle which costs around 6.8p a time (you can see a full breakdown of how much it costs to boil a kettle (opens in new tab) in our handy guide). You can have the hot water bottle with you when you’re working, sitting in the living room or while you’re in bed, so it's a really flexible way to stay warm.

Alternatively, you might prefer an electric blanket - these can be more effective at keeping you warm but generally cost more to purchase and use more electricity. Our guide on electric blankets versus hot water bottles (opens in new tab) explains more. 

4. Have a hot shower

As soon as you wake up, jump in a hot shower. Sleep expert and CEO of mattress specialist MattressNextDay, Martin Seeley (opens in new tab), says: “A hot shower helps to regulate your body temperature, get your blood flowing and warm up your body gradually. This will also help you to feel warm until you get dressed, making your morning routine a lot easier.”

Make sure you keep your shower brief to keep energy costs down. According to the Energy Saving Trust (opens in new tab), replacing the average shower length in the UK with a four-minute shower could knock £115 off your annual energy bill and an extra £100 off your water bill if you’re on a meter.  

5. Layer up

Wrapping up in several layers of wool or fleece can help keep your body warm as the coldest months of the year approach. 

Helen Lloyd (opens in new tab), owner of natural fibres specialist Country Mouse, told us: “Wrapping yourself in a pure wool throw or wearing a wool jumper will keep you warm. This is because natural fibres trap air which adds an insulating layer between you and the wool. Plus, wool is highly breathable and great at helping you to regulate temperature so you’ll keep at just the right temperature.”

Energy expert Ava Kelly adds: “A classic which gained popularity a few years ago, is an oversized blanket hoodie. The oversized nature of this item will mean you can tuck your legs right up inside and keep your whole body warm.”  

Primark (opens in new tab) offers blanket hoodies for as little as £16 or there’s a wide range to choose from on Amazon. (opens in new tab)  

6. Drink a warm drink or eat hot food

Drinking a warm cup of something or having hot soup for lunch is another cheap way to keep warm.

Heating expert Thomas Halpin says: “When cooking meals, try to have at least one hot meal. Eating a healthy balanced diet will help to keep you healthy and warm through the winter, and adding hot soups and drinks is a great way to heat yourself from the inside out.”

7. Cut out draughts in your home

Make sure you’re not letting the cold air in by checking for draughty doors and windows.

Marketing director at window specialist Safestyle, Adam Pawson (opens in new tab), told us: “If you can feel cold air coming through a door, adjust the latch or hinges to get a better fit of the door in the frame. Alternatively, try draught proofing strips to fill the gap.”

It’s also wise to use draught excluders at the bottom of doors. Matthew Jenkins at trades matching site MyJobQuote (opens in new tab) says: “You can easily create your own draught excluder by stuffing a pair of old tights with some socks or rags. Alternatively, just use some bunched up towels.”

If there’s a draught coming through the windows, you might have condensation on the windows or there might be cracked window panes or seals. “One budget friendly hack you can try is to use clear nail polish to paint over the cracked seal. You might need to paint on two to three coats to ensure the crack is fully covered,” says Safestyle’s Adam Pawson.  

Find out how to stop condensation on windows (opens in new tab) with these expert tips.

8. Get moving

If you’re working from home, you might find yourself glued to one spot for long periods of time, which can make you feel colder. Try to go for a short walk, do some household chores or even do a workout at home to warm up.

“This should significantly boost your blood circulation, and keep your hands and feet warm which will help to regulate your body temperature,” explains (opens in new tab) interiors expert, Owen Whitlock. 

9. Leave the oven door open after cooking

Finally, if you’re looking for a smart hack that provides heat, without putting the heating on, a trick is to leave the oven door open after cooking - just be careful if you have young children. 

Safestyle’s (opens in new tab) Adam Pawson says: “A really simple way of heating up your home is to leave the oven door open after cooking - that way you can heat your home and cook while using the same amount of energy. To maximise this hack, make sure to keep windows and doors closed to retain the heat.” 

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Rachel is a freelance personal finance journalist who has been writing about everything from mortgages to car insurance for over a decade. Having previously worked at Shares Magazine, where she specialised in small-cap stocks, Rachel developed a passion for consumer finance and saving money when she moved to (opens in new tab). She later spent more than 8 years as an editor at price comparison site MoneySuperMarket where she helped support the CRM programme, as well as the SEO and PR teams, often acting as spokesperson. Rachel went freelance in 2020, just as the pandemic hit, and has since written for numerous websites and national newspapers, including The Mail on Sunday, The Observer, The Sun and Forbes. She is passionate about helping consumers become more confident with their finances, giving them the tools they need to take control of their money and make savings. In her spare time, Rachel is a keen traveller and baker.