Cheap ways to keep warm: 10 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, you're certainly not alone. The UK has been gripped by a cold blast, making it harder to keep warm. But if you're concerned about how to save energy in your home you might also be worried that you can’t afford to keep your whole house warm all the time with central heating.

Jordan Chance, product manager at PlumbNation, says: “An excessive heating bill can be easily rectified with the ‘step-down’ challenge. By turning your heating down by just 1°C, you can save up to 10% on your heating bill. The typical heating range is between 18 and 21°C… so why don’t you see how low you can go?” 

But there are other ways to keep warm that don't involve using your central heating and that can help you save even more money.

Cheap ways to keep warm 

Below, we explain 10 easy and cheap ways to keep warm this winter. 

1. Keep your doors and windows shut

If you decide to focus on heating yourself or just one room, it’s important not to let the heat escape. Keeping doors shut, especially to hallways and stairs, can be key to keeping the heat contained where you want it.

Jess Steele, heating technology expert at BestHeating, says: “One of the easiest ways to lose heat in your home is from leaving doors open. The cosy pre-heated living room is wasted and cold within a matter of minutes when the door is left open allowing all the heat to escape. Keeping the door shut will trap the heat in the room, maintaining its warmth for longer.” 

It’s also wise to use draught excluders at the bottom of doors. Matthew Jenkins at trades matching site MyJobQuote 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. Marketing director at window specialist Safestyle, Adam Pawson, says: “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." Find out how to stop condensation on windows with these expert tips.

2. Layer up

Wrapping up in several layers of wool or fleece can help keep your body warm whether you’re inside or outside. 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.

Blanket hoodies are also hugely popular with kids and adults alike and are a great way to keep snuggly warm. Our consumer editor Heidi Scrimgeour has picked out the best wearable blankets to see you through winter.

But it’s not just yourself that you need to layer - but your home too. Ash Read, interiors expert at Living Cozy, recommends introducing layers to your key living areas. He says: “Adding soft furnishings to your space can add a sense of homeliness and lock in some heat - rugs also feel better underfoot for those in houses with wooden flooring, making the potential temperature shift less noticeable.” 

3. Keep your feet toasty

Firstly, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your feet warm, especially if you find yourself wondering 'Why am I always cold?' Energy saving expert Ava Kelly, from Energy Helpline, 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 and eBay 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, 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.” 

4. Use hand warmers

It also pays to keep your hands warm, especially if you're going to be cuddling little ones or changing nappies.

A spokesperson for lighter and hand warmer manufacturer Zippo, 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 for £29.90, or the Lifesystems rechargeable hand warmer is currently £19.99. Alternatively, you can buy disposable hand warmers for as little as £1 - but these won’t be as good for the environment. 

5. Use a hot water bottle

Hot water bottles are a handy, budget-friendly way to stay warm. 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.

6. 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, 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, 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.  

7. 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.”

8. Shift furniture away from radiators

To help make the most of the heating when it is on, it's best to avoid placing large pieces of furniture in front of your radiators. If you have radiator covers, it might also be worth temporarily removing these too. Blocking your radiator with furniture, such as a sofa or a table, will stop the effective flow of warm air around the room. This blockage will cause your boiler to work harder to heat your home, resulting in expensive heating bills. It also means it will take longer for you to feel the benefit of the heating when it comes on, leaving you chillier for longer. 

Paul Stringer, director at independent financial broker Norton Finance, recommends radiator reflector sheets to stop heat being lost from radiators to the walls behind them. 

He says: “Rather than turning your radiators up, you can increase their effectiveness by installing reflective strips behind them. Costing around £8 per roll, these sheets have been shown to improve efficiency by up to 20%.” Our money editor tried radiator reflectors - here's how she got on!

9. 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. You can try these best online workouts if you need some inspiration to get started.

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

10. 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 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.” 

Emma Lunn - money writer
Emma Lunn

Emma Lunn is a multi-award winning journalist who specialises in personal finance and consumer issues. With more than 18 years’ experience in personal finance, Emma has covered topics including mortgages, first-time buyers, leasehold, banking, debt, budgeting, broadband, energy, pensions and investments. Emma’s one of the most prolific freelance personal finance journalists with a back catalogue of work in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday and the Mirror. 

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Rachel Wait
Personal finance expert

Mum of two, 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 She later spent more than 8 years as an editor at price comparison site MoneySuperMarket, 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 families 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.

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