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November 28, 20187 min readHome

Cozy, Hygge & Efficient Hacks for a Zero Waste Winter


Winter in the Northeast of the US for me is brutal.

I wake up and go to work in the darkness only to leave work in the pitch black. And to make matters worse, it gets frigid, which in tandem with the darkness means I never leave my apartment. All factors which ultimately mean my eyeballs pop out of their sockets when I pay my utility bills (seriously, last year in January I paid \$150 for heat and electricity myself when living with 3 other roommates).

Old housing and terrible insulation coupled with notorious energy rates in Boston mean I’ve started to master how to live a more energy efficient lifestyle in the winter months to save the environment and save my pocketbook.

But I do so without living like a miserable, cold, hermit life (I think at least). On the contrary, I feel like I’ve hopped on the ‘hygge’ bandwagon; paying attention to the elements that will bring a sense of coziness and warmth to my apartment in these dark winter months without breaking the bank.

While hygge has no direct translation into English, it essentially means ‘a sense of coziness that brings happiness’. If you’ve ever felt happy snuggled up in a ski resort with a blanket drinking hot chocolate while watching the snowfall, that’s the feeling of hygge.

Initially, I thought having a 'cozier' winter apartment would correlate with dishing out the \$\$\$. But then I realized it was because everyone was trying to sell me something to buy into this lifestyle (in you can call it that). In reality, this sense of coziness -- blankets, socks, candles, etc-- actually correlate with saving money on your energy and heat bill!

But let me dive into that further here:

PS, nothing in these posts are sponsored. While at one point I might collaborate with a sustainable company that shares my values, for now, I’m just doing me.

These tips help me cut down on my heating and electricity bill, while making my home super cozy! Bonus: it saves me a ton of money too!

Save Money on your Heating Bill

1. Turn down your heat to a level where the pipes won’t burst

This is normally around 55 degrees.

Then prepare to layer up with:

  • Blankets Add blankets everywhere. To your couch, bed, chairs. You can find cozy blankets from most thrift stores or from Facebook Marketplace (just make sure to give it a good wash before using it). If you’re looking for a new blanket, check out these sustainable alternatives:

  • Sweats Oh sweats, how you are my best friend. The first thing I do when I get home is take off my bra and change into sweats. I have a few old pairs from high school that are still serving me well, but if you’re in the market for some new ones, check out these:

  • Wool socks Another classic staple. Keep your feet-sies warm to keep your entire body warmer. If you’re lucky enough to have family/close friends that knit, maybe ask for a pair for Christmas. Nothing is better than a homemade gift made with love. Plus, it’s cheaper for the gift-giver, so overall it’s a win for everyone.

    • If those around you are knitting noobs, have no fear! Etsy is a great resource to find homemade goods like knitted socks. When checking out with the goods, in the comments section just ask that the seller not use any plastic.
  • And if Etsy doesn’t work, check out these:

2. Make warm foods and drinks

Making your own food will save you a ton of money itself. Warm food, like warm bowls, soups, pancakes will heat up your apartment from your stove or oven while heating up your insides.

So really, this is a win-win.

3. Fashion a heat compress

I love my reusable heat compress to help soothe sore muscles or heat up a chilly bed. When it’s super chilly out and I know that my bed is going to be cold, I’ll heat up this and stick it by the foot of the bed.

I can’t find the exact one I use but check out this one from The Package Free Shop.

Feeling crafty? Make a simple and cheap one from rice using these instructions.

4. Better insulate your house

  • Draft Snake A contributor to a large heating bill is the little gap between the door and door frame. That little slice, although seemingly harmless due to its small size, can actually have a major effect on keeping your home warm. Stop the cold draft from sneaking in by using a door snake. You can find cute ones on Etsy or make one by simply rolling up towels and shoving them into the gap. Tip: make sure everyone is home when you do that so you don’t accidentally lock someone out.

  • Rugs Something I had really never given thought to but makes so much sense now that I know: rugs. If you have cold hardwoods like me, adding an extra layer by throwing down a rug. Not only will it keep your feet from touching cold floors, but it will act as an extra insulation layer for your home.

  • Heavy curtains Like layering up your body helps keep you warm, adding thicker curtains to your apartment can help better insulate your space.

Keep your electricity bill small

1. Unplug devices

Devices can still use energy when turned off, leading to a phantom load on your electricity bill. Devices like televisions, DVD players, stereos, computers and many kitchen appliances—basically anything that holds a time or other settings exhibit these.

The solution? Unplug them after you turn them off. I like to plug my devices into stip cord so that I just have to unplug the one cord and not a bunch of individual devices.

2. Natural candles

Create a cozy atmosphere by keeping your light dimmed (or off) and by lighting some candles. I personally like to light a lot of unscented soy candles for extra light and then light one or two scented soy candles to make everything smell amazing.

Why is soy so important? The traditional candles you see at Bed Bath and Beyond are made with Paraffin wax.

Paraffin wax when light creates highly toxic benzene and toluene, which are both carcinogens. In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. Gross!

So I prefer soy wax candles, like:

Some people take issue with this because the majority of soy wax is genetically modified. I don’t have an issue with that, but if you do, check out beeswax candles.

As always, please be careful with candles. No one wants to burn their home down.

3. Invest in LED

LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Switch out the most widely used bulbs in your home. Then, replace the rest as they burn out.


Wrapping it up!

Boom, I hope that some of these tips help you save some mullah while still staying warm and cozy this winter season <3

These tips help me cut down on my heating and electricity bill, while making my home super cozy! Bonus: it saves me a ton of money too!

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Hi, I'm Taylor

Amateur adult. Zero waste zealot. Personal finance fiend. Spicy food supporter. I’m an mid 20’s gal living in Denver, Colorado. My love of the outdoors has cultivated my zero waste lifestyle, which inadvertently fueled my passion for personal finance. Cheers to everyone interested in lessening their footprint while growing their wallet!


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