Dressing warmly to save money.

On Get Rich Slowly, J.D. suggests keeping the thermostat at 64° and dressing warmly in the house in order to keep down heating bills. I work at home, and so I have particular incentive to follow this advice. Unlike most working people, I can’t drop my thermostat down to 55° eight hours a day. So I wear long johns or flannel-lined jeans, three layers (undershirt, shirt, sweater), thick socks and slippers. When my next electricity bill comes I can compare it to last year’s energy bills and see if all of this bundling up is doing any good. Even if it’s not, I might keep it up — it makes me love my wood stove all the more.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

10 replies on “Dressing warmly to save money.”

  1. you might want to look more into the supporting technologies of the wood stove.. it is likely that properly managed a fairly small wood stove can heat your whole home quite well using air circulation and under floor liquid heating. you also invest in mass heating, slipping solid rocks under the stove that warm up and stay warm is better than just air surrounding it. you can do quite a bit with a classic wood stove properly done. heck, they’ll get so hot as to turn metal red hot… which means you can build amazing amounts of caloric output. the issue is… then… managing it…. efficiently and tools exist. look around.

  2. Our rental house is, sadly, built out of little more than cardboard and spit. We’ve done the little that we can to make the most of our stove — my wife installed a new slate hearth, we keep a ceiling fan going at the top of our 12′ ceiling, a humidifier running to allow the air to retain more moisture, etc. — and the only addition that remains is a small fan positioned behind the stove to allow more heat to radiate out. But all of things really do help a wood stove function better — anybody not doing those things just isn’t getting enough bang for their buck out of their stove.

    Yesterday we saw the first three rendering proposals for our new house, though. It’s all about passive solar and radiant floor heating. :)

  3. You can also save hundreds of dollars every month on grocery bills by switching from awkward, expensive ‘food’ to a cost-efficient and nutrient-rich intravenous solution. This is what every major hospital in America feeds to their most endangered patients who need the best possible care. And it only costs pennies per day!

    Also, I am surprised to hear that you gentlemen are both still using ‘houses,’ which actually represent the single largest monthly expense in most American households. No wonder that the average rate of personal savings is at an all-time low in this country! The thinking man does away with this extra expense, opting instead for an efficient weather-proof cocoon of the type shown here:


    Such sound frugality is surely the wisest path towards ‘getting rich slowly.’ Each night, as you slide into your snug cocoon and carefully insert the IV needle into your left arm for a late meal, the patter of the cold rain on top of your thin, nylon tube will be as the sound of ringing cash registers seranading you into slumber. Why, you’re practically a millionaire already!

  4. I grew up in a small country in South America, no AC and no central heat. It was a given: when winter came, layers were a must (three or four.) We got our wood stove running and I can still smell the smell. So the notion that in the dead of winter you were entitled (if you so pleased) to wear flip-flops and T-Shirts at home was totally foreign to me. “But I can afford it,” came the reply when I pointed out the wastefulness of it all. The fact that we can afford something doesn’t make it right.

  5. Lola,

    Doesn’t make it right? How is the question of what temperature somone keeps their house at a matter of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? If you want to keep your house cold all winter then go ahead. And if I want to keep my house warm all winter then that is my business. Maybe you want to go see a movie and I think that’s a waste of money. And a waste of electricity. And that spending $100M to make the movie in the first place was wasteful. Does my opinion mean that your decision to watch a movie is not ‘right’?

    What about people spending massive amounts of money on bad art? I know of people who have spent literally millions of dollars on paintings by Thomas Kinkade. I happen to think it’s all crap but I would never stoop to actual indignation at the fact that some people have different taste than I do and that they care to spend their own money in a way that I would not.

    What other people do with their money in their own homes, when they aren’t hurting anyone else, is none of other people’s business and I find it disappointing to hear you passing judgement in this way.

    I should go home this evening and crank the thermostat up to 80 on general principle.

  6. I was refering to the waste of resources, that’s all. You can watch a trashy movie, pay a fortune for bad art, and that is your business, it really does not affect anybody else but your pocket. But the wasteful (in my opinion) use of resources has an effect on us all, here and everywhere else. You can set your thermostat at 90 in your house, of course. It’s your money and your choice.

  7. I’m with Lola on this one. Sure, it’s legal to waste energy, but I still get ticked off when I see guys driving around in their Hummers. No doubt about it, it’s an emotional issue and I’m confident that I’m guilty of all sorts of energy waste (or greed, or overuse, or whatever you want to call it). But, I understand the extent to which our national energy demands drive our foreign policy and it galls me to see people being “in your face” about their use of energy.

    So, sure, folks have the right to drive their gas-guzzlers and heat their homes to 80 degrees and other folks have the right to tsk-tsk them. Count me among the silent tsk-tskers.

  8. Ouch.

    I think the phrase that your folks reserve for the fellow who built this house is “jackleg.” :) Our house was built by somebody teaching himself how to build a house. Having learned what not to do to properly weather-proof a house (omit insulation, use enormous panes of single-sheet glass, do without drywall, etc.), he constructed a bermed, earth-sheltered house nearby. Live and learn.

  9. Lola and Harry and Jack-
    Since we live on this melting planet, we all ought to try to make some changes in our lives to do less damage. I have cut back on my gas consumption, overpackaged things, and in general I buy less than I used to. HOWEVER, I am also a hypocrite and I bet most other people are too. I have way more books than anyone actually could ever need (or read) and I keep on buying them. Do I want to hear about how printing practices hurt the environment or calculate the environmental costs of shipping my books? NO, I do not. Also, I like jewelry… And I do not make my own clothes. I fear the list is long though I would never own a SUV or heat my house to 80.

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