30 ways to save money this winter

The clocks have just gone back, the nights have drawn in and it's certainly getting colder.

Households all over the country will be wondering whether they can justify putting the heating on. It's a bit dark and chilly, but the price of energy is also leaving people cold.

To help you get by, here are thirty ways to save money this winter.

In your home

One of the biggest costs in winter is energy. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do around your home that can help you to use less.

1. Make sure your home is insulated properly. Believe it or not, a number of companies are offering free wall cavity and loft insulation. Use a search engine to find services that are near to you.

2. Draw heavy curtains across your windows; stick up some plastic sheeting or even cling film to exclude drafts.

3. Put some tin foil behind your radiators, with the shiny side facing inwards. It should reflect heat into the room. Alternatively, you could use a fan on a low setting to blow warm air around the room.

4. Close doors to rooms you don't use very often, and turn the radiators off.

5. Turn off the extraction fan when you're cooking or having a shower - so they don't suck the warm air out. Just keep an eye on the levels of condensation, and be prepared to turn the fan on if there's too much moisture in the air.

6. After you've finished cooking something in the oven, leave the door open and let the heat escape into your house.

7. Chilly? Put a jumper on instead of the heating.

8. If you have wooden or stone floors, put some rugs down (and/or invest in thick slippers or socks).

9. Keep your heating on a timer - so it'll only be on when you need it. Make a note of when the house is too warm / cold, so you can adjust the timer when necessary.

10. Use an electric blanket and/or extra duvets on your bed.

11. If you get really cold at night, you could invest in thicker pyjamas.

12. If your household only regularly uses one or two rooms, think about using space heaters or a fireplace in there instead of putting the central heating on.

13. If you're not using it, cover your fireplace.

14. Light candles. They'll provide light and a small amount of warmth - and create a nice atmosphere.

15. Use energy-saving light bulbs. They'll help keep the bills down now you're turning your lights on earlier.

16. If you've used water to boil vegetables, pour it into a hot water bottle afterwards.

17. Look at other energy providers and tariffs to check you're getting the best deal.

Clothing & shopping

18. If you think you need new winter clothes, thoroughly rifle through your wardrobe and double-check what you already have.

19. Your summer clothes could become perfectly adequate winter clothes if you layer them on top of one another - a summer dress over a long sleeved t-shirt and wool tights, for example.

20. Wear a pair of tights - or two - under your clothes. Add thermal underwear and vests too.

21. When buying a new winter coat or shoes, make sure it goes with other items you own. That way you're likely to wear them for longer.

22. Look out for sales. Competition between retailers can be fierce around winter-time, so you can find some real bargains.

23. Always check whether there are discount codes or cashback deals available before you buy something (and that it's not cheaper from another shop).

24. Winter can be a good time to buy summer items, like garden furniture and swimwear.

Make your own:

25. Winter salad. Here's how to grow it.

26. De-icer. To prevent ice forming, mix three parts vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. Apply it to your car windows before you go to bed at night. To get ice off in the morning, try one part water with two parts rubbing alcohol.

27. Face and body mask. Skin can get especially dry and cracked during winter. Mix cup of rice flour, two tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of soy milk until smooth. Put it on your skin and let it settle for fifteen minutes. Then rinse well with warm water.

28. Cold remedies. Colds can't be cured, of course, but these solutions could help you feel a bit better. Put half a teaspoon of salt in a small glass of water and stir well. Gargle it, spit it out, then repeat as much as you feel you need to. Chopped-up onion in a bowl next to your bed can help decongest you while you sleep.

29. Clothes. Learn to knit and/or crochet and you can rustle up a winter hat or scarf in no time - for minimal cost. Have a look at these guides to get you started.

30. Hand warmers. You can use little drawstring bags or even a sock for this. Simply put some (uncooked) rice in, make sure it can't fall out, and microwave it for a minute or two. You can then put them in your pockets and they'll stay warm for about half an hour. Just be careful you don't burn yourself.

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