It feels like winter gets more brutal with each passing year. Between the cost of snow tires, running the heat on overtime, and buying warm clothes in which to bundle up, it’s an expensive season even without the added costs of the holidays. Don’t end up with an empty savings account and holes in your pocketbook come spring. Just weather the winter in the smartest ways possible.

The heat trick

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Running the heat on high isn’t necessary, but it is expensive. As you sit on the couch or lie in bed, shivering and cold, turn to alternative methods. A heating pad, an electric quilt, or a weighted blanket will keep you warm. You can even microwave a sock full of uncooked rice and create a jerry-rigged heating pad.

Layering it on thick

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Layering your clothing is the perfect way to stay warm. It also ensures that you’re winter-ready at all times. Wear a T-shirt beneath a long sleeve shirt beneath a cardigan or flannel. Pull on thermal underwear beneath your jeans. Remove layers as you heat up, then put them on again when you feel chilly.

Toe-tal coverage

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Winter is not the time for bare feet. Always wear something to cover your toes. Thick woolen socks are excellent options. Slippers, mules, and even athletic socks work, too. The point is never to let your feet get cold. Once those precious piggies turn to ice, your entire body starts to freeze.

Let there be light

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The lighting in your home makes a difference in how you feel. Sun lamps provide much-needed vitamin D, which is essential for your metabolism and your mood. Dawn simulators help you to wake up with more energy, while full-spectrum lights boost your focus in no time. You’ll accomplish more without relying on expensive coffee drinks to get you through the long winter days.

Cold dogs and new tricks

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You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but a cold dog benefits from new knowledge. In other words, get out of the house and learn something new. Check out free or low-cost activities and classes in your area. If there’s nothing you can afford, then go outside, period. Work up a sweat. Soak up the vitamin D from the sun, however weak it is.