10 ways to keep warm on the cheap for winter

Students are known for not being the richest of people, and student flats are known for being gigantic ice boxes with big rooms with high roofs. I have a few friends who live in places like these and I’m sure that sometimes it’s warmer outside than it is inside – but the troubles is that we can’t exactly dosh out $8,000 for insulation or casually install some wind-blocking hedges on rental properties. Now that temperatures are hitting the single digits, as students we need to find the cheap solutions:

Layer up!

layer up

Follow the hiker’s logic: thermals, shirt, sweater, gloves, scarf, jacket = warmth. By having lots of thin layers you have more flexibility around your clothing choices. And because palmy isn’t that cold you don’t need to go out and buy the biggest and thickest jacket there is – if you do that and you find the big coat is too hot, and then you take it off and it’s too cold, there’s no middle ground for you.


Air out your room during the day


Remember when you got told to open your window and let some fresh air in? Winter can be punishing enough without being sick as well, and if you block out the ability for air to get into your room the environment can become stuffy and unpleasant. This one might seem counterproductive at first but if you crack open a window during the day it’ll help to get rid of the condensation and stop mold from developing on the window sills.


The Library will warm you for free


The uni library at Palmy is open from 8am to 11pm Monday to Thursday, and then 8am till 8pm Friday – plus it’s open on the wekeend as well. The temperatures in the library make you feel like you’re walking into a furnace if you’re coming in fresh from the great outdoors – but this free heat makes it much easier to study and do your coursework. I mean, is it easier to write out notes when you’re shivering or when you’re all toasty and warm?

Block the draft


If you’re trying to keep a room warm whilst you’re in it, it helps if it’s sealed off to prevent heat from escaping. It might be worth saying that you can’t do this one at the same time as airing your room out, but if you close that door and slap a door snake, or a towel, where the gap is then it’ll seal the heat in.

Dehumidifiers and heaters


I think in another post I touched on how I have to be more stringent with power – this is true. Now that I’m flatting I don’t have the luxury of a 24/7 heater.  Be careful with this one since it can be an expensive option in the long run – a $20 warehouse fan heater can easily rack up a $200 excess on your power bill. But sometimes a heater or dehumidifier may become an essential item to getting rid of that moisture in the air and keeping warm. Check out this link to the Warehouse who list out the different kinds of heaters and what might be most suitable for your needs!

Keep your feet warm


Thick socks and slippers – that’s all there is too it! If you keep your feet toasty you won’t feel the cold as much.




Hot water bottle


Get one of these and you’ll never turn back! Cheap and affordable these puppies can warm your bed as well as yourself. They’re also pretty much everywhere as well, Kmart, Pak n Save, the Warehouse etc. so they’re not a rare item. If you get a hot water bottle, a cover for it, all you really need is some hot water and you are set!




Wheat bag


In a similar vein to the hot water bottle, the wheat bag is mostly aimed at reducing aches and pains – but they work miracles for warmth as well. They have a wider range of sizes available and to heat them up – you just put them in the microwave for anywhere between 60 seconds to 3 minutes for various levels of heat. And when it gets cold? Just put it in the microwave again!

Keep active

winter clean

I don’t mean put on some shorts and go running, but to keep your body moving instead of sitting stationary wrapped in blankets like a burrito then you which can potentially negate the effects of heating. What can you do to keep your body moving? Clean! Whether it’s your room or the lounge if you get up and move some stuff around then you get the blood flowing and you can easily feel like you’ve accomplished something for the day.

Get a onesie


Nobody really wears pyjamas anymore and onesies are still all the rage – when else are you going to have the opportunity to keep warm AND look like a giraffe? The keywords for onesies are warmth and comfort. I’d advise against wearing it to uni, but if you’re around the house these will be fine!


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About Cullum

Seasons greetings, friends! I'm Cullum, 2nd year BBS student based in the bustling urban metropolis of Palmerston North. My focus areas are Management and Marketing - but somehow I got a job as a food scientist! I enjoy travelling to exotic locations such as Rotorua, am currently part of a group working towards building a community centre - and I can play the bassoon. If I were a bag of lollies, you could best describe me as the party mix.

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