I’ve already written a bit of this post about getting ready for winter once and it just…diappeared (X-files music plays in the background). I was just typing and I ended up on my update plugins page. Spooky. Perhaps someone out there really doesn’t want people to save money during winter and being adequately prepared. Maybe the government has a conspiracy going to make sure we all pay full price on deicer. Maybe I pressed the back button by mistake (although usually WordPress takes great offense to this and asks me haughtily if I want to stay or leave, like an overdramatic SO in the midst of a petty squabble).
Anyway. Let’s get ready for winter.
In an ideal world, I’d hibernate. I’d spend early October fattening myself, only to emerge in late March looking well-rested and skinny. Sounds lush. Whilst I did, in fact, spend early October fattening myself up, all that means is that in late November I’m having to work on slimming myself down again. Which means running outside in freezing temperatures. Not exactly what I had in mind. And yes, I know there are a billion and one at home workouts I could do, but I have a tendency to just sit on the sofa and watch them when I feel a little puffed. When I go running, I have to run home at some point. Even if I crawled home, technically that’s still cardio. Sitting on the sofa, not so much.
Shall we crack on with getting ready for winter?
Preparing your food cupboards
I won’t lie, my winter food cupboards are DULL. Why? Because I tend to exercise less and eat more, so I try to eat more things like brown rice and stuff. Also, please bear in mind that almost any leftovers taste INCREDIBLE if you put it in an oven-proof dish, cover with mashed potato, sprinkle with cheese and then bake for 40-45 minutes. Chilli, risotto, lasagne…try it. However, due to the aforementioned fattening up, I’ve started using the small side of the cheese grater.
Get your freezer stocked up with things you want to eat. I get things like Quorn sausages/pies, and Linda McCartney plait things (they’re lush). It stops that inevitable trip to the shop when you’ve just gotten back from a cold, crappy day at work. I use one of those stacking steamers (I don’t know what they’re called really but they look like this. It’s a great way to cook a few veggies at once without having to use more than one hob (saving power and money, yasss) AND if you arrange the stuff that takes longest to cook on the bottom and the quicker stuff on top, you can bung it all on at once and it might (in a perfect world) all be cooked at the same time. Score.
Getting your food cupboard ready for winter is, I think,
Preparing your car
If you suspect you may need new tyres, get them before it gets icy. If you think the tracking’s out, get it checked, to prevent unnecessary wear on said tyres. Get your summer ones switched over to winter tyres if you live somewhere where you need to do that. Here in the UK, it’s not really a priority because we usually only get a paltry amount of snow.
On your weekly shop get stocked up deicer – if you’re forced to buy it from the garage at 6.30am on a cold Monday morning, not only will it be a sucky start to your day, but you’ll also have to fork over way more money.
Preparing your wardrobe
A lot of people would recommend a big, cosy winter coat, but I don’t actually have one atm. I just don’t need one. I live a minute from work and when I venture out at the weekends I wear my Blue Cross fleece, which is massively unflattering and stinks of dog BUT it’s toasty warm. I have a duffel coat, and if I need to go out in the cold I just layer up.
Far more important for me are shoes that keep my feet warm. For dog walking I favour a traditional green welly – my most recent purchase had a hefty £12 price tag, and the rest of the time I tend to go for brogue-type shoes that don’t let the chill in (yes, I’m approximately a thousand years old). Also socks. Many socks. A little thin pair on first and then a thicker ski sock. I love socks. I also like a bootie-style slipper for indoors. I’m due some new slippers (I think my current pair are about 8 years old, which is far too old – though impressive for something I wear almost constantly) but I’m going to wait until after Christmas in case either Father Christmas brings them or they have some fancy schmancy designer ones in the boxing day sales.
Preparing your home
I find that a great way to save money is to have a house that you just don’t want to leave. In winter this is easier, but if you also make it somewhere that other people also want to be, you may never need to leave the house again. I’m talking blankets (I wish this star one had a more delicate pattern because I’d be all over that), fairy lights, candles, plants, you know the drill. Check out this post on saving money on utilities for more ideas on how to make your home cosy without having the heating on full blast all year round.
There are also the boring things that need checking. Get your boiler serviced, sort any patches of damp, check all the roof tiles are behaving nicely and that sort of thing. I know it sounds like a hassle, but you don’t want to get up for work on a frosty Tuesday morning to find that the shower is stone cold. I’ve been there. It’s awful. Showers are a huge part of my life (seriously, I just love showers) and when I have a disappointing one? I know my day isn’t going to go well.
The Scouts said it, and I’ll say it again: be prepared. There’s something about a bad day in winter that just so much worse than a bad summer day. Try to eliminate threats before they occur, such as getting wet feet or suffering a broken boiler.
I stand by my earlier declaration that we should just hibernate. Maybe even just half of us one year, and then the other half the next year and so on?