The average American spends 7 percent of their annual income on energy, such as electricity and gas. During the winter months, parts of the country get awfully cold, and it can be tricky to stay warm without cranking up the thermostat and, in turn, breaking your budget for utilities. If you can't afford your heating bill, don't put yourself at risk by doing without—here's how to get help with your utility bills. Before you turn up the heat, however, try one of these others ways to warm up.
Dress in layers
You know to add a sweater, jacket, and other layers when you go outside. However, you can apply the same principles inside, too, when you're trying to warm up. Layers will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your body temperature by adding or removing layers.
Wear thick socks or slippers.
Keeping your feet warm will make your whole body feel warmer. For an extra-cozy feel, slip on a pair of ultra-warm wool stocks.
Use the oven and stove for cooking
The oven and stove both heat up a kitchen, which is why it's always advised during the summer months to make no-cook dinners or to use the grill more often. In the winter months, the opposite advice applies: Use the stove and oven to heat up the home.
Leave the oven open after you bake
This will allow the warm air to escape into the room. For safety purposes, though, only do this if you don't have any small children or pets in the house.
Enjoy a cup of soup
Warm yourself up from the outside in with a hot bowl of soup for lunch or dinner. Get a double-whammy of heat by also making the soup from scratch and allowing it to simmer on the stove.
Drink warm beverages
Use the same principles of warming up from the outside-in when it comes to the beverages you choose. Keep coffee, tea, cider, and hot cocoa on hand for a hot drink, no matter what the time of day.
Use a humidifier
Humid air feels quite a bit warmer than dry air. To avoid mold, set your humidifier to 40 percent humidity. Look for ultrasonic models that allow you to choose between warm and cold air. They cost more but are well worth it for the heating ability.
Reverse the ceiling fans
You want them to be turning at low speed in a clockwise direction during the winter months. This will help to push the warm air back down to the ground.
Use microwaveable heating pads
Microwave your heating pads for 30 seconds to heat them up and put them on your hands and feet when you're sitting or lying down. You can make them yourself by sewing dried beans inside a piece of 100-percent cotton fabric. Here's a free heating pad pattern you can use.
Make sure heat vents, registers, and radiators are free of obstructions.
If they're covered with furniture, the warm air won't reach you.
Don't run the bathroom fan after you shower
The humidity will make the house feel warmer. Leave the bathroom door open after your shower, so that humidity spreads to other parts of your home.
Spend more time upstairs
Hot air rises. Therefore, during the winter, set up shop on the second floor of your home—if you have one—to take advantage of that warmer air.
Do something active
There are so many ways to get your body temperature up by being active—lean the house, exercise, tackle a home repair, or play a game. Just find ways to keep yourself moving, so you generate more body heat.