As temperatures begin to drop, consumers may soon have a lot more on their minds than the coming winter chill. Since 2010, many states have seen the cost of home heating oil rise by as much as 30% or more. Depending on where you live, a particularly glacial season could put a serious freeze on your budget. So instead of just cranking up the thermostat, check out these six alternative tools for keeping costs down and the heat up. Splurging on all of these high-tech solutions could cost you a pretty penny, but pick out one or two and your wallet may thank you come Spring.
1. Cuddle up with a USB blanket.
If you spend a lot of time at home on the computer, this USB heated blanket is perfect for keeping away the chills. It plugs into any USB port, comes with two cords and can be worn over the shoulders or across your lap. Just pour yourself a cup of tea and settle in.
2. Keep your toes toasty with battery-powered heating socks.
These super-cozy socks have a thin battery-powered heating element encased in the toe that won't overheat, and are made out of "moisture-wicking" material to keep you toasty, not sweaty.
3. Get efficient with a programmable thermostat.
This one's a no-brainer so if you don't have one, get one. A programmable thermostat will automatically lower the temperature of your home at night or while you're out and about, making the heat run less when you're not actively using it. Avoid the elements all together and find free shipping codes for Home Depot, who has a great selection of these handy devices.
4. Stay mobile with touch-screen gloves.
iPhone users have long known the frustration of trying to text, swipe or tap while out in the elements. Hopefully you won't need gloves in the house too often, but when Jack Frost really comes a knockin', these babies from Agloves made with a special conductive material will keep you connected.
5. Dodge the draft with outlet insulation.
Drafts pass in and out of the home through the outlet and outlet covers, especially the ones along exterior walls. Fortunately there are special outlet and switch gaskets specially made to reduce drafts. Ask your local hardware store or just DIY.
6. Go old school with the hot water bottle.
OK, this is hardly high-tech, but this ingenious invention is still one of the best and easiest ways to stay warm in bed, as well as soothe aches and pains. It's cheap, reusable and will last forever. Tell that to your soon-to-be obsolete iPhone 4.
Jeff Cambron has worked in the technology space for over 10 years, fueling an obsession with all things digital. He might not hear you while rocking his Tooks hat, but he never misses an email. Jeff can be reached at Jeff@Kinoliinc.com.