Nov 08

“No Heat For You!”: The Heat Nazi

The “Soup Nazi”

Have you ever seen that Seinfeld episode with the “soup nazi?” If you haven’t there’s a pretty infamous Seinfeld episode in which Kramer introduces the rest of the his friends to a new soup stand. He raves about how delicious the soup is and everyone is eager to try it. When they arrive at the stand one by one, the temperamental soup chef, later referred to as the “soup nazi”, refuses to serve them. Against Jerry’s advice, George asks the soup nazi for a piece of bread. When he’s denied the bread, he begins to complain and the soup nazi raises the price of the soup then swiftly refunds George’s money and kicks him out stating,”no soup for you!”

In my household, my boyfriend is the soup nazi. Except his “soup” is heat.

So far this fall we haven’t used the heat in our condo at all. In fact, our thermostat is still completely turned off. At first I thought this “ban” on heat was a little nutty. But I’m a pretty frugal girl at heart, and once I started to think about the money we’d save, I was totally on board. In fact, I’m actually a little bit excited to see how long we can go without turning on the heat (I’m weird, I know!). I’m thinking if it continues to stay above freezing, we can last at least through the end of the month (maybe longer?).

A few things seem to be working in our favor so far. 1-it’s been pretty warm this fall. 2-we live on the 4th floor and heat rises. 3-we have newer windows that are energy efficient (according to the manufacturer they keep the heat in in the winter and the heat out in the summer).

Other Ways We’re Staying Warm Without Turning on the Heat:

  • Wearing layers. Easy and obvious, right? I’m more than willing to wear a few extra layers to keep our heat bill low. Bf actually breathes better when it’s cold (he has asthma, so he’s really enjoying the house being cooler).
  • Snuggling under blankets. We have a pretty small place and the temperatures haven’t been that cold yet. So instead of turning on the heat we’ve been using lap throws to stay warm. I actually sleep better under heavy blankets so I don’t mind layering on another quilt.
  • Using my laptop. Seriously! Right now I’m typing on my laptop and I’m toasty warm thanks to the heat she’s putting off. Nobody tell me this causes lap cancer, I don’t want to know!
  • Eating hot soup and drinking hot tea. I love making a big pot of soup and eating it throughout the week. It’s frugal, healthy and keeps me warm while I’m eating it. This week I made this Stuffed Pepper soup and it was absolutely delicious.
  • Wearing slippers. We have hard wood floors that can get a little cold on the feet. I hate having cold feet so I always wear socks or slippers in the house. If you don’t like wearing slippers you might want to buy a few throw rugs, we have a couple in the bedrooms.
  • Window treatments. We have wooden blinds and curtains. Our curtains are mostly decorative but keep in a little heat when we close them. We haven’t needed to thus far, but last year during hurricane Sandy we closed all of our curtains to keep the heat in when the power went off. I also have friends who have thermal insulated curtains that swear the curtains keep the heat in.

Have your turned on your heat yet? How to you keep your heat bill low?



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  1. Well Heeled Blog

    You and him have the discipline of saints! We keep the thermostat at a balmy 72-75 in our house. 70 is low for us. Fortunately, because we live in a low COLA and I share the house with roommates, our individual utility portions are pretty manageable.

    1. KK

      I get cold pretty quick, but bf breathes much easier if it’s cooler. So if it’s breathing or my comfort, breathing comes first I suppose 😉 If we had roommates we’d have to keep things warmer for sure.

  2. Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial

    My dad was the Heat Nazi when I was growing up, and I HATED IT because I hate being cold! While I do want to save on my own heating bill now, I’m not willing to get too extreme about it. We keep our thermostat set to 66 which is just about as cold as I can stand it, especially at night. I do make sure to always wear fuzzy socks, that really helps! When you’re feet are cold, it makes the rest of you feel even colder.

    1. KK

      My step-dad was totally the heat and hot water nazi (I guess that’s why bf’s desire to keep things cool doesn’t really bother me). Once we turn the heat on we’ll have to decide what’s warm enough. 66 is pretty cold for most people I’d imagine.

  3. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    LOL, we LOVE the soup Nazi episode and use some version of it around here all of the time for life in general. :-) I was being a heat Nazi until I remembered our precious little fish, and how they probably aren’t caring much for 63 degrees in the house. I may just get a better heater for them this weekend though and go back to being a heat Nazi. It’s kind of fun when we turn off the heat and night and then see how cold it’s gotten by morning. :-) We do try and turn off the heat during the day though, several times, to cut down on propane use.

    1. KK

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with practicing a little restriction (makes you appreciate things more once you have them, right?) Boyfriend would probably call my the grocery nazi. If we don’t have a coupon we don’t buy it.

  4. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction

    When we paid for oil, we were for sure crazy about our heat use. Now that we are renting again (and it’s included in our rent!) we have eased off the crazy heat-saving measures. We’re not wasteful, but we use more heat than when we were paying it directly. I can’t tell you how much I love sleeping under heavy/weighted blankets, and as soon as I get home and am relaxing I am under a blanket on the couch. It’s just what I do now. And then the cats pile on which keep me even cozier (realistically they are trying to steal my warmth/blankets warmth, but they add to mine as well).

    1. KK

      When I was renting I totally took heat for granted. Now that we have to pay it’s a whole different story. I totally forgot about my dog and two cat-warmers 😉 they definitely keep me warm. Our cats are total snuggle bugs.

  5. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

    Growing up my dad used to be the heat nazi. It was pretty cold in the winter times but we managed. He was the air conditioner nazi in the summer time! Now that I live in an apartment, I often find that the heat is on way too high and sometimes I have to open the windows. I wish I could control the thermostat. It seems like such a waste of money to have the heat so high…but I guess a lot of tenants like it that way. I notice that when I go to other people’s co-ops also. That is kind of unfair as the cost is probably reflected in the maintenance fees.

    1. KK

      My work office is a sauna these days. It’s like I have to dress for winter and summer at the same time. I’ve actually been running my air conditioner, which makes me feel bad, but there’s no way to keep it cool enough to be comfortable (and I like being hot normally).

  6. Demaish @ Borrowed Cents

    Growing up, I did not need A/C or heat because temperatures did not fluctuate a lot year round in my country. Right now our heat is still off even though there are some days I feel like I want to turn it on but that’s when we get the blanket and drink hot tea…lol

    1. KK

      It must be nice not to have big variations in the summer/winter. I feel like NYC is sweltering hot and gross in the summer, and really cold in the winter. Fortunately, I take public transportation to work these days, I don’t have to dig my car out of the snow the way I did in Maine.

  7. Michelle

    That is awesome that you haven’t had to turn it on yet! We have it on, but not too warm. I think it’s set at around 71 degrees. Luckily, Wes hates it when it gets too warm because he claims it gets “stuffy.” So I get to freeze my butt off and save money!

    I tend to always bundle up, and it does help us save money. I’ll wear a jacket, pants and snuggle under blankets.

    1. KK

      My parents were pretty impressed we haven’t turned on the heat yet (but they’re in Maine and Maine is already cold-below freezing at night) this time of year. I don’t mind bundling up. I’d rather be too cold than too hot.

  8. Michelle

    Heat us set at 68f, but our apartment is extremely drafty! We bought the plastic for windows and it seems to help . We also have a space heater so we can turn the heat off completely at night and during most of the day.

    1. KK

      Space heaters make a lot of sense. Then you can just heat up the room you’re in and not heat the whole house. When I was little my grandparents put plastic on their drafty windows (it was a 100 year old house).

  9. Kasey @ Debt Perception

    I turned on the heat one morning when it was 50 degrees in my apartment. Once it got above 60 I shut it off though and haven’t needed it since. It has been pretty warm this fall. Probably won’t resort to keeping the heat on until the temperatures drop below 50 during the day.

    1. KK

      We’ll definitely need to consider what’s our “breaking point” for turning on the heat. We have pets and we don’t want them to be uncomfortable or cold.

  10. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

    living in the city, our heat is controlled by the super and it’s usually pretty sweltering because those radiator heaters can’t really control it.

    I can take a lack of heat so long as my bedroom doesn’t get below 50 degrees at night. Past that and I can get sick even with a lot of covers because of my exposed head.

    1. KK

      I always hated not having control of my heat. I felt like I was wasting someone’s money when I opened my windows in the middle of the winter. My office has heat I can’t control and I’m always having to run the a/c.

  11. Erin @ My Alternate Life

    Haha, heat nazi.

    We don’t control our heat here (and it’s included in the rent) but at our last apartment we paid for heat. Our money saving tactic was turning it off completely every night until the temp went below 20 degrees. Yes, Fahrenheit. My husband gives off a crazy amount of body heat, so snuggling was enough to keep us warm. It was really hard to get out of bed in the morning though…

    1. KK

      Oh wow, you’re dead serious! 20 degrees would be too much for me to handle. I’d imagine anything below 50 degrees would be too much after a day or two. Hopefully the temps stay up for the rest of the month.

  12. Micro

    I don’t have any issues with heat but usually I have to fight B with the AC during the summer time. She has zero tolerance for heat so she will crank the AC into the 60’s. I get cold and then have to wear long sleeves just to stay warm, which really bugs me. Mainly because I’m thinking it’s 90 outside and I’m wearing longsleeves because I’m cold. At least in the winter time, she is okay with the house being a little cooler and just climbing under blankets.

    1. KK

      Bf runs the a/c constantly in the summer. It makes me nuts. I have to wear sweaters in August because he keeps things so chilly. I right now is probably the perfect time of year for both of us in terms of temperatures. Not too hot, not to cold.

  13. Natalie

    Gahhhhh the thermostat!!! So many horror stories related to it. The one thing I learned to NEVER. EVER. EVER. do is switch the heat between off and on when you’re not using it/using it. This can be 5x more expensive than just leaving it on at a lower temperature. Lesson learned the hard way after too many $200+ electric bills.

    1. KK

      Such a good point. Same thing goes for air conditioning. Better to keep it on at a moderate temperature than to keep turning it up and down and causing drastic temperature changes. Bf pays our heat and electric bills, I’ll have to ask him how much on average we pay.

  14. E.M.

    Our utilities are included in the rent, but our heat hasn’t turned on yet. Our landlords haven’t mentioned it and I haven’t been able to figure out how to turn the thermostats on. I’m honestly interested to see how long we can last, too, so I’ve been putting off asking. It hasn’t been too bad yet. I’m always cold and always layering, and I also sleep better with lots of blankets (though my boyfriend wakes up sweating). Glad to see someone else taking the challenge!

  15. KK

    Neat. Let’s keep each other updated on the “no heat challenge”.So far we’ve been pretty comfortable without the heat. I guess we’ll see when things start cooling off a little. That’s when I’ll need to added support not to give in and turn on the heat. Bf is way more warm blooded than me. He’s warm all the time, so he’s sweating and I’m freezing.

  16. Girl Meets Debt

    J is a heat nazi too lol. This might explain why I have 2 full drawers of cozy pjs! 😉

    1. KK

      I like to sleep cold, so cozy pjs sound nice to me. We have a set of LL Bean flannel sheets that will be going on the bed soon.

  17. Dear Debt

    Haha I love Seinfeld. It’s so cold in our house, we’ve put the heat on intermittently already. You are brave to go without heat for so long! We need to work on solutions though, as I our high last year was $100 per month for electricity, which is too much for our very small apartment.

    1. KK

      I just feel thankful we aren’t in Maine. My parents have been running their heat regularly for a while now. Our electric, gas and heat are all the same company so we get one bill. I’ll have to ask bf if it’s broken down by gas vs electric.

  18. Brian

    Haha, I don’t even watch Seinfeld and I know this reference – it’s a classic and can be used in so many different scenarios. Have fun with the heat nazi!

    1. KK

      I didn’t see a lot of Seinfeld, but I think everybody knows that reference. I guess a lot of the things we do are sort of “nazi” in nature to some people. But we try to have fun with it.

  19. Pauline @RFIndependence

    haha I am the AC nazi, I can’t sleep with AC unless it is 100 degrees outside, and that is a topic of long discussions. Now I just take a blanket and try not to think about the bill…

    1. KK

      Bf likes it cold so he’s always running the AC even if I find it cold. I guess it’s easier for me to wear an extra layer than for him to, well there’s nothing he could do. It’s a relationship sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  20. C. the Romanian

    Ah, I absolutely hate the cold weather, the lack of sun and the fact that we have to spend so much on keeping the house warm. Indeed, it’s been a pretty good fall so far in Romania too and we didn’t go too hardcore with the heating, but we do have a four months old in the house and we have to keep the temperature higher in his room and bathroom.

  21. DC @ Young Adult Money

    Neither my wife nor I are too crazy about keeping the heat down, but we do turn it down at night and when we are gone during the day. We also wear slippers, layers, seal our windows, etc. to fight the cold and keep the heat in!

  22. Edgar @ Degrees and Debt

    Yikes, I have been such a baby so far this Fall and have used my hear pretty much every day for short period of time since the temperature has dropped in the past few weeks. My condo is rather small so it heats up quick and I shut it right off until its too cold again. I tend to keep it off at night and it turns on based on schedule around 15 mins before I wake up so its toasty for my shower.

    I have an energy efficiency person coming next week as part of the Mass Save Program thru NStar which is totally free and they give tons of rebates upwards of thousands of dollars. I know for sure I will be getting rebates for insulation in my condo attic (its a town house two floors and an attic) since my neighbors did this. The thing that screws me in one way is that I am the corner unit so three of my four walls face the outdoors via brick and they feel frozen to the touch at night so I am sure that is causing some heat loss for me.

  23. Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com

    OK, so I want to know, what is the lowest temp your place has been at this year? Our home got down to 64 the other day. My wife thought it was ridiculously cold. But instead of flipping on the heater, I lit a fire in our wood-burning stove which quickly heated the place up to 75 degrees. Very frugal, especially if you can cut your own wood for free

  24. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    We have yet to use our heater, too! What helps is having warm robes and tons of blankets we like to pile on!

  25. Matthew

    I’m doing this myself, and hope to at least make it to the Winter Solstice. Lowest it has been in my apartment is 46 so far, currently residing at a nice average 50 degrees. It’s not so bad once you get used to it.

    If I could make it to spring I’d be most thrilled. I almost turned on my heat the first time it dipped below 50, but I felt this overwhelming feeling of defeat as I put my hand to the thermostat. Can’t have that now, so me and winter are having a staring contest at the moment.

    Good luck on keeping it chilly!

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