7 Tips for Surviving an Australian Winter on a Budget

Grab your jumpers and beanies, it’s winter time here in Australia! While the northern-most regions of the country will continue to experience their usual year-round tropical weather, things are getting a little chilly further south. Snow is already falling in alpine areas, while the Adelaide CBD has experienced its coldest morning temperature recorded since 1944!

We’ve put together seven handy tips to keep you warm this winter, without blowing your budget on heating bills.

If you are interested in understanding your budget, make sure to use our Cost of Living Calculator.

1.  Be strategic about windows and curtains

What time of day does the sun shine through your windows?  When it does, open your curtains to soak up the heat. Once the sun’s gone, close them up to keep out the winter chill. If you want to stay extra warm, you can even find cheap thermal curtains available online or at Spotlight to keep the house better insulated.

2.  Become an expert on your heater

If you have heaters installed at your place, make sure they’re working correctly and that nothing is sitting in front of or on top of them. If you’re renting and the installed heaters aren’t working, remember that your landlord has a responsibility to make sure that they are.

You should also find out if you have a gas or electric heater and then check if you’re getting a good deal from your energy supplier. The Australian Energy Regulator has some great online tools to help you compare the prices of different energy offers.

If you plan on buying a heater, do some research. Use this guide from Sustainability Victoria to know what to look for.

3.  Close up unused rooms

Keep the heat where you need it most by always shutting the doors on any rooms you’re not using, especially when you have the heater running. If you or your housemates are out during the day, keep your bedroom doors closed to keep the central living area warm, then you can re-open doors to rooms as you need them.

4.  Get door draught blockers

Cold air often creeps in underneath doors, and it’s estimated that up to 25% of heat loss in winter is caused by ‘air leakage’ – a.k.a. draughts. ‘Snake’ draught stoppers are a budget way of keeping out a lot of cold air. You can even make one yourself, or find cheap ones at Bunnings Warehouse or any large department store like Kmart or Target.

5.  Stay warm while you sit

You’re most likely to want to turn the heater up when you’re sitting still because your body temperature will naturally start to drop. Instead, use a hot water bottle, blanket or put on some extra layers of clothes to prevent being tempted to turn the heater on while you’re lounging around. You generally lose the most heat from your hands and feet, so remember to wear socks (and gloves, if you need!).

6.  Cover bare floors

Place rugs and mats on top of any bare floors to stop chill from rising. Thicker rugs tend to insulate rooms better, and wool is one of the top insulators. However, wool rugs can be expensive. Instead, you can opt for cotton, acrylic and nylon rugs and mats – they will provide good insulation and are more affordable (they just won’t be as durable). IKEA have a huge range of rugs and mats available to suit anyone’s design preferences.

7.  Shop smart for winter clothes

Don’t spend unnecessarily – always read the labels when you shop for winter clothes. Avoid cotton and look for wool, recycled polyester and items with ‘down’ filling. Good places to look for inexpensive winter clothes include second-hand stores, eBay, Depop or even Facebook Marketplace – plus, you’ll be shopping sustainably by buying second-hand items! If you want to invest in items that will last years and years, Patagonia has a whole collection of recycled-fabric winter clothing. Nylon is particularly good for windproof outer layers. There’s also no harm in getting some thermal underwear for extra chilly days.

You can invest in other thermal garments, like undershirts, too, to keep you warm for winters to come. Uniqlo and Target offer a number of inexpensive thermal clothing options you can layer underneath jumpers to keep extra warm.

Stay warm this winter and remember, there’s always a scorching hot, sunny Aussie summer waiting around the corner, packed with beach days…