Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everybody!  Opening our hearts and homes this Holiday Season, we often find this is also when outside temps take their customary dive.  With that in mind, this week’s Column is dedicated to a $150 investment that can safely save you hundreds or more each Winter, and keep your home at luxurious temperatures – a space heater!

For the majority of households, heating costs are a significant expense.  Many believe that saving money in wintertime requires uncomfortably cold temps in their own house and hunkering down until Springtime – not true!  Today’s quality space heaters save your household significant cash, and keep living spaces at a gorgeous temperature (easily 70 or higher) throughout the winter.  But which one is best for your needs?  Let’s look into two different types, and how to utilize them best for maximum effect.

1 – Kerosene heaters.  Folks, growing up in a fabulously frugal household, in the loveliest of warm wintertime homes, these were a wintertime staple.  Super-safe back in the 1980’s when I first learned how to operate them as a teenager, even safer now, these use very little fuel and keep living spaces in our home at a fabulous 70 degrees, even when outside temps are at zero or below.  It’s fabulous.  Easy to move, easy to operate, with every new-age safety feature you can imagine, these heaters are even more appealing to me now, especially with a tight budget in a household with a teenager and a pre-teen.  We keep little-used areas of our home at 53 degrees (you read that right), and with our living areas closed off with classy curtains, we keep the kitchen, playroom, family room, powder room and Den (approx. 1100 square feet) at a comfortable 70 degrees, with one heater.  Check them out and find the one best suited for your square footage.

2 – Ceramic Heaters – For all of my praise of kerosene heaters, I realize they’re not for everyone.  Households with very young children, pets, those who have trouble maneuvering or filling a kerosene heater, might love one of the newer ceramic heaters (think Edenpure).  They are outstanding, economical, and super-safe for everyone in the family – their ads feature a cat sitting safely atop the heater as the gentle heat jets out the side!

Once you find the heater that fits your needs, the next step is blocking off your busiest living spaces to keep the heat right where you want it.  In our Victorian, and older homes in general, curtains on spring rods placed in standard doorways are perfect for blocking in the heat.  For today’s newer architecture with lovely soaring ceilings and open entryways, give some thought to corralling your family’s wintertime reading, socializing and TV watching into a smaller side room, perhaps on an upper floor where the heat naturally rises – you’d be amazed how a lovely warm room gravitates your family members to it.  Stay warm, everybody – Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living.  “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs on WNPV 1440 / 98.5 , and Nationwide via the BizTalk Radio Network. She was raised in Delaware County, works in Montgomery County, and resides in Chester County with her husband and kids.  She is honored to be connected with the crew at the Detox Treatment Help Line (800-287-7891) and Elite Rehab (800-932-4082) to help get the word out about their proven strategies to steer the ones you love away from drug abuse. You can find her online at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com