Due to the expected rise in natural gas prices, we are determined to reduce our usage over last year to help defray the cost increase. I'd hate to be shaving my cable bills and Netflix only to have it all eaten up by my gas bill.
We have insulation, double-paned windows, and programmable thermostats so we need to dig down to the next level and find other low or no-cost ways to reduce gas usage. One thing we decided early on was not to turn our heat on until November 1st. This being New England, our downstairs is now 59 degrees (but upstairs is 62 which is somewhat tolerable). LaLa works from home as a freelance web designer, and I work from home most of the time (when I am not onsite at a client) so we look for ways of tolerating the dropping temps.
Hats and Warm Clothing
I kid you not...we wear little knit caps around the house and this is much warmer. We substitute hooded sweatshirts worn hood-up and that actually does double duty of keeping the neck warm. Turtlenecks, sweaters and wool socks are also adding to the retention of body heat.
We borrowed a civility from the British and have added daily tea time to our routine. The tea helps warm us up and the cookies don't suck.
We get great passive solar heating in our office but we've had days of gloomy raw cloudy days that has left us without this benefit. In the evening, we wrap small woolen throws around our shoulders that we picked up for a couple of bucks at the thrift store. If we are watching TV downstairs (aka "The meat locker") we have a bigger warmer blanket that we drape over our legs.
Window Treatment Management
We probably waited a bit too long to pull down the storm windows, but that's finally done. The other small thing we do is open the blinds during the day to capture whatever solar benefit we can, and close them when the light starts fading to help hold in a small amount of heat.
We're just determined to get to November 1 without heating assistance and will likely not be living like this all winter. I am a complete wuss about the cold and LaLa's from California so.... ;)
Before we do turn on the heat, we will re-program our thermostats to be a little lower than last year and do some real thinking about timing and our heating zones to make sure we're only heating what we use automatically and leaving everything else to "on demand".