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A Seasonal Guide to Ingeniously Cost-Effective Ideas

 - Feb 12, 2012
References: trendhunter
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Picture this: You look out your window to a balmy minus ten degrees in the dead of December. After sulking around your even more tropical house where each exhale of breath leaves a trail of fine mist, you receive a bill in the mail for hydro that’s even bigger than your hate for this vile time of year. Rather than needlessly banging your head against a cold, frigid wall, how about looking to to make the most of the months where ice-skating to work is an actual possibility? Winter doesn’t have to be all about expensive heating costs or knee-high sludge hills of melted snow. Instead, use this frosty time of year to give your credit card a break with a little thrifty thinking. Although winter enjoys kicking butt 99% of the time, this doesn’t mean you have to succumb to its icy grasp.

From mittens that will make your loved one swoon to vintage shopping with a twist, these five wintertime thriftovations are just what the doctor ordered to get any savvy saver through the depths of the darker months. Trend Hunter is not here to pay your last month’s heating bill, but we are here to shed light on several ingenious ways of stretching your not-so-flexible budget. Oh yes, we also threw in a thrifty way to travel when not worrying about snow. Surprisingly, not everyone lives in a place where minus thirty is a standard February day!

1. Cozy Companion Muffs

You know that feeling you get when you start falling for someone? That tingling sensation that starts at your fingertips and slowly works its way around your entire body? In the summer that’s known as love, in the winter it’s called frostbite. For lovers, it is a high-risk situation when these two feelings are confused, and can result in serious consequence. To avoid this uncomfortable sensation, the I Sew Naked Heart-Shaped Mitten is here to help lovers enjoy chilly midnight strolls instead of busting a buck at the local fine-dining restaurant. Even better, for a mere $18 US, this toasty glove is basically a two-for-one deal. By splitting the cost and sharing this heart-shaped mitt with your significant other, you can show consistent affection and keep your fingers from falling off during long walks under a starry night.

2. Toasty-Toed Stockings

A wise man known as Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world there is nothing that is certain except death and taxes." Clearly, this man did not go to university in the 21st century, a time when I first learned that there is nothing more certain than heating bills costing a small fortune. To save a buck, I did what most undergrads did and lived in a house that resembled arctic temperatures. Excessive blankets sufficed at times, but when it came to feet, my Dollar Store slippers weren’t quite enough to keep out the cold.

Now, if I had known pure bliss was only a one-time payment away, I would have splurged on these $24.95 US battery-powered socks and enjoyed the flow of blood below my ankles each night. That’s right, the Hammacher Schlemmer socks stay heated for a full 12 hours: long enough to keep the cold away and strong enough to ensure movement in every toe. The only thing you’ll be worrying about with these warmers is making sure your pesky roommate doesn’t steal them for himself.

3. Sustainable Cuddly Critter Scarves

Have you ever tried to assert your sense of individual style during the winter months? When temperatures hit below zero, nothing screams, "I’m sexy and I know it" more than an oversized coat. However, the onset of winter doesn’t have to mean all fashion sense goes out the window. There are plenty of options when it comes to dressing up that parka-covered outfit and showing off your savvy style. The Recycled Cotton Animal Stoles are not only thrifty, being made out of reusable material and leftover goods from clothing factories, but also offer a cute quip in the form of a critter around your neck. On sale now for $14.99 each, these adorable scarves are a great way to enforce your standout style when a massive jacket covers half your outfit. What’s more, the sustainable material and eco-friendly nature of these scarves ensure all thrifty buyers are making the earth that little bit better.

4. Vintage Shopping Online

For some, the best thing to do on a cold winter day is sit curled up next to the fireplace with a warm cup of coco in hand. For others, this night in is equivalent to being stuck in the panic room – what the heck are you supposed to do for an entire evening by yourself? Sit and listen to Frank Sinatra swoon you to sleep while that all-so-tempting hot chocolate falls from hand onto the only pair of pants you could afford this month? For those who like to be consistently entertained in a thrifty manner, is here to relieve you of your bored night in, and offer some virtual vintage shopping: web style. This oh-so-handy store provides those looking to save their precious pennies a new way to stay entertained, and also do their part in making the world a better place. Instead of baring the winter breeze and questionable aromas coming from your local Goodwill store, enjoy the comfort of your home while vintage shopping. You can also donate items, and the proceeds will then go to one of four separate charities.

5. Homeless Cocoon Shelters

If you are one of the many individuals who got sucked into watching the film ‘Hostel’ before backpacking around the world, you may be a little wary of laying your head to rest beside an aggressive-looking foreigner in who-knows-where Brazil. To keep your ankles and appendages in tact without spending a small fortune on a hotel, you decide to opt for a more public sleeping arrangement: the great outdoors.


Pardon my outbreak. That was my initial reaction to anyone using this sort of reasoning; however, after stumbling across this Hwang Kim creation, catching a few Z’s on the streets doesn’t seem all that bad. This cocoon-like abode is perfect for the wandering traveler on a budget. Granted, during the winter months it could get a little chilly, but this just means you’ll have to rough it like a true nomad. The design is made from cardboard flaps and plastic buttons, meaning your plush pad is 100% recyclable. Not only do you save money by sleeping like a true traveler, but you also save the world! Well, almost.