Home / Stay Warm Cheap: Tips from the Andes and the Inuit

Stay Warm Cheap: Tips from the Andes and the Inuit

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Here in the Andes, almost no one uses a heater. That's for the rich folks. When it is snowing outside, we put on lots of layers of clothes. However, it doesn't get much below freezing here, since we are so close to the equator. So, if you live in a more artic zone, you can save money the Inuit Way.


To save money on heating and stay warm when temperatures drop to minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, dig a hole. (Of course, the hole is best dug in Summer. Plan ahead!). Traditional Inuit houses are big holes in the ground. Line the hole with tree trunks, for stability. Cover the hole with a tree trunk roof, about a foot above ground level.

Put a single small window in the log wall (yes, above ground level). This window never opens. It is your porch light. Build a loft bed.

Light a candle. (The ancestors as recent as circa 1950 A.D. used a whale fat lamp with a moss or lichen wick, but candles are easier to come by nowadays).
NOTE: The candle must be kept lit 24 hours a day. This is your sole heat source.

The excellent insulation of your Inuit-style house will keep the heat in and let it accumulate. Hang out on your loft bed, near the ceiling. It will get so toasty warm you can hang out in the nude. Store your perishable food on the floor. It is nature's icebox.

To make the front door, dig a tunnel. Make it bend like a kitchen sink drain pipe. The cold will sink in from outside and be trapped in the bend. You will climb up the next part of the tunnel to enter your home at loft-bed-level where it will be cozy warm. Save tons of money on your heating bills!

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About Lynette Yetter

Lynette Yetter is the author of the books "72 Money Saving Tips for the 99%" and "Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace, a novel." Lynette is a permanent resident of Bolivia and a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Reed College.
  • Francisco Arellano

    Go Lynette! In the spirit of Joan of Arc, Florence Nightengale, and Kaneko Ikeda create waves of peace. I support you 100%.

  • Thank you, Frank! You’re the BEST! And I support your Brave New Blog on blogspot.

    Un abrazo!

  • Are you really in the Andes, or in SoCal?

    If I turned off my heat, my keyboard would not work. However, my husband IS digging a hole in the backyard in advance of our eventual demise. It is legal to bury loved ones in your backyard here. I guess we could use the hole to warm up.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Well said, Joanne.

    My neck of the woods is also way too cold to take part in this abstemiously frugal experiment. Plus, if I’m trying to save money & find work, where do I get the resources to get this thing up & runnin’?

    Honestly, if you’ve already spent the money on insulating your home properly you wouldn’t have to take such drastic measures.

  • I am in La Paz, Bolivia. Where are you, Joanne?

  • Thanks for your comment, Brian. I love your vocabulary. Rarely do I encounter the word, “abstemiously.”