There's a really bad cold snap going on in much of the country, and you may be wondering, "How can I avoid getting frostbite in my home without paying exorbidant gas or electric fees?" Well, allow your old friend, former broke-ass college student turned broke-ass non-student ICN help you find a way to keep warm without breaking your budget:

1) Move to a place where the electricity is paid. My first place was in a post WWII housing development that had that deal, and I abused the hell out of the arrangement. There was no central air, but you could have a wall AC unit, and I had a big one that ran 24/7. Same with the heat in the winter. Oh, I was going to be out of town for a week? Screw that—I wanted it comfortable when I got home. Wasting precious natural resources? Allow me to reiterate the key part: utilities were included in the rent. Free electricity doesn't harm the environment; the stuff you have to pay for does. I cannot stress this enough: move to a place with free utilities, and abuse your privileges as much as possible. Chances are there are more than enough old people in the building who refuse to turn the lights on because they grew up during the Depression to offset your carbon footprint.

2) Move underground. Another early apartment was in the basement of the building. I turned the heater on exactly twice in my year there, when it got to be ten below outside. Other than that, the insulating power of the earth kept the apartment plenty comfortable with just a sweater thrown on.

3) Move to an apartment with a malfunctioning heating unit. I once lived in a place with a heater that had clearly been built and installed during the Coolidge administration, and I was so afraid of getting carbon monoxide poisoning that I never turned the thing on. Here is a good place to add another useful tip: if you think that living in an apartment in a rickety old house with no heat will make life an exciting, La Boeheme-like adventure, it will not. It will suck balls. But it will be a great money saver.

I bring this up because the heater in my current apartment doesn't work. Ordinarily that's not a problem, as I'm pretty comfortable in cold weather, but I figured, what the heck, it's pretty chilly out, so I'll let the apartment manager know. She said that she could get the maintenance guy out right away, but I, being a moron, said, "Nah, I can handle the cold. Besides, I'd need to straighten things up a bit. Monday should be fine." Sitting here now, seeing my breath inside my living room, I'm starting to question the wisdom of that. Plus I think the hypothermia might be affecting my brain. On the plus side, my electric bill for last month was amazing.


Now if you'll excuse me, I think I heard people walking outside in the corridor, and while I have no reason to believe they're coming after me, I have to sit by my door with a baseball bat just in case.