In order to save some money this winter (and future winters) with heating costs, I'm putting in a bunch of insulation. My home is from the turn of the previous century, has had work done to it by many people, but insulating was not something they spent much money on. We've had some cold winters that we've been here, resorting to space heaters and electric blankets. Our basement walls consists of field stones right next to the dirt, so it gets really cold down there and it flows through the house. I'm working on changing that this year.
This morning consisted of wrapping all of the hot water pipes in our basement with insulation so that we don't lose heat along the way to the faucets. They were $0.99/12 feet. I'll be picking up a hot-water blanket as well ($7.99), but uncertain how much that is going to help (our hot-water heater doesn't feel too hot from the outside).
I also started putting insulation in the basement rafters (not 100% up to code, but it will reduce the drafts from the basement), which wore me out a bit. Those of you looking to insulate, Menards has a rebate for the major brand they sell of insulation, for every $100 you spend, you'll get $25 back in store credit. It's only good until September 30th. I'm only using that brand for areas where I can't blow insulation (eg: the rafters I discussed above). I have more to do during the week.
For the best bang for your buck when DIY insulating, I've researched and decided to blow my own insulation into the attic next weekend. Menard's has a special near me (at least the last time I checked into it a month ago) where if you buy the blow-in insulation from them, you can rent their blower for free. Depending on how much you buy determines how long you can rent it for. Math wise, the blow-in is 50% cheaper if the blower is free to rent. The attic needs additional insulation and the floor beneath our kitchen is inches away from the ground, so I"ll be filling in that space as well.
Besides doing insulation, I also purchased storm doors this year. I figure it will help build a barrier for the wind as well. I also picked up aluminum foil tape today and am sealing all the leaks of the ducts. The tape wasn't cheap ($12), but I figure it will help in the long run. My neighbors are recommending the plastic over the windows, but I view them as too tacky and not really solving the problem (drafts). The last thing we'll be doing this year is insulating the
heating ducts, but I want to make sure I get all the leaks first with the foil tape before I cover up the problem.
Next year's big project will be putting in proper windows in the basement. Right now we have plywood, which isn't too insulating, but it's going to have to do until the $$$ shows up (and when we're closer to being out of debt).