Whether you are pinching pennies this summer because you are saving for a vacation, sending a child off to college, or trying to lower your debt, it can be challenging to save money while you are tempted to crank down the A/C to beat the summer heat. Or, maybe you don’t have air conditioning and really don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars purchasing window units and paying astronomical electric bills. No matter how you look at it, staying cool during the summer can be hard on you and your wallet.
The good news is, there are dozens of tricks to cooling off that don’t require a great deal of money. Some of our tips are completely free, while others require a bit of money up front to save a lot of cash in the long run. We also found ways to cool off all of the members of your family, from newborns to senior citizens – we even include ways to keep your four-legged family members cool this summer. So, kick back and relax a little more easily this summer knowing that you won’t be stifling while saving your hard-earned money.
Image via Flickr by philandpam
1. Sleep Alone
Sometimes, the worst part of a hot summer is trying to sleep through a sticky summer night. This Greatist blog post by Sophia Breene offers 24 ways to survive hot summer nights without air conditioning, and we think her tip to sleep alone makes perfect sense. Your partner may not agree, but if you want to stay cool without shelling out any money, opt to be a lone wolf at bedtime. As Sophia points out, “cuddling with a partner increases body heat, making the bed a sticky, sweaty pit of despair instead of a cool, calm oasis.”
Other tips we like from Greatist:
- Choose lightweight cotton sheets instead of satin, silk, or polyester
- Stick a hot water bottle in the freezer to make an ice pack for your bed
- Point box fans out the windows to push out the hot air
2. Put Your Moisturizer or Lotion in the Fridge
GoodtoKnow is a leading women’s lifestyle website from the UK that delivers recipes, health information, and money-saving advice. Their blog post, 11 Ingenious Ways to Cool Down Fast, offers a way to cool off that we never considered: put your moisturizer and other lotions in the fridge. Imagine how good it will feel to put on your chilled moisturizer or lotion during those hottest of summer days.
Other tips we like from GoodtoKnow:
- If you’re suffering from heat rash, don’t apply scented lotions or moisturizers
- Run cold water through your hair
- Freeze your water bottle so you’ll have a cool drink that lasts for hours
3. Make Your Own Slip N’ Slide
In this Her Campus blog post, Erica Avesian gives us permission to invoke our inner child while cooling down by suggesting we make our own slip n’ slide. If you have kids, there is a good chance your slip n’ slide is torn from last year, anyway, so you might as well save some money and do a DIY slip n’ slide by finding an old tarp, spraying it with a hose, and enjoying the cold, slippery ride.
Other tips we like from HerCampus:
- Snack on frozen fruit
- Make iced coffee with the leftover morning coffee
- Put your pillow in the freezer right before bed
4. Eat Small Meals More Often
Natasha Courtnay-Smith and Charlotte Dovey offer 20 hot tips to stay cool in this Daily Mail post. Our favorite is one that we hadn’t previously considered: eat small meals more often. As they explain, “the larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.”
Other tips we like from DailyMail.com:
- Spend more time in your basement during the hottest hours of the day
- Avoid alcohol because it dehydrates the body
- Replace your usual body moisturizer with a cooling aloe vera product in the morning and at night to help lower your skin temperature
5. Peppermint Tea
In a delightful infographic for Secret Tips from the Yumiverse, comic book artist and illustrator Yumi Sakugawa offers 8 Weird Ways to Cool Down for Summer. The one weird way that struck our fancy was creating a cooling tea mist. Yumi suggests that we brew peppermint tea in a pot and chill it in the refrigerator. Then, pour it into a spray body and use it was a body spray.
Other tips we like from Secret Tips from the Yumiverse:
- Place cold, thin cucumber slices on your face and lie down
- Dip your feet in a bowl of cold water
- Curl your tongue and inhale through your mouth; then, exhale through your nose and repeat
6. Go Tropical
The Mother Nature Network blog post, 5 Unusual Ways to Stay Cool by Chris Baskind, encourages you to go tropical to beat the summer heat. Chris suggests that we do as those who live in tropical climates do when the temperatures rise in our area by wearing loose, lightweight cotton and linen clothing. Specific tropical clothing suggestions include the guayabera, or Mexican wedding shirt, madras, and seersucker.
Other tips we like from Mother Nature Network:
- Fill a hot water bottle with ice water and cool your ankles and the back of your knees
- Choose a cool, absorbent pillow of organic cotton
- Avoid large, protein-laden meals
7. Eat Spicy Food
Cat Rocketship of Offbeat Home & Life offers her best advice for surviving the summer heat: “outsmart the heat, stay cool, and save money.” One of her tips for achieving your summer strategy is to eat spicy food. As she points out, capsaicin in hot foods triggers perspiration; by eating the spicy food, you are sweating and cooling off without raising your body temperature. We especially appreciate the spicy egg and feta burritos recipe Cat includes to get us on track for sweating away the heat.
Other tips we like from Offbeat Home & Life:
- Dab a little rubbing alcohol on your wrists, ankles, neck, and forehead, but be sure to do it in moderation and keep it away from children
- After you make tea, save the tea bags and wrap them in a towel or seal them in an airtight container to keep in the moisture. Then, chill them in the fridge for a bit. When you’re heating up, wrap the chilled tea bags around your wrists
- Fill a gym sock with rice, tie off the end, and throw the whole thing in the freezer. Then, at bedtime, slip the sock under your sheets at the foot of your bed to cool you off enough to fall asleep
8. Cool Culture
Instead of soaking up the hot sun, SheKnows recommends that you soak up some culture by visiting museums. Art museums, science museums, history museums, and children’s museums are perfect places to visit to escape the heat, and you can check to see if there are any special exhibits scheduled to make your visit even more enjoyable. Most museums have free admission for children of a certain age, so you can get cooled off in their air conditioning without breaking your budget.
Other tips we like from SheKnows:
- Float down a local river in tubes and spend the day cooling off in the chilly water
- Visit a movie theater to take advantage of their air conditioning and look for popcorn and drink coupons before you go; remember, matinees are typically less expensive
- Go ice skating at a local indoor rink
9. Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades
This Home Guide for SFGate by Damarious Page offers tips and advice for cooling single rooms or keeping your home cool when air conditioning is unavailable. One tip some people forget to follow during the summer months is to reverse their ceiling fan blade rotation from the winter setting. For summer weather, make sure the blades are turning in a clockwise direction, pushing a fast, cooling breeze down and into the room.
Other tips we like from SFGate:
- Invest in box fans to fit inside open windows to circulate air in and out of the room
- Turn off heat-generating appliances like desktop computers and television sets
- Allow cold air in at night and then close windows as the daytime temperature rises
Image via Flickr by payitforwardphotos
10. Ice Cube Games
Kids love to play with ice, and you can make it even more fun by playing the ice cube games suggested by the National Wildlife Federation for Kids. Jazz up your ice cubes by adding food coloring to the water in the ice cube trays before freezing them. You also can have races to see how quickly you can melt the ice cube and how quickly you can pick up the ice cubes with your feet. Let your imagination run wild while cooling off with brightly colored ice cubes.
Other tips we like from National Wildlife Federation for Kids:
- Put on a blindfold and see if you can remove ice cubes from a bucket using only your feet
- Go on an ice cube treasure hunt
- Make ice sculptures
11. Lay Low
Getting sleep on the sweltering summer nights is tough, especially if you have bedrooms on an upper level of your home or if you live in an upper-level apartment. It’s not just hard to fall asleep when you’re hot, but it’s hard to stay asleep when you’re hot. Deane Alban recommends that you get as low as possible for summer sleep, in her Be Brain Fit article, Too Hot to Sleep? 7 Ways to Cool Down. One solution is to sleep on the floor instead of in your bed, because it may be a few degrees cooler. Or, if you can, sleep in a lower level of your home – the basement is an ideal option.
Other tips we like from Be Brain Fit:
- Rinse your hands, face, and feet again with tepid water immediately before getting into bed
- Put a small portable fan on your nightstand
- Keep a damp washcloth beside your bed to dampen wrists, face, or neck as needed
12. Stay Hydrated
Medical author Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler and medical editor Dr. William C. Shiel, Jr., of MedicineNet.com, remind us that keeping cool isn’t just about being comfortable, but is an important way of avoiding serious heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. One of the simplest ways to stay cool and remain healthy during the hot summer months is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of cool water. Sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes can also help you to stay hydrated. Just remember to avoid sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
Other tips we like from MedicineNet.com:
- Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick, refreshing spray to your face
- Remove your cap or hat and pour ice water into it, and then quickly invert it and place it on your head
- Check to see whether your area has cooling centers that are open to the public on hot days
13. Keep Out the Heat
The National Sleep Foundation shares information about the importance and benefits of sleep, and their article, Sleeping When It Is Blistering Hot, offers some helpful tips for getting restful sleep, even during the dog days of summer. Preparing your sleep environment to prevent excessive heat build-up is a smart way to sleep more comfortably and save on your electric bills, whether you run your air conditioner or fans to stay cool. First, close your windows if the temperature outside is much hotter than inside. Also, close your blinds during the day to keep out sunlight. At night time, open your windows when the temperature drops below the temperature inside your home.
Other tips we like from National Sleep Foundation:
- Consider asking friends or family who have cooler homes if you can stay with them for a few nights
- Sleep outdoors if it becomes too difficult or costly to cool off your home – just remember to protect yourself against mosquitoes and other insects
- Spray yourself with cool water before going to bed
14. Cool Down Pulse Points
Pouring water over your wrists and neck helps you cool off quickly, but Whitson Gordon’s Lifehacker post, Know Your Body’s Quick-Cooling Spots, provides information about all of the body’s best cooling spots and the most effective ways to use them. By getting to know your pulse points, the “areas where you can feel your pulse because your blood vessels are close to the surface of your skin,” you can cool down your blood and body temperature by putting the areas in contact with cool water. The best pulse points to cool down are the insides of your elbows and knees, the tops of your feet, and insides of your ankles, your inner thighs, and the area of your head near your temple, just in front of your ear.
Other tips we like from Cool Down Pulse Points:
- Wrap a damp bandanna or a homemade cooling scarf around your wrist, elbow, or neck
- Wrap ice cubes in a cloth and place them on your pulse points for the amount of time that is comfortable for you
- Stay out of the hot sun and find a comfortable, cool place to rest while cooling down your pulse points
15. Take the Dog for a Swim
Cesar Millan is famous for his work with dogs and their owners. He also understands the importance of keeping your dogs cool when summer sizzles. According to Cesar, “the best activity you can do in summertime or hot weather is swimming. Instead of walking the dog, take the dog on a swim!” Not only will you and your pooch cool down, but you will bond during the experience as well.
Other tips we like from Cesar’s Way:
- Exercise your dog early in the morning or late at night
- Use doggie boots to protect dogs from the heat of the ground
- Watch for signs of dehydration in your dog, including excessive drooling, lethargy, bloodshot eyes, and paleness
16. Shady Resting Areas
Canidae’s Responsible Pet Ownership Blog is a terrific resource for keeping your pets healthy and happy. In her blog post, Tips to Help Your Dog Stay Cool in Hot Weather, Laurie Darroch reminds us that dogs have a tough time cooling down because they have less efficient body cooling systems than we do. So, if you are having trouble cooling down, just imagine how your dog feels. One budget-friendly tip for keeping your dog (and yourself) cool this summer is to rest in a shady, cool area. Your dog may prefer to stretch out on a cool tile floor or in the shade of an outside tree. He will know how to find the cool spots, so you can follow him to those areas and cool off together.
Other tips we like from Canidae’s Responsible Pet Ownership Blog:
- Do not leave a dog outside in the heat without a place to find relief from the sun
- Do not leave your dog in a hot car or in tight, closed spaces with little or no ventilation
- Encourage your dog to engage in water play to cool down
17. Avoid Excessive Exercise
The German Shepherd Rescue of Southeastern Pennsylvania (GSR-SP) is devoted to saving and rehoming purebred German Shepherds that have been abandoned, orphaned, left at a shelter, or are in need of a home. Because dogs’ health and safety is at the heart of all they do, the GSR-SP provides summer safety tips for keeping your dog comfortable and healthy in the heat of summer. One that is extremely important is to avoid excessive exercise with your dog. On especially hot or humid days, try to save the exercise for early in the morning or after sunset. Encourage puppies and dogs to take breaks from play to cool off on hot days as well.
Other tips we like form German Shepherd Rescue of Southeastern Pennsylvania:
- Dogs may be less active when it is hot, so they need to eat less than in cold weather; adjust the amount of food to suit your dog’s activity level and appetite
- Don’t get a close clip that is short enough to allow your dog to get a sunburn
- Do not allow your dog to drink seawater or lake water; if you take your dog on vacation with you, take water for him to drink
18. Get Misty
Just like babies, puppies are more susceptible to heat-related problems than adult dogs. Amy Shojai’s 9 Ways to Keep Puppies Cool offers smart tips for keeping puppies cool on hot days. One tip we especially like is to get misty. Amy suggests using misting fans or aerosols that put water into the air because they lower the temperature and keep pet fur damp. You can place these on the porch or deck, or near the puppy playpen to help puppies cool off when the water evaporates.
Other tips we like from About Home:
- Dig a bucket-size hole and fit the watering pail inside so the puppy can’t tip it over
- Create a water fountain for puppies with a faucet attachment or specialized attachment available from pet product stores
- Freeze your puppy’s treats
19. Icy Relief
Cats need to stay cool during the summer months, too, and JaneA Kelley of Catster shares her 10 Ways to Keep Your Cat Cool in Summer Heat to help cat owners and lovers make their feline friends more comfortable. Ice can be a simple, affordable way to cool down your cat. One way to use ice to help your cat stay cool is to drop three or four cubes into her water bowl before you head out on a hot day. Another tip is to fill a small soda bottle with cold water and freeze it overnight. In the morning, wrap the bottle in a towel and place it in your cat’s favorite lounging spot.
Other tips we like from Catster:
- Place a small box fan on the floor near your air conditioner or open window so your cat can enjoy the breeze blowing through her fur
- Talk to your vet about whether your cat could benefit from a shave or haircut to help her stay cool during the summer
- Stroke your cat with a damp washcloth or paper towel
Image via Flickr by smcgee
20. Stay Off Hot Pavement
The Human Society of Charlotte, North Carolina, offers some hot weather tips for dogs so their owners can keep them safe and cool during the summer. There are a few simple steps you can take without shelling out any extra money to protect your dog from heat-related problems, including staying off hot pavement. Just as you don’t like to walk on hot pavement when it’s hot, your dog does not like to walk on it either. Dogs’ paw pads can easily burn on hot pavement, so it is better for you to avoid those surfaces when walking your dog.
Other tips we like from Humane Society of Charlotte:
- Remember that short-snouted dogs have a more difficult time cooling down because of their shorter nasal passages
- Prevent sunburn on your dog’s ear tips, bridge of the nose, around the eyes, and abdomen by purchasing sunscreen made for dogs and resting in the shade
- Pack extra water for your dog and make sure his water bowl is always full and close by
21. Make Your House More Efficient
In this Rodale’s Organic Life article, Jean Nick offers energy-free ways to cool your home. Jean admits that it may be tempting to run the air conditioner, but knowing when to let the air in and when to keep the sun out helps you keep your house cool. Another tip is to make your house more efficient. Sealing air leaks often is an inexpensive way to cool your house in summer and warm it in winter and lower your energy bills. You also can add insulation, which is an up-front investment that pays of by saving you money year-round.
Other tips we like from Rodale’s Organic Life:
- Don’t add heat to the indoor air after you make your home less leaky; for example, don’t use the oven or stovetop or dishwasher during the hot afternoon
- Seriously consider replacing any A/C unit that is older than 10 years with a newer, more efficient model to save on your electricity bill
- Consider investing in insulated window coverings that are more effective at blocking the heat portion of the sunshine that comes in through the glass and frame to save on your electricity bill
22. Water Battle
Daniel Branch is the man behind Personal Development 123 and Daniel’s Personal Development Blog. He offers 50 Things To Do On a Hot Day to help take your mind off of the heat and help you cool down at the same time. Some of his ideas will make you feel young at heart, and others will make you feel like an adventurer, but they all will make you feel cooler and better equipped to deal with the summer heat. One tip that anyone can do to cool off is to engage in a water battle. Daniel recommends filling water pistols with cold water and squirting friends and family to cool off in a fun and entertaining way.
Other tips we like from Daniel’s Personal Development Blog:
- Take a picnic to the beach, park, or other cool spot
- Fill a plastic child’s swimming pool with water and ice and then jump in – turn it into a competition by seeing how long you can stand it before you have to get out
- Go to a shopping mall and people watch while relaxing in their air conditioning
23. Wind Tunnel
In this Good Housekeeping article, Dan Shapley offers 8 ways to stay cool without air conditioning. His tips also are appropriate for people who do have air conditioning but want to save energy and money by reducing the need to use it. One of his least expensive DIY ideas is to create a wind tunnel on nights that have cool breezes. Set one fan facing in on the side of your home that receives the wind, and then place another fan facing out on the opposite end of the house, in order to maximize the power of the natural, cool breeze.
Other tips we like from Good Housekeeping:
- Spritz yourself with a spray bottle while seated in front of a fan
- Eat cool meals like a simple watermelon salad or a cold soup
- Plant trees with broad leaves strategically on the east and west sides of your home to provide shade
24. Cucumbers and Watermelon
Woman’s Day seeks “to help you find value every day,” and they certainly do that in their article, Beat the Heat Without Spending a Dime. Their 10 unique tips are some of the most creative ones we have come across, and their suggestion to eat fruits and vegetables high in water content is a smart way to cool off during the summer. Cucumbers and watermelon are among the best foods that help you stay hydrated, but you can also eat iceberg lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, and others that are full of water. The other good news is, you can grow a lot of these hydrating foods in your own garden and save money at the grocery store.
Other tips we like from Woman’s Day:
- Chew a piece of gum that contains menthol or use lotions and sops that contain mint or menthol
- Avoid weighing down your hair with heavy product so that air can contact your scalp and cool your head
- Avoid ice cream that actually raises body temperature as your body digests and stores the calories
25. Popsicles for Pooches
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is a national animal welfare organization dedicated to protecting animals and preventing animal cruelty. They offer tips for keeping pets safe in the heating and helping them cool down, including making a batch of quick and easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs. If you don’t want to use peanut butter, there are other options for whipping up some popsicles for your pooches. Of course, it’s more important to always provide cool water for your pets, even when they are inside on hot summer days.
Other tips we like from Human Society of the United States:
- Be more cautious on humid days and watch your pet for signs of heat stroke
- Don’t just rely on a fan to cool off your pet because they don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people
- Know how to treat a pet suffering from heat stroke
26. Monitor the Outside Temperature
Springs Bargains share the best deals in Colorado Springs. Because they are geared toward helping you save money, Springs Bargains is a great resource for inexpensive ways to cool off during the summer. In her Springs Bargains article, How to Keep Your House Cool Without An Air Conditioner, Carrie Isaac gives detailed advice for keeping your home cool during the summer. One of her best tips is to monitor the outside temperature. She recommends that you start monitoring the outside temperature at 5pm every day. As soon as the outside temperature drops below the inside temperature, pull the cold air in and push the hot air out by creating a cross-breeze with box fans in the windows.
Other tips we like from Springs Bargains:
- Look for box fans on clearance at the end of summer
- Cool off the house as low as you can get it and then turn on your fan to circulate it and distribute the cooler air throughout the house
- As soon as you’ve cooled off your house and circulated the air, close the windows and leave them shut
27. Cold Pet Food
Dr. Ihor Basko is a long-term veterinarian and animal lover who specializes in acupuncture, diet therapy, and holistic care. Known as the holistic vet, Dr. Basko offers eight tips to keep your pets cool during the summer. One of his simple tips is to feed your dog cold food. He recommends feeding your dog cold home-cooked meals or leftovers from the refrigerator to cool them off from the inside out.
Other tips we like from Dr. Basko:
- Many animals will need to have summer cuts to improve heat exchange and facilitate heat loss through the skin
- In addition to ensuring that your pet has access to fresh, cool water at all times, add a few ice cubes to their water
- Take your pet to areas that have plenty of shade and minimal concrete
28. Run Appliances at the Right Time
Annie B. Bond’s 23 Tips for Keeping the House Cool from Care2 share the conventional wisdom everyone needs to know to stay as cool as possible during the summer months. Annie gathered information from Alex Wilson, Jennifer Thorne, and John Morrill’s Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings as well as a few tricks from The Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook to arrive at her 23 tips. We like her tip of delaying heat-generating activities with appliances until the right time of day, to help keep the house cool. Running dishwashers and dryers and using the stove and oven can generate more heat than you may realize, so hold off on using those appliances until very early morning or late at night. You may want to consider using a Crock Pot or microwave to make meals on the hottest days.
Other tips we like from Care2:
- If you have an older central air conditioner, consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit that will save you money in the long run
- Try not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating, because the dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder
- Seal all air conditioner ducts and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawlspaces, and attics
29. Hang Wet Towels
Parents struggle enough with bedtime and sleep patterns of their little ones. Add sizzling temperatures to the mix, and parents aren’t sure how to help their baby sleep. This BabyCentre article, approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board, suggests hanging wet towels over chairs or windows when it’s especially stifling, so that the evaporating water helps the air to cool.
Other tips we like from BabyCentre:
- Remove unnecessary bedding from the crib to allow for air circulation
- Remove waterproof sheets or cover the waterproof sheet with several layers of tightly wrapped cotton sheets to allow baby’s skin and bedding to get air
- If your baby falls asleep in the stroller, keep an eye on him because they can soon become hot and airless
Image via Flickr by pbr-photos
30. Fire Up the Grill
This piece from CBS New York offers eight ways to cool down without air conditioning. To avoid the cost of purchasing or running an air conditioner, you need to keep your home as cool as possible. That means you should skip the oven and use the grill to prepare meals so that you don’t add more heat to your home from the high temperatures generated by your oven.
Other tips we like from CBS New York:
- Avoid frequently opening and closing the refrigerator door because the fridge’s motor needs to work even harder to maintain a constant temperature, which generates more heat in your house
- Remove extra bedding from your bed when you go to sleep, because excess pillows and covers trap your body heat and make you warmer
- Get a hand fan, sprinkle it with water, and fan yourself like they did in days long gone
31. Turn Up, Not Off
In this CPS Energy blog post, Albert Cantu finally answers the question: “Should I turn my air conditioner off or leave it on when I’m not home?” While it may be tempting to turn off the air when you are not at home, it is much better to turn the thermostat up, not off. Turning off the A/C makes everything in your home hot and humid, so when you return and turn it back on, it has to work harder and leaves you with a hefty energy bill.
Other tips we like form CPS Energy:
- Keep your thermostat at 78-80 degrees
- It is important to have your system checked and maintained regularly so it can run properly
- Replace your filters regularly and make sure you purchase replacement filters that fit properly and are not easy to see through
32. Cool Off with Cotton
Emily Chapelle is the woman behind Joyful Abode. A stay at home mom and Navy wife, Emily blogs about motherhood, crafts, décor, and more. Her Beat the Heat: 10 Ways to Keep Your Newborn Cool post provides great tips for preventing your newborn from becoming overheated. She cautions parents against overdressing their baby during the summer and suggests that parents dress their newborns in natural fibers such as cotton, which allow babies’ skin to breathe and wick moisture away from them.
Other tips we like from Joyful Abode:
- Wear your baby in the pool with a water sling or mesh wrap
- Find shade or make shade so that your baby is never in direct sunlight
- Use a car that has air vents in the back seat so baby has access to cooler air
33. Mind Tricks
Apartment Therapy’s article, How to Stay Cool This Summer: 50+ Tips to Beat the Heat Without Blowing Your Budget, acknowledges that most people do not want to spend their summer budgets on cooling their homes with an air conditioner. While it may seem a little strange, using a white noise machine to listen to rain or waves actually makes you feel cooler. If you don’t have a white noise machine and don’t want to invest in one, there are several sites available online that provide water sounds and several apps available that can make you feel cooler by listening to cool sounds.
Other tips we like from Apartment Therapy:
- Switch to CFLs – they use less electricity and don’t get nearly as hot as conventional bulbs
- Fill your home with plants because it’s a visual trick that works to fool your mind into feeling cooler
- Consider purchasing a small portable air conditioner that you can put where you need it and use only when you need it
34. Change Air Filters
Trisha Wagner posted these money-saving tips for staying cool this summer on Leave Debt Behind. If you have an air conditioner and want to use it when the heat becomes unbearable, changing the air filters is a quick and affordable way to save money and stay cool. The air conditioner works more efficiently when the filters are clean, which saves you some cash on your electric bill.
Other tips we like from Leave Debt Behind:
- Set your thermostat at 78
- Turn up your thermostat when you leave for the day and turn it back to 78 when you return
- Instead of turning down the thermostat when you get too warm, take a cool shower
35. Cool Pillows
Chris Baskind’s 20 Ways for Renters to Stay Cool and Save Money This Summer offers ways to lower utility bills and improve energy efficiency while staving off the summer heat. We like the idea of finding cool pillows that are designed to draw heat away from your head. They don’t require any power or special preparation and help control the 30% of body warmth that is dispersed by your noggin.
Other tips we like from Mother Nature Network:
- Wash your clothes and night and line dry them in the morning
- Shut down your furnace pilot light
- Close doors to unused rooms and closets
36. Cool Showers
Scott Sundblom understands that air conditioning may be an expense that you cannot afford, so he offers some tips to stay cool without busting your budget. He suggests you opt for cool showers during hot summer days, rather than your regular hot showers. Obviously, the cooler water will help you cool off, but it will save money on your hot water bill and your electric bill if you cool off in the shower instead of in front of the A/C.
Other tips we like from Tatum Insurance:
- Avoid soda and juice
- Stay hydrated with cool water
- Keep your windows covered to keep out the bright sun
37. Cool Clothes
Of course high temperatures and humidity are dangerous for everyone, but they especially can be dangerous for older folks. In this AARP article, Jeff Yeager offers a dozen ways to stay cool and save money. One of his tips works for people of just about any age: rinse your shirt in cold water, wring it out a bit, and wear it around the house. He also suggests putting slightly damp clothes in the freezer and wearing them when the temperatures soar.
Other tips we like from AARP:
- If you have a stone or brick patio, or even a cement front or back porch or sidewalk directly adjacent to your house, hose it off to keep your house cooler, especially on days when there is a breeze
- Turn off your lights whenever possible
- Install window awnings, especially on the sunny side of your house
38. Air Dry Dishes
Heuer Insurance Agency’s How to Stay Cool on a Budget This Summer offers some practical advice for keeping your family and your home cool without paying a pretty penny to do it. One of their tips is to let your dishes air dry, especially if you have a dishwasher that can add to the heat. If it’s too hot for you to stand and wash the dishes in hot water at the sink, run them in the dishwasher late in the evening or first thing in the morning, but skip the drying step. Then, allow them to air dry to avoid generating heat inside your home.
Other tips we like from Heuer Insurance Agency:
- Do laundry at night and hang your clothes out to dry
- Wear lighter shades of clothing and avoid heavy fabrics
- Get out of the house and go to the library, the mall, or a local swimming spot
39. Basement Bed
Talking Cents is a blog presented by American Consumer Credit Counseling. The blog offers “simple solutions for a better financial life,” and Katie G.’s post, Tips for Staying Cool This Summer on a Budget, does just that. She recommends that you consider sleeping in your basement if possible, because it naturally is one of the coolest spots in your home. Because heat rises, it is better to sleep on the lowest level of your home when the temperatures start to soar.
Other tips we like from Talking Cents:
- Public pools and libraries are among the cheapest places to cool off
- Get creative with meals by making cold foods like salads and smoothies
- Wear cool, loose clothing
Image via Flickr by Giles Douglas
40. Whole-House Fan
Tracie is the Penny Pinchin’ Mom, and she offers her post, Eight Smart Budget Tips for Staying Cool This Summer, on her blog. One suggestion she has is to consider installing a whole-house fan if you have a house with a large attic. The attic may keep more heat in your home than you realize, and most homeowners can get a whole-house fan installed for about $200-$500. The fan pulls in the cool evening air through your windows and pushes out the hair air through your attic and roof. This can be a solution for cooling your house down quickly for less money than air conditioning.
Other tips we like from Penny Pinchin’ Mom:
- When away from home, turn up your thermostat at least five degrees
- Invest in a programmable thermostat that can adjust the temperature for you
- Spray down outside air conditioning units to clear away pollen or debris that can cause it to run inefficiently
41. Baby Pools
The Energy Co-op is a member-owned cooperative that provides access to renewable energy in the greater Philadelphia area. Keeping Cool on a Budget, a guest post written by Hillary Wickline from Swarthmore Food Co-op, offers some great tips for staying cool while keeping your energy bill as low as possible. She points out that the key to beating the heat is utilizing your surroundings to create a cooler environment. We really like her baby pool idea, and no, you don’t have to have a baby to use a baby pool to stay cool this summer. Hillary recommends filling up the baby pool with the hose, making a cool drink, and relaxing in the pool. Because the pool is small, you won’t use much water, and the cold hose water will take some time to warm up to the point that it will make you uncomfortable. You can try putting the pool in a shady spot to maximize its refreshing powers.
Other tips we like from The Energy Co-op:
- Save your morning coffee to make iced coffee at night
- Update your windows and doors with weather strips placed on the inside panels
- Change out incandescent bulbs and upgrade to LEDs or CFLs that don’t generate as much heat or use as much electricity
42. Go To the Library
U.S. News & World Report is known for offering money-saving advice. Their blog post, 15 Cheap Ways to Stay Cool This Summer, by Meg Favreau, offers some smart budget-friendly tips for staying cool even on the hottest of summer days. We like Meg’s suggestion to spend the hot afternoon at the library, since it is “filled with free books, magazines, movies, Wi-Fi, and most likely, air conditioning.” If you have kids, libraries often offer free summer programs to keep your little ones entertained and cooled off at the same time.
Other tips we like from U.S. News & World Report:
- See a matinee
- Take a shower but don’t towel off when you’re done; use a fan instead to help cool you down
- Avoid synthetic fabrics when choosing your clothes for the day
43. Homemade Popsicles
Young & Free Maine is a blog presented by Maine’s credit unions. In her blog post Stay Cool on a Budget, Kylie Keene provides five quick and easy tips for staying cool and staying within your budget. We like her homemade popsicles trick because it’s often less expensive and healthier for you to make your own rather than buy them at the store. For a few dollars, you can combine juice and fruit in a plastic cup, add a popsicle stick, and freeze until solid.
Other tips we like from Young & Free Maine:
- Lined or insulated curtains are best for keeping out the sun and avoiding more heat in your home
- Drink more water on a hot day and increase your intake if you are exercising or more active
- Use your A/C sparingly
44. DIY Air Conditioner
In this POPSUGAR article, Emily Co suggests affordable ways for cooling down during the summer. Her 11 tips are practical and inexpensive, and we especially like her idea to create a DIY air conditioner. For around $8, you can create your own air conditioner with a Styrofoam box, dryer vent, ice (or bottles of frozen water), and a fan. So, if you’re creative and can follow a few simple instructions, you could be cooling off in front of your very own air conditioner in no time.
Other tips we like from POPSUGAR:
- Wear loose-fitting clothing made of thinner, and lighter materials that also are light in color
- Get a thinner blanket for your bed or just cover up with a sheet
- Spray down the walls and roof of your house with water
45. Freeze Your Sheets
Apartment Guide shares apartment living trends and tips, and their blog post, 10 Cheap Ways to Keep Cool in Your Apartment, shares some budget-friendly ways to stay cool even if you think you’ve tried everything. One of their most intriguing tips is to freeze your sheets. Place your sheets and pillowcases in the freezer a few hours before bedtime and then make your bed with them right before you hop in. You’ll fall asleep much better in the cool comfort of your cold sheets.
Other tips we like from Apartment Guide:
- Buy a box of inexpensive, multi-colored popsicles in pull-apart plastic packaging, lay them (unopened) on your bed, and lie on them
- Fill empty soda bottles or milk jugs with water until they are nearly full and place them in the freezer; place the frozen bottles on a towel and position a fan behind the bottles facing you
- Smear cooling topical ointments with medicated vapors or peppermint lotion on your skin
46. Cool Clothing Considerations
Hays Sheet Metal, Heating & Cooling works to help homeowners with all of their air conditioning needs. But, they also realize that there are some ways to stay cool for little to no money during the summer. Their blog post, How to Stay Cool on a Budget, offers four tips for staying cool even on the hottest days. We like their suggestion to evaluate your clothing. Lighter colors, especially if you are working outside, are a better choice because darker colors absorb the sun and heat you up. The lighter colors, such as white, beige, cream, and pastel colors, reflect the sun’s rays away from your body and keep you cooler.
Other tips we like from Hays Sheet Metal, Heating & Cooling:
- Choose drinks such as water, juice, and electrolyte-based drinks to stay hydrated
- Use ceiling fans and mini fans to lighten the load on your air conditioner
- Visit museums, community centers, libraries, and movie theaters to enjoy their air conditioning and save on your own
47. Fans and A/C
HuffPost Green is a great source of news on energy, the environment, animals, and more. Their article, How To Stay Cool In the Summer: 7 Money Saving Air Conditioning Tips, is from Dealnews’ Lou Carlozo. He estimates that Americans spend more than $22 billion a year on electricity to cool their homes with air conditioning. Summer electric bills certainly can break a budget, but the article offers quick tips for staying cool while saving money on your A/C. One smart tip is to use your ceiling fans in addition to your air conditioner because the fans circulate the cooler air and are very inexpensive to run. Typically, you can turn your thermostat up and let your fans keep the temperature down in conjunction with your A/C.
Other tips we like from HuffPost Green:
- When purchasing an air conditioner, make sure you get the right size for your space so that it can work efficiently and properly
- Consider the costs on the Energy Guide sticker before purchasing an air conditioner, to make sure you can afford to run it before buying it
- If your current window unit is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a new Energy Star appliance
48. Insulate the Attic
Mother Earth Living magazine delivers reliable, in-depth information for creating a healthy home and lifestyle. Their article, How to Keep Your House Cool Without Air Conditioning, offers no and low-cost ways to stay cool during the summer without increasing your energy bills. One tip we like is to insulate your attic or check the attic insulation your currently have. Increasing to R-30 or R-40 will really impact your comfort levels and cost in the summer and winter.
Other tips we like from Mother Earth Living:
- Use a smart power strip to completely power off electronics
- Use a clothesline to dry clothes outside and avoid using your dryer
- Weather strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows
49. Fans of Ice
MyChamplainValley.com is powered by Local 22 and Local 44 News, covering Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire. Their post, Staying Cool on a Budget, features advice from Logan Brown, of Efficiency Vermont. One tip we like is to turn your fan into a veritable air conditioner by placing a bowl of ice in front of it to cool down the air. You can also place frozen bottles of water in front of the fan and refreeze them as they melt.
Other tips we like from MyChamplainValley.com:
- Before you leave your home in the morning, close the windows and drapes
- Use your A/C when it’s necessary but use a fan during the cooler parts of the day
- Point fans directly at you and don’t expect them to cool down entire rooms
50. Crockpots and Microwaves
Moorpark Patch is a network of local news sites to provide the best information to communities. In this Moorpark Patch article, Sandra Carlson offers ways to stay cool on a budget. She especially focuses on how to beat the heat without turning on your A/C, since she has lived in a home in Southern California for more than 10 years without air conditioning. She recommends cooking in crockpots and microwaves to avoid adding more heat to your home from the oven and stove. Sandra also suggests allowing prepared food to stand and get closer to room temperature before eating it, so that you don’t add heat to yourself from the inside.
Other tips we like from Moorpark Patch:
- Eat spicy foods in the tradition of India, Thailand, and South America so that you sweat without raising your body temperature
- Add peppermint oil to the water in spray bottles and mist yourself
- Run a tabletop fountain so the water sounds can naturally calm and refresh you