How To Stay Cool Without Spending A Lot Of Money (Your Advice)

your advice

It’s that time of year again when the weather starts to get to a hotter and you need to find ways to stay cool. Here’s a question from a reader that is looking for inexpensive ways to beat the summer heat:

We live in the Southwest which gets very hot during the summer and our air-conditioning bill becomes outrageous. I’m a stay at home mom and I have two kids that are both under the age of 10. I’m especially in need of activities that I can do with the kids that won’t leave us all exhausted due to the heat. When it gets hot, they don’t even want to go outside which means the air conditioner runs the entire day.

I definitely need to know how to cut my cooling costs if I’m going to stay within my budget this year. I’m hoping that you can give me some ideas on how I can stay cool without spending a lot of money. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

This is a subject which I think a lot of people would like to get good ideas about. If you have a good way to stay cool during the summer without spending a lot of money, please share them with us.

(Photo courtesy of Colin Kinner)

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9 Responses to How To Stay Cool Without Spending A Lot Of Money (Your Advice)

  1. Mike says:

    Try to keep your blinds drawn at least partially when the sun is at its peak in the later morning and midday – leave open enough to get light but not to let in maximum heat. With this sunlight, try to keep your electrical lights off, which produce more heat. And if you can get any cross breezes going with open windows and fans (versus the AC) that will help.

    Try to stay hydrated with plenty of water so that you won’t feel the heat as intensely. Finally, find some ways to play that let everyone sit pretty still and not overheat too much, like playing some board games, or arts and crafts projects. If your kids are like mine, they’ll be inclined to run around and create extra heat, so finding activities that keep everyone more still will help. Good luck!

  2. Debbie says:

    Activities: go to the library or neighborhood pool. Do outdoor activities involving water such as washing the car, playing in a sprinkler, or playing in a little blow-up pool. Seek shady playgrounds or hiking trails. No shade? hats make a big difference–they protect your head so you’re less likely to get a headache.

    To keep your bill down: cover unused windows with tin foil (spray or sponge water on the window, stick tin foil to it, tape the edges down); buy a fan for the main room, drink ice water, wear shorts, look into any incentives your utility company may offer to “weatherize” your home.

  3. ~Dawn says:

    I would suggest that you wear a wet kitchen towel around your neck to keep cool. Otherwise the above suggestions are wonderful as well.

  4. Spokane Al says:

    While this advice may not be applicable to your situation it may be worthwhile for others.

    We used a swamp cooler when we lived in the desert. We liked the cooling effect better than a/c and it was cheaper to operate.

    In the evenings as soon as the outside temps drop to match the inside temps, we shut off the a/c and open all the windows and doors. We also turn on the fans to get some cross breezes moving.

  5. Chrissy says:

    Cook outside if at all possible. Use your grill as much as you can.

    Look into getting some awnings to keep the sun off the side of the house.

    Misters can drop the air temp by 20 degrees, and shouldn’t take too much water. These won’t soak you, but will keep you cool.

    I agree with the hat idea, but you can soak the hat first and then put it on your head, and that is cooler. The wet kitchen towel does a good job as well.

  6. Jason says:

    Not sure if humidity (along with the heat) is a big problem in the Southwest, but here in the Northeast the hot, humid days are the most intollerable. If you have been running the A/C all day and would like to switch it off in the evening to take advantage of cooler temperatures, consider whether opening windows and letting all of that humidity in might be worse than the lack of airflow with A/C off and windows shut. While the air temperature may not get much cooler, at least you will be mostly isolated from the high humidity.

  7. Jamie says:

    Here are some links to Do-It-Yourself projects that might help you out. I haven’t tried these yet, but they look like they would make interesting weekend projects.

  8. josh in phoenix says:

    I called my power company (SRP) and set up paying a flat rate for my power consumption so that it stays the same all year. Like you, I also hated paying huge power bills every summer so I choose to pay more than I need to in the cooler months to balance out the power spike from running my AC all summer long.

  9. Jackie says:

    I know this is an old blog … but make sure your a/c unit is in the shade. An awning of some kind that shades your a/c will help it to run more efficiently.

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