Apparently I like to save money, and some people consider that a bad thing.
My husband has been promising our eight-year-old grandson that he would buy a golf cart to ride around on while he is here visiting. My husband is good at promising such things, with no eye towards budget. Our kids know better than to take him seriously.
Our grandson has figured it out as well, because he told his parents that, “grandpa will never get a golf cart, because all grandma wants to do is save money”.
I guess that means I’m no fun.
But in case you’re the kind of person who likes to save money, too, let’s talk about five ways that you can do that and still stay cool this summer.
Keep It Clean
If you have air conditioning in your home, there are a number of things that you need to keep clean. These will help your air conditioning unit work more efficiently, last longer, and save money.
Inside your home, make sure that all of your vents are free of dust and dirt. That’s circulating through your house and you are breathing it in! It’s also making your home dirtier. You can use a microfiber cloth to clean them or a duster. I find the Swiffer dusters work well for this.
Also be sure to change the filter in your furnace at least once a month. Use a pen or marker to put the date on the filter when you put it in, and then check it now and then to see how long it takes before it needs to be changed. That way, you have a better idea of how often they need to be switched out and you aren’t wasting money changing them too soon.
Outside, hose off your air conditioning unit now and then, especially early in the year when the cottonwood and dandelion fluff are in the air. It’s a good idea to clean it at the beginning and end of the season too.
A smart thermostat may be a little pricey, but they can save money in the long run. Even just a programmable one will work. Also, check with your utility company. Ours offers a rebate for installing a smart thermostat.
Having the thermostat automatically adjust the temperature while you are at work or when you are sleeping will save money on your utility bills.
Also, when the weather gets extremely hot, some utility companies will offer you a savings if you switch your usage hours. For instance, prices for electricity are lower at night and on the weekends. Running your air at a cooler temperature then and turning it up during the day will save money.
Keep It Cool
Try to avoid doing anything in the house that generates heat, especially during the afternoon hours. Adding extra heat only makes your air conditioning run more, and that won’t save money.
Try to do your laundry in the early morning or evening hours. The dryer is the culprit here, so you could do what I do sometimes and hang your laundry out to dry. Our subdivision doesn’t allow clothes lines, but if I’m washing quilts or rugs, I’ll often hang them on the deck railing to dry.
I think most of us know not to turn on the oven all summer long. It’s always been my goal to spend a whole summer without using the stove once, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Grilling is a great option for making meals. Instant Pots and slow cookers are as well. We didn’t have air conditioning when I was growing up, but my mom still tried to keep the house as cool as possible.
She had an old school version of a slow cooker, and she would add her ingredients and put it on my dad’s workbench in the garage and plug it in to cook all day. No heating up the house!
Keep It Closed
Keeping the sun and heat out of your house in the summer will help you keep cool and save money. There are lots of ways to do this:
- Keep traffic in and out of your house to a minimum.
- Keep doors, such as to your bedrooms, closed. This will help keep the cool air in.
- Consider closing or partially closing the vents to unused rooms and bathrooms.
- Consider closing off some of your rooms temporarily. Use just the family room and close the vents in the living room, for instance.
- Keep your curtains or blinds closed while the sun is shining in.
- If you have awnings, use them.
- If you have a basement, use it more often. Find ways to make it a comfortable space if it isn’t already.
Start thinking of creative ways to stay cool and save money.
For instance, spending more time outdoors means you can keep your thermostat set higher during the day. Once you come in, it will still feel better than outdoors!
My grandma never had air conditioning so we spent as much time as possible outside.
She had those aluminum lawn chairs with the webbing laced through them. They were lightweight and easy to carry.
As the day went on, we would carry them to whichever side of the house was in shade. Shade and a light breeze can make a big difference, especially when you’ve got a glass of sweet tea to go with it!
Tip: we have a misting fan that we bought at Home Depot. It attaches to your house or sits on an orange bucket full of water. While the fan runs, it sprays a light mist of water on you. Very cooling!
For those of you without air conditioning: find a box fan that will fit in one of your windows. Point it so the fan is blowing out of the window.
At night, close all of the windows except the bedroom ones and the one your fan is in. Keep your bedroom doors open.
The fan will pull all of the heated air out of the house and the cooler night air in. I’ve spent many peaceful nights sleeping that way!
And finally, don’t overlook the importance of natural fabrics like cotton and linen to keep you cool. I could go on, but I’m going to give you a turn: how do you stay cool and save money in the summer?