By Christina Brown
Summer is here, and hotter temperatures can mean higher bills if you’re not careful. Stay cool in the summer heat and stick to your budget with these tips:
Be strategic with your landscaping. Plant deciduous trees that provide shade in the summer and when they lose their leaves in the fall, help let the sun shine in during the winter months.
Use fans to circulate the air through your house. A cross-breeze is ideal. Put some ice water in front of the fan to blow cooler air around.
Don’t heat up your kitchen. Use your slow cooker, eat cool meals like salads or sandwiches, or use your grill. If you absolutely must do baking, be sure to use your oven late at night or early in the morning when the temperature is cooler.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Put cool washcloths on your pulse points (back of the neck, wrists, back of the knees and ankles) to cool yourself off.
Take advantage of the cooler evenings. Open all the windows and use fans to circulate the air. When you get up in the morning, close up the windows, close the shades and curtains and keep the house shut up tight and cool. If you open the windows and shades during the height of the afternoon, you’ll heat up your house pretty fast.
Go swimming, hang out in a kiddie pool, or dash through the sprinkler. You could also take a cool shower. Get your head wet and you’ll feel noticeably cooler.
Head indoors. Go to your local library or shopping mall and take advantage of their air conditioning. Just remind yourself not to spend anything or the free A/C could get pricey!
Use a programmable thermostat. Use a programmable thermostat with your air conditioning to only cool the house when you’re home. And remember, if you’re wearing a sweater in July in your house, you could turn up the thermostat and save a few bucks.
Check with your local utility company for other money-saving options. For example, Lake Country Power has a program that allows them to cycle your air conditioning off and on during periods of peak energy use. The house still stays cool, but you’ll spend a fraction of what you would normally pay to cool your home.
Summers in northern Minnesota are short. So enjoy them to the fullest and try to remember those hot days when it’s 30 below zero this winter!
Read more frugal living tips and money-saving ideas at http://www.northerncheapskate.com.