Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keeping Cool the Frugal Way

It's still only May, but the forecast for my city this week says I'll be enjoying 90 degree temps. I'm not ready for those insane electric bills yet, so I'm trying to keep cool without running the air conditioning constantly. Hundreds of people die each year from the heat. As climate change rears its ugly head(11 degree temperature rise), we can expect to suffer a bit more in the dog days of summer.

Here are some ways that I use to be a little less miserable as the mercury rises.

* Open your windows to get some fresh air (assuming you don't have bad allergies). Use fans to get a good breeze blowing through your home. Set bowls of ice water in front of the fan to cool the air.

* Get out of the house when it's really hot. Go out for coffee or to the library to enjoy their air conditioning for free.

* Don't use the oven if at all possible. Use the slow cooker or microwave to prepare meals rather than use the stove top. Grill and eat your meals outside.

* Don't be modest. Go naked. Just be careful of peeping neighbors. Otherwise wear lightweight clothing in light colors. Wear shorts, skirts, sleeveless shirts or just walk around in your swimsuit. Avoid denim or any other heavy clothing.

* Cut your hair short or pull it up.

* Keep hydrated. Drink lots of water. Have a pitcher of iced coffee or tea in the frig at all times. Make mini Popsicles with an ice cube tray and toothpicks. Freeze fruit for smoothies or as a cooling snack.

* Exercise in the early morning  or late evening hours. Avoid over-exerting yourself during the hottest hours of the day.

* When you feel really sweaty and hot, run your head under cool water for a minute. It is very refreshing and has gotten me through many a night of 95 degree temps in my bakery. Also rub ice cubes over your face, arms and neck. Keep a spray bottle nearby to mist yourself throughout the day when you need a refresher.

* Take a few short, cool showers throughout the day to feel less gross and to cool off.

* Consider getting away to the woods on scalding days. When it gets really hot in our area, Trucker and I go hiking in the woods. Since it's so hot, there aren't too many people who want to go hiking so we have the park all to ourselves. Also the shade keeps the temperature cooler. Just bring lots of water.

* Lose some of that winter insulation. Eat light meals and do moderate exercise.

* Go for a swim. This is a great way to stay cool, get some moderate exercise and get out of the stuffy apartment. It's also (usually) free entertainment. Go to the lake, ocean, pond, river or community pool. If you live close enough, make it a daily outing.

* Talk with your utility company if you need fans or help with higher-than-normal electric bills. There are programs in place to help senior or low-income households to avoid heat stroke. Don't be too proud to ask for help when you need it.

Happy living!


  1. "Don't be too proud to ask for help"
    Great advice!

    I have taken ice packs to bed with me on those really hot nights. They work too.

  2. [edit]
    That's a great tip, kalamazookim. It's next to impossible to fall asleep when it's hot and stuffy.


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