Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stay Cool For Less

Hey there folks! Financial Fitness Phoebe here, hoping you’re all enjoying this Minnesota enigma we call summer.

We all know that once summer hits, and hits HARD, it’s going to be difficult to resist cranking the air conditioner on full-blast. But, while A/C might hit the spot when it comes to comfort, it’s not as satisfying when considering your wallet. In fact, the typical U.S. home spends 17% of its annual energy bill on cooling; that’s about $375!

If you have central air or another AC unit, it’s inevitable that you’ll start it up on those blisteringly hot days. BUT, in this season of family vacations, ice cream outings, and general summertime decadence, we’ve collected a variety of ideas for staying cool without completely relying on that money-sucking air conditioning system - keeping more money in your pocket for fun! Here are 5 favorites!


Yeah, I know, I know...it’s a little bit of a bummer to keep the sun out on these gorgeous days. Still, we stand to save a lot of green by shielding our homes from the sun’s powerful rays. tightly-sealed windows coupled with blinds or lined curtains can reduce the need for your air conditioner - just make sure you open up those windows on cool evenings!


It’s amazing how much cheaper it is to run a fan instead of an air conditioning system. Plus, a few strategically-placed oscillating fans can really move air through your home - and air flow can make all the difference! Another great resource which is part of most homes today - ceiling fans. But, there’s a catch - make sure your ceiling fan is spinning in the direction which forces the air down rather than pulling it up!


In addition to having a shorter “life span,” incandescent light bulbs kick out a ton of heat. You might not think much of it, but with all those bulbs going at the same time - well, it adds up. In fact, the US Department of Energy’s studies report 90% of the energy from incandescent light bulbs is given off as heat. So, not only is that lost energy hot, it’s basically money you’re just throwing away. Consider shifting over to the cooler and more financially sound CFL and LED bulbs on the market today.


Summertime is the perfect time to unplug - and more more than just one reason. You’ll save money and reduce heat output by turning off appliances you’re not using, specifically things like televisions and computers. Consider hooking them up to the same power strip so you can quickly snap it off on hot days.

As for those high-powered, heat producing appliances - I’m thinking ranges, ovens, washers and dryers - avoid using them during the hottest part of the day. Don’t put yourself through that misery!


Last but not least, surround yourself with all things water. While not everyone has a lake or pool to plunge into at a moment’s notice, there are ways to use our world’s most valuable resource to take the edge off summer. Place an ice cube on pulse points; this is a slapshot method of quickly cooling down. Make sure to drink plenty of water, too. A dehydrated body doesn’t sweat, and a body that can’t sweat has a much harder time cooling off.

So, there you have it - a short, cool list sans air conditioning. Have something you do to keep cool on the cheap? Leave us a comment. Happy chilling!

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