Hot Savings: 12 Money-Saving Tips to Cut Costs This Summer

English Cocker Spaniel enjoying air flow from fan on floor indoors. Summer heat

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

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English Cocker Spaniel enjoying air flow from fan on floor indoors. Summer heat
Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Sweltering Summers

As the summer months roll on, expenses tend to rise due to increased utility and air conditioning bills, outdoor activities, vacations, and higher water usage. This surge in spending can strain household budgets, making it essential to adopt clever strategies to conserve cold air and save money in the process. But fret not, by implementing a few practical tips, you can enjoy all that summer has to offer without breaking the bank. 

Here are 12 money-saving tips to help you counteract the sweltering summer months without having to sacrifice on comfort or enjoyment.

Fluorescent (CFL) bulb and new LED light bulb

1. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

Switching to energy-efficient appliances can significantly reduce your electricity bills. Look for Energy Star-rated appliances, which consume less power and are better for the environment. Simple changes like using LED bulbs and energy-saving fans can also make a big difference. Over time, the initial investment in these appliances will pay off through lower utility costs.

air conditioner maintenance and repair. hvac service technician at work

2. Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit can enhance its efficiency and longevity. Clean or replace the filters at least once a month during heavy use to ensure it runs smoothly. Consider scheduling a professional tune-up to check for any issues that could cause the system to work harder than necessary. Keeping your AC in good condition can prevent costly repairs and greatly reduce your energy consumption.

asian men turn on the fan while sleeping in the living room. simple energy in the home.
Chayaporn Yemjuntuek/istockphoto

3. Utilize Fans and Natural Ventilation

Ceiling fans and portable fans can help circulate air to make your home feel cooler without relying on air conditioning. A good strategy is to open windows during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning and late evening, to let in fresh air and then keep them closed during the hotter parts of the day. 

Using fans in conjunction with your AC allows you to set the thermostat a few degrees higher to save on energy costs. Placing fans near windows can also help draw in cool air and expel hot air.

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Young man wearing overalls sealing cracks between window and trim

4. Insulate and Seal Your Home

Proper insulation and sealing gaps in your home can help keep cool air in and hot air out. Inspect your windows and doors for leaks and use weather stripping or caulk to seal them. Adding insulation to your attic and walls can further reduce the workload on your AC. These measures can lower your energy bills, while helping to make your home more comfortable year-round.

Related: Top 10 Home Improvement Projects People Put Off the Most

american family grilling

5. Cook Outdoors

This one might seem questionable, but hear us out for a second. Using your stove or oven in the summer can heat up your home, making your AC work harder. Take advantage of the warm weather by grilling outside or preparing no-cook meals. Not only does this reduce indoor heat, but it also offers a fun way to enjoy summer with family and friends. Plus, outdoor cooking can help lower your electricity and gas bills. 

Related: 15 Old-Fashioned Salad Sandwiches for Easy Summer Lunches

Google Nest Smart Thermostat

6. Use a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to set your AC to run less and conserve energy when you're not at home. Program it to cool your home just before you arrive, rather than running all day. This smart technology can significantly cut down on energy usage and costs. In addition, some models can be controlled remotely via smartphone apps or Bluetooth to give you more flexibility and control. 

Father and son doing laundry together

7. Take Advantage of Off-Peak Hours

Some utility companies will offer lower rates during off-peak hours. As such, consider using large appliances that draw more power like dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers during these times to save money. Check with your local utility provider to learn about their specific off-peak hours and rates. Adjusting your usage habits to align with these times can result in noticeable savings on your bills.

Watering salad in raised bed in garden. Gardening in spring time

8. Reduce Water Usage

Summer often leads to higher water consumption from activities like gardening, filling pools, and increased or longer showers. To counteract this, install water-saving fixtures such as low-flow showerheads and faucets. Water your garden early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize evaporation. You can also collect rainwater for gardening and limit the use of sprinklers to essential areas. 

Family hiking on summer vacation in Colorado mountains.

9. Plan Affordable Activities

Summer means more vacations and outings, which can quickly add up. To save on these costs, consider budget-friendly activities that don't charge money (or cost less) such as visiting local parks, beaches, or hiking trails. Organize picnics, barbecues, or game nights at home to have fun without spending a ton. You can also take advantage of community events and free attractions to keep entertainment costs low.

Caucasian woman opening the fridge in the kitchen
Anderson Coelho/istockphoto

10. Optimize Your Fridge and Freezer

Believe it or not, keeping your fridge and freezer well-organized can improve their efficiency. Avoid overfilling them to allow proper air circulation. Regularly defrost your freezer and check the seals to ensure they are tight. Set your fridge to the recommended temperature (around 37-40°F) and your freezer to 0°F to save energy.

Mobile business devices

11. Unplug Devices When Not in Use

Unbeknowst to many of us, electronic devices can consume power even when turned off. The phenomenon is known as "phantom load." Unplugging devices like chargers, TVs, and computers when not in use can help one save on energy bills. Instead, consider using power strips to easily switch off multiple devices at once. This simple habit can contribute to overall energy savings throughout the summer.

Close up of full shopping cart in grocery store
Dan Dalton/istockphoto

12. Shop Smart for Groceries

Grocery expenses can quickly rise with more frequent cookouts and gatherings. To save on grocery bills, consider planning your meals ahead and make a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases (we're all guilty of this). Buy in bulk when items are on sale and opt for seasonal produce, which is often cheaper and fresher. Using coupons and loyalty programs can also help one further save on grocery bills.