Who here is already tired of the blazing heat? I try not to complain too much because I like being outside in warmer weather. But really, there’s a point when breaking out into a sweat just by walking outside is just too far.
With that unbearable heat comes turning on the air conditioning; and you know that running the AC all day also bumps up your electric bill! If you’re struggling to beat the heat on a budget, here are some practical ways to save on AC to help you have a more frugal Summer.
Open windows in the early morning
Here in Ohio, the temperature varies between 60s and very low 70s in the wee hours of the morning. We usually wake up between 4:00 and 5:00, so we’ll open up the windows and the back door and let the air circulate for awhile. Then around 9:00, we close all the windows and blinds to keep the sun from coming in. It does make the house a little dark, which can be depressing; but it keeps the AC from coming on until about 4:00, which is super helpful!
Do all baking in the early morning
Who wants to heat up their house with a hot oven? Sometimes it’s unavoidable at dinnertime; but if at all possible, I try to use my oven only in the mornings. That way, the house is still cool enough that the oven won’t make a huge difference; and I now have a bunch of yummy baked goods to enjoy!
Keep the thermostat high but comfortable
How high do you keep your thermostat? We get strange looks sometimes when we say we keep ours at 78 during the day. I know a lot of people that keep their house around 75, and some even at 70 (!); but we find that 78 is pretty comfortable for the most part. Certainly livable! Around 4:00 PM, the thermostat goes down to 76, and then 74 at night because we don’t sleep well in the heat.
Buy a smart thermostat
What’s one way to save money on AC without even thinking about it? Invest in a smart thermostat! We bought a Nest Learning Thermostat in Fall 2017 and I’m just amazed at how efficient it is. It studies your patterns for about a week and then automatically sets the temperature to your personal preference. If you download the app, Nest will even track when you leave the house and keep the AC off until you get home!
The Nest Thermostat can be expensive. But check the website to see if you qualify for rebates from your electric company! We were able to save over $100 on ours just through rebates.
Turn off AC when not at home
Pretty simple- when you’re not at home, you don’t need your air conditioning on! We’re almost always out doing stuff in the mornings, and going to Kings Island for the day, so that’s a few hours of saving money. You can manually shut it off before you leave, or use your programmable thermostat (Like the Nest above) to set specific times you want your AC to turn on or off.
Spend most of the day outside/in water
The days are hot, but it’s great weather for playing outside- especially in water! Find a public splash pad or water park, or just play in the sprinkler in your backyard. Allison likes it when I chase her around with the garden hose with the sprayer attached. Okay, I really just sit in the chair and see how far I can get her without moving; does that make me a bad mom?
In any case, it’s a similar situation as above- you’re out of the house, which means you’re not using the AC.
Eat no-cook/slow cooker meals
Who likes slaving over a hot oven in the summertime? Not me! I still do it at times, but I’d much rather have something that won’t heat up the entire house or make me sweat while just eating. While I love my slow cooker in the Winter for soups, I use it a ton in Summer, too! It’s a great way to have a hot meal without making the room hot as well. I like using my slow cooker for spaghetti sauce/meatballs, chicken, and even baked potatoes!
You can also opt for a lot of no-cook options. Some of my favorites are:
- Snack dinners (Crackers, cheese, salami, fruit, raw veggies)
- Chicken salad/tuna salad
See also: Simple No-Cook Summer Meals
The best thing is, most no-cook meals are also very frugal! So you save money on your food bill AND your AC bill because you’re not making your AC work extra hard to cool the house.
The Summer temperatures may be high this year, but your air conditioning bill doesn’t have to be! What are some other ways you save money on your AC? Share in the comments below!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.