During the summer months it pays to have a few cool tricks up your sleeve. Read on for some of my favorite cheap ways to beat the heat.
Stash some grapes, blueberries and bananas in the freezer. Eat frozen for a frosty treat. Buy a plastic popsicle tray from the dollar store and use dollops of leftover jam, yogurt, fruit juice, iced tea, etc. to make your own popsicles. If you don't want to buy a popsicle tray, you can use old yogurt or sour cream containers with saved popsicle sticks.
Make up a pitcher of iced tea (or lemonade if you grow lemons) for pennies and keep your refrigerator stocked. Frozen berries make tasty ice cubes to float in the pitcher. Sipping cool liquids helps to keep your body temperature down.
Fill a bathtub partway with tepid water and relax in there with a book. If you don't have a tub, take a brief cool shower. Pat your skin lightly with a towel when you're done, and let the rest air dry. The evaporation will cool your skin. Sitting with your feet in a bucket of cool water to read or watch tv works well too!
Place a mixing bowl full of ice in front of a fan, and position the fan so it blows over the top of the bowl in your direction. The evaporation from the ice cubes will cool you. When the ice melts, make use of the water to water some plants!
Keep the shades down or curtains drawn on the sunny side of the house during the day.
Run dishwashers, clothes dryers, etc. late at night or early in the morning to avoid heating the house up. Better yet, hang the clothes out to dry and let the heat work for you!
Employ your crockpot, toaster oven or microwave oven for cooking during the summer months. Bonus points for using a solar cooker! The house will stay a lot cooler if you don't turn the oven on. On really hot days, cold sandwiches and salads make the best meals.
Soak a cotton hat in cold water, wring it out, and wear it wet. A towel wrung out and worn around the neck works great too.
Let your umbrella do double duty by carrying it to shield you from the sun. You'll feel a lot cooler without the sun's rays beating down on your skin. Bonus: avoiding skin cancer!
Fill a clean tube sock with rice, tie at the top and freeze overnight. Wrapped around your neck or taken into bed with you on hot nights, it has a pleasant cooling effect.
Plan errands that involve visiting air-conditioned places for the hottest times of the day. Avoid having to turn up your AC at home. After all, they have to run it anyway, whether you're there or not.
I hope these tips help you have a cool summer, not a cruel summer! If you can think of any great tips I missed, please share them.