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Slash Summertime Costs with Easy (Frugal) Home Projects!

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I’m not the type of person who spends a lot of time thinking about the weather. That is, until it hits me in the pocketbook. My instincts tell me we’re diving headfirst into another year in which we go straight from winter to summer, with about 30 minutes of pleasant, throw-the-windows-open weather in between, just so mother nature can legally claim we had a springtime. We had a fabulous preview of the dog days of summer last week, and I have to be honest, I adore the warmer weather.  There’s nothing to shovel, the roads are always clear, what’s not to love?

That being said, warmer weather comes with several extra bills to counteract the heat, and those bills always seem to be on the rise – air conditioning costs come most immediately to mind. With a few simple tricks, you can beat the heat while still keeping your cash in your pocket.ac photo: lowes.com

(1) Prep your air conditioners:  If you have window air conditioners, make sure they fit snugly into the windows. Any gaps are going to let the cool (read: expensive) air out and the broiling hot summertime air in, not to mention my personal pet peeve, big bugs. Do yourself another favor and tune up air conditioners by cleaning out the filters for maximum cool air at a minimum price.  I’ve connected with people who owned wall units for five years before realizing there was a filter in there. That is so not cool. Literally.

(2) Close the Shades:  In the hottest months of summer, your window-filled rooms become a greenhouse experiment, in which you’re the lab rat. Invest in thick window shades that keep the light out of the room during the hottest times of day, and watch the room temperature drop by ten degrees or more.   

(3) You knew I had to add this one: Hang a clothesline!  It’s one of my favorite, easiest ways to save big money, and there’s no time like summertime to put mother nature to work for you.   If nothing else, make sure those swim towels get dried outdoors – they are an expensive energy nightmare to dry in the dryer.

(4) Invest in some high-quality, high SPF sunscreen and start using it every day.  Save your kids the pain of monster sunburns, and save yourself potential wrinkle and skin cancer risks by taking 30 secondClothesline photo: Eccodaddyo.coms to rub on some sunscreen whenever you head out of the house.  Win-win for all!   

(5) Give your oven a summer vacation – ‘Tis the season for grilling my friends! Give your house a break from your oven’s intense heat, and enjoy the many fabulous perks of outdoor grilling. Meats, fish, vegetables – it can all be cooked for pennies with a small grill outside.

Best of all, your hard-working indoor air conditioning won’t have to combat indoor cooking heat to bring the house back to comfortable temperatures.  It’s a total no-brainer. I’ve even heard from people who boil pots of water on their grill to cook pasta and frying pans to do scrambled eggs. Bravo!

Above all else, enjoy the summertime. If it’s anything like last year, it’s going to fly by. See you at the pool!  I’ll be the one sitting on a sun-dried towel eating a grilled hotdog and slathering SPF 100 on my kids.  

Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian hosts “The Brilliant Frugal Living Show” Tuesdays at 11A on Philadelphia’s WFYL 1180AM.  Her next Brilliant Frugal Living Conference is October 22nd in West Chester, with $5 of every ticket sold being donated to the Chester County Food Bank to assist families in need.  Log onto www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com for more information!

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clothesline photo: eccodaddyo.com

ac photo: lowes.com