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12 Ways to Stay Cool and Save Money

Conserve energy and reduce your electric bill without blasting your AC

You might have seen special cooling pillows advertised on TV that claim to help you stay cooler when sleeping on hot summer nights. You can make your own "chill pillow" by keeping a 5- or 10-pound bag of rice in the freezer during the day (still sealed in its unopened plastic bag), and then putting the bag in a pillowcase for nighttime use. The rice retains the cold for at least a couple of hours. That should be enough time for you to fall asleep and dream of cooler temperatures and sushi rolls.

If you keep your wrists cool, it tends to cool your entire body, since blood vessels there are so close to your skin's surface. I make cooling summertime wristbands by repurposing worn-out tube socks. I cut them into strips (like thick rubber bands), dampen them and keep a supply in the freezer for when I need a quick cool-down. Plus they're kind of stylish!

Although it's a longer-term strategy, planting as few as three shade trees in strategic places around your house can reduce indoor temperatures by as much as 20 degrees (once they're mature, of course). Plus, the U.S. Forest Service estimates that a single mature tree can add more than $600 to your home's value. That's what I call a growing investment, or an investment worth growing!

Last but not least, cold showers, baths, trips to the local swimming hole, and old-fashioned squirt guns are how this cheapskate is going to be keepin' it cool this summer. Anybody up for a water balloon fight?

Jeff Yeager is the author of three books: The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches, The Cheapskate Next Door and Don't Throw That Away. His website is UltimateCheapskate.com and you can friend him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/jeffyeager.

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