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10 Easy and Practical Ways to Cut Cooling Costs from All You Magazine

Hotter summer temps usually mean higher energy bills. But by following these 10 tips from All You magazine, you can help keep your cool for less.

The only thing higher than the sweltering summer temps outside may be your blood pressure upon viewing your latest energy bill. Local energy providers and electric cooperatives tend to provide strategies for cutting your costs with the onset of this much warmer weather.

Some are even somewhat sympathetic to skyrocketing costs as they’ll average your costs across the year—meaning you’ll pay approximately the same each month so it’s less of a hit on your bank account.

Believe it or not, there are simple things you can do to keep your cool—for less—short of swearing off the AC or installing high-priced solar panels. All You magazine shares several in its latest issue, and these are 10 of the easiest and most practical.

1.    With your thermostat set at a steady 78 degrees, run a fan at the same time. It helps circulate cool air and even reduces the temperature in a room by 4 degrees.

2.    Get even more cooling power from ceiling fans by changing them to run counterclockwise. Doing so helps create a downward draft.

3.    Rather than turn your thermostat off when you’re gone, program it to 85 degrees. Set it to start cooling things off about an hour before you arrive. Turning it back to full blast when you return just makes it work harder.

4.    Opt for compact fluorescent lightbulbs. They emit less heat and last longer than their incandescent counterparts.

5.    Keep things cool by avoiding using the stove, washer and dryer, and other major appliances when temps are at their highest at midday. Go old school and hang your laundry on the clothesline to dry for even more energy savings.

6.    Even when not in use, plugged-in electronics like TVs, cell phones and computers use energy. Use a power strip you can flip on and off for greater control over heat conservation.

7.    When the sun’s beaming through windows, block the heat by closing the blinds and pulling the curtains. White curtains and honeycomb weave blinds are best for keeping cool.

8.    Got a green thumb? Placing plants near windows can help soak up the sun—and its heat. Your best bet is positioning them at the south- and west-facing windows.

9.    Take full advantage of the cooler temps below in the basement if you’ve got one. Beat the summer heat by planning a fun—and low-cost—family movie night in.

10.    Use the hotter temps as an excuse not to cook—well, inside at least. Fire up the grill outside or use lower-heat emitting options like microwaves and slow cookers inside. Or take it a healthier step further and eat fresh, no-cook foods.

All You magazine's January 20, 2012, issue

New Year’s Resolutions: It’s That Time of Year

All You magazine's January 20, 2012, issue

All You magazine's January 20, 2012, issue has tips for spending less money in the new year--whether it's a resolution or not.

After a rough 2011, blogger Summer Huggins is taking a different approach to New Year’s resolutions this year.

I’ve made an executive decision about setting New Year’s resolutions this year. I’m not gonna do it. Instead I’m going to keep things simple. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, so quitting those are out already.

I’m not one of those people who wallows in self-pity, but it’s been a rough 13 to 14 months for me. I lost my dad, a cousin and a dog, and my mom is in a rehab facility recovering from a stroke. Those events have shifted my priorities. So instead of setting lofty goals for myself by making one of any of the most popular resolutions, I simply want to continue to live well.

Instead of resolving to exercise more, I simply want to live life outdoors more, taking more photo walks, spending time playing fetch with the dogs and volunteering in my community.

Instead of resolving to lose weight, I plan to just make the healthiest decisions possible. When faced with fried chicken and mashed potatoes or a plate of locally grown fresh grilled vegetables, I want to choose the healthier option. That’d be the vegetables.

Instead of resolving to save more money, I will simply spend less and let the saving happen naturally.

If you’re making New Year’s resolutions, I wish you all the best sticking with them and making them work for you. If you’re like me and bucking the trend, I wish you a happy and healthy year.