With temps getting in the low 90s for this last week I decided I needed to come up with a list of ways to keep cool. I can’t afford an air conditioner this year and need to keep the electric bill down.

Here’s what I found by searching the web:

Adding Water
Just add water. The relief is almost immediate, and will last for up to one hour or more.
*Man up and soak a t-shirt in the sink, wring it out, put it on and sit in a lawn chair(or other chair that lets air through to you) in front of a fan. Re-wet as it dries. Make sure not to soak it with cold water. It can be colder than you think. Instead use lukewarm water so you get cool without freezing. Using a synthetic shirt will ensure no “wet T-shirt” look.
* Wear a short sleeved shirt and put water on the sleeves. If there is a breeze or fan blowing on you, you can actually get cold. Use a squirt bottle, the sink or hose if outside to keep your sleeves wet. If you are outside and wearing long pants and you put water on your legs, the water will cool your legs.
*Fill your bathtub with cool water and get in. Once you are used to the temperature, let some water out and refill with cold water. Keep doing this until you are sufficiently cold. Your body will stay cool for a long time after you get out.
* Or just soak your feet in a bucket of cold water. You can do it almost anywhere and don’t have to stay in the tub. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will efficiently cool the body.
* Running cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds each hand will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour, Takes 20 seconds to do and feels very nice if your wrists come in contact with other body parts.
* Wear a bandanna with water soaked on it and put it on your head.
*Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
*Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
*if you’re wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice cold water into the hat, then quickly invert it and place on your head.
* Sweat it out. Water vapor produced by sweating actually takes heat away from your body if it is exposed to air and allowed to evaporate. The best thing to do is to put your sweaty self in the path of a cool breeze or fan. Also try using a Water Misting Fan. These portable devices are battery operated so you can take them with you wherever you go. As you mist and fan yourself, the water is evaporated on you skin giving you an instant cooling sensation!

Prep the whole house to keep cool
*Use light-colored roofing. If you have the choice, choose a lighter roof or roof coating. It will reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it.
*They also suggest light colored siding, but personally I wouldn’t as bugs like light colored siding better.
*Insulate your home. A home that has well-insulated walls and attic will actually keep the heat out in hot seasons. Just imagine your home as a gigantic ice cooler! There are lots of insulation options to choose from, including types that can be conveniently blown into your walls without much hassle. Another bonus is that there may be government grants to help offset the cost of this kind of upgrade.
*Plant trees. Trees can shade your home or yard and keep things considerably cooler. Deciduous trees, those that lose their leaves in winter, will let sunlight through in winter when it’s desired and create shade in summer. Awnings and planning the exposure of windows and
doors in a home you are building can also provide shade. The south and west sides of your home will generally be the hottest and most in need of shade.
*Send up the cool air. If your home has a basement and central air system, have an HVAC professional add a cold air return in the basement to pull the naturally cool air that falls down and recycle it into the rest of your home by simply setting your furnace to “fan” mode.
*Install an individual room ventilation system with a cool air intake,hot air exhaust and temperature and humidity controls. This will bring the night time air in and let the ac take over in the middle of the day.
*Install a whole-house fan. This will push hot air into the attic, where it dissipates via attic vents. To cool your house, open a door to the basement, and make sure that all doors between the basement and the room where the fan is located are open. Turn it on at night and open downstairs windows, and that’ll cool down the house. However, make sure that you’ve got good attic vents, or else your attic won’t take the heat.
*Install attic vents. It’s amazing how much difference a cool attic makes to the heat of a house, and it stops that uncomfortable feeling of when you’ve got a cool house but you feel heat radiating down onto your head.
*One of the best defenses to keeping the body cool is to keep the home cool. Invest in quality awnings to reduce solar heat gain, which is the amount of temperature that rises due to sunshine. These awnings will help block the sun during the day and if installed over a patio, the family can enjoy a shaded and comfortable space to enjoy, free of sun.
*Install awnings on south-facing windows. Because of the angle of the sun, trees, a trellis, or a fence will best shade west-facing windows.
*Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.
*Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity.
* Grown on trellises, vines such as ivy or grapevines can shade windows or the whole side of a house.
* Avoid landscaping with lots of unshaded rock, cement, or asphalt on the south or west sides. It increases the temperature around the house and radiates heat to the house after the sun has set.
* Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will keep your house cool in the summer. Just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save a few hundred dollars in annual cooling and heating costs. In summer, daytime air temperatures can be 3 degrees to 6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.

Summer Food
*Stock your freezer with flavored ice treats. Freeze a bag of chopped fruit such as watermelon, pineapple or lemons. Cooling down can be a tasty experience too!
*Use a hint of mint. Try a few minty or menthol products to cool your skin: slather on lotion with peppermint (avoid your face and eyes), shower with peppermint soap, use a minty foot soak, and powders with mint. Mint refreshes the skin and leaves a nice cooling sensation.
Do a Google search for minty recipes to try!
*Eat spicy food. It’s not a coincidence that many people in hotter regions of the world eat spicy food. Spicy (hot to the taste) food increases perspiration which cools the body as it evaporates. It also can cause an endorphin rush that is quite pleasant and might make you forget about the heat.
*Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products. As an added benefit, you won’t have to cook next to a hot stove.

Summer Style to keep you cool
*Dress (or undress) for the heat. There are several strategies to dress, depending on your situation:
– Nothing: If you’re in a situation where you can go without clothes, this can be the most comfortable, natural way to stay cool.
– Next-to-Nothing: Put on a swimsuit, or wear your underwear at home.
– Summer Clothing: Wear natural fabrics (cotton, silk, linen) rather than polyester, rayon, or other artificial fibers (with the possible exception of performance fabrics).
* Wear Light Colors: Darker colors will absorb the sun’s rays and be warmer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat. Wear natural summer clothing.
* Cover Up: Covering up may actually keep your cooler, especially if the heat is low in humidity. In the scorching temperatures of the Middle Eastern deserts, traditional cultures wear clothing covering from head to toe. By protecting your skin from the sun beating down, you’ll also shade your skin. Be sure your clothing is natural fabrics, and loose.
*Wear your hair up. This will help to keep your neck cool and relatively free of sweat.
*Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light color.
*Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.

Heat goes up, so you should go down!
Go downstairs. Warm air is less dense than cooler air so it ends up layered on top of the downward moving cooler air. If you’re in a house, for example, get lower than the roof. Make your way to the basement or lower level. It will be cooler there. Position a fan in an upstairs window to draw off heat collected in upper rooms–set it up so that it sucks air from indoors and pushes it outdoors.

Fans and air conditioners are a summer staple- Move the Air
* Keep the air flowing. In the evening, open windows and use fans to create a cross-breeze, circulating cooler evening/night air through the rooms. Do not leave a fan on in an enclosed room when no one is present. A fan does not cool the air already in the room; in fact it heats it. The fan’s motor generates heat and even the circulating air creates a less significant amount of heat from friction. It just feels cooler when you are present because of natural moisture evaporation from the skin, which does cool your body; but only if you are in the room. So, save electricity and turn off all fans in enclosed rooms not occupied. As soon as the sun hits the building the next morning, close all windows and keep doors and windows closed throughout the day until it is cooler outside than it is inside. Then you can open everything up again and cool off to be prepared for the next day. Leaving kitchen cabinets open all night helps too; if you leave them
closed, they store the heat and your house won’t cool off as much.
* Put a freeze on things. Get 1 or more 2 liter bottles, fill them mostly full of water, freeze them, then place them in a large bowl (to catch dripping water). Position a fan to blow on them. As the ice in the bottles melts, the air cools around them. The fan will blow that air at you. The water in the bottles can be frozen overnight and used again, repeatedly. This will supplement your AC if you have it, and will serve as a ad hoc AC until you can get a decent AC system. Note that this is not any more efficient than A/C, as energy goes into freezing the ice.
* Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
* If the breeze alone isn’t enough, apply some fan power. Even small tabletop fans, which can be had for $30 or so at Target and similar stores, can really whip the air around. Placing one facing in by the window where air is coming in, and one at an opposite window positioned to blow warm air out, can create a nice “wind tunnel” effect in pulling air through the house.
* These strategies can be especially effective at night when it is cooler. But then it’s important to shut the windows when you leave for the day in the morning to keep the cooler air in and the warmth of the new day out. Keep blinds shut and curtains drawn, too, as sunlight pouring into the house only creates more heat. And remember that lights left on are not only wasting electricity—they’re creating heat, as well.
* Ceiling fans also do a nice job of circulating air in the rooms you occupy most, and though they do require some up-front costs for installation they use only about 1/30th the electricity of a room air conditioner.
* Without blocking air flow, shade your outside compressor. Change air filters monthly during the summer.
* Use a programmable thermostat with your air conditioner to adjust the setting at night or when no one is home.
* Don’t place lamps or TVs near your air conditioning thermostat. The heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer.

Your windows
* Close your blinds. Close your blinds and curtains during the day to block the sun. For even better protection, get aluminized blinds (or use removable sheets of cardboard cut to size and covered in foil.) At night, open selective windows that cooler night air is blowing in. If possible, purchase a fan (such as from SMC) that are meant to install in a window. There should be an in, out,and exchange switch which controls the direction the air blows. These aren’t overly expensive and work really well.
*Many families don’t think much of the windows in their home and instead keep them covered during the summer months to block out the sun. However, the windows are part of an elaborate circulation process that is designed to keep the home cool and air moving. The trick is that you have to know which windows to open at which times. For starters, determine which way the breeze is moving and open the windows in this direction. It will get a cool breeze moving through the home, and this motion of air over the skin will prompt the body to cool.
*Windows are also unique in that they allow hot air to escape. For example, heat rises and if high windows are opened, the heat will pass through. To enhance the ventilation throughout the home, also consider the strategic placement of ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are a fraction of the cost of AC units and even offer an aesthetic appeal to the home. Their goal is to keep the body cool instead of cooling down a room. It’s not just ceiling fans that are beneficial, but tabletop ones, too. Create a wind tunnel by placing a fan by the window to pull in air and another one at an opposite window to pull air out.
*Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day.

Turn off the heat
*Turn off electrical heat sources. Turn off the stove or other sources of heat. Don’t use the stove or oven to eat–eat out, eat cold food, or use the microwave. Incandescent light bulbs also create heat – switch to compact fluorescents. Turn off your lamps, as well as your computer when you’re not using it. Turn off your TV – it gives off a lot of heat.
* Adjust your pilot light. If you have a gas stove with pilot lights, make sure they are set correctly. Too high and they’ll produce excess heat. We stop using the oven in the summer and just turn the gas off.

The power of the mind
*Think cool. Read books about climbing Mount Everest, visiting Norway, or watch “March of the Penguins”, “Ice Age”, or “The Day After Tomorrow”. You might not be physically cooler, but if your mind envisions a cold environment, you might feel a bit cooler.

Summer Exercise
* Alter your pattern of outdoor exercise to take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening). If you can’t change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead or running, or decreasing your level of exertion.

Drink just the right amount of fluids! and avoid dehydration
* Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you’re ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you’ll have a supply of cold water with you.
* Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes.
* Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.

Hit the Pulse points
One tried-and-true method is to wet your wrists and other pulse points with cold water, and then keep those spots cool by holding an ice cube wrapped in a face cloth against them. The relief is immediate, and this method will cool down the entire body—by as much as three degrees Fahrenheit—for upwards of an hour.

Natures ways to cool off
*Sit in the shade. Find a shaded area and set up a water misting system that connects to an ordinary garden hose that can be found at home improvement stores. Then, just sit there and let the mist cool you off.
*Cool as a cucumber! Slice a thin piece of cold cucumber (from the fridge or a cooler) and stick it in the middle of your forehead! This feels fantastic on a hot day or when stuck in a hot car, and works almost immediately!

Sources Used: There’s more tips at the following places so it would be good to check them out.

Links you should check out:

How do you keep cool?