Summer is right around the corner and here are some ideas you can use to save money during those warm months of summer:

Turn off the air conditioning
This doesn’t mean you have to suffer through sweltering heat, but you should be aware of the weather so that you can maximize efficiency and save money by using the AC only when needed. For example, if it is going to be a cool night, turn off the air before heading to bed and open a few windows. It can help to have cross-ventilation set up. To do this, open windows on opposite sides of your home, and set up a fan to exhaust out one window. This pulls the cooler nighttime air into your home, while removing warmer, stuffier daytime air.

Cook outside
Using the stove or baking in the oven can create a lot of excess heat that has nowhere to go except in your house. Consider taking meal plans to the barbecue grill outside so that you can keep your cool inside. A bonus: cooking out turns a plain dinner into a fun picnic.

Let your laundry dry outside
If you have the ability to hang up laundry outside (not every homeowners’ association or rental property allows this), let the sun and warm summer breeze do the drying for you. You’ll be amazed at how fresh your clothes smell once they’ve baked in the sun for awhile. Even if you can’t hang up clothes outside, try using your dryer on a lower heat setting or only partially drying your shirts and letting them air dry the rest of the way.

Take advantage of extended evenings
Instead of retiring to the couch to stream a show, use the extended daylight hours to enjoy the great outdoors. You’ll save a bit of money on electricity by not running the electronics and indoor lights, and get some exercise, too.

Replace your air conditioner filters
This can be easy to overlook, but a dirty filter can increase your cooling costs. Dirty filters restrict the airflow and the efficiency of the air conditioner, which translates into more run time and higher cooling costs. Filters are cheap, so replace them regularly.