Much of the UK is sweltering in the sunshine, with some areas seeing temperatures of up to 29°C and hot weather forecast for much of the next two weeks. Whether you want to enjoy it outdoors or simply keep cool, here’s a quick roundup of the top MoneySaving ways to survive the sizzle.
The following tips include some from MoneySavers who used them to survive last year’s heatwave, plus those who are already using them to cope this year. Let us know how you’re saving in the sun in the comments below, in the forum or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) Grab £1 sun cream factors 15-50. Usually this is one of our travel tips, but right now it’s a must at home, never mind abroad. We’ve found bottles of sun cream for £1 rather than the usual £6-£12. The British Skin Foundation says they check out on safety too see £1 sun cream deals.
2) … Or simply turn your old sun cream bottles around. If you do, you should find a ‘period after opening’ number on the back, which tells you the number of months after opening it should be OK to use. You may find you can simply use yours from last year’s holiday see Turn your sun cream around for full info.
3) Turn your hot water bottle into a COLD water bottle. A few MoneySavers suggest this as an effective (but decidedly low-tech) way to stay frosty. Sarah on Facebook told us you should fill the bottle with cold water Jennifer went one better and suggested sticking it in the freezer.
4) Train delayed by the wrong kind of sun? Know how to claim. Speed restrictions are sometimes brought in due to high temperatures, which can make journeys longer not fun if you’re sweltering in the heat. Most will be able to claim though. See our Train Delays guide for each company’s policy.
5) Out and about? Refill your water bottle for FREE. Website Tapwater.org has a handy tool that allows you to find places that provide free tap water. It’s a little clunky, but worth trying it lists more than 1,000 free “refilling stations”, including pubs, cafes, cycle shops, even bakeries. Just type your location into the search bar.
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6) Put your bedding in the freezer (no, really…). A couple of MoneySavers swear by this – eg, Clare tweeted: “Pop your duvet in the freezer if you have a chest freezer… Also tip a bag of rice into a pillow case, seal the top and freeze for bedtime.” Much will depend on the size of your freezer though, and it’s cleanliness – if you want to give it a go, putting your bedding in a black bag first may help.
7) Do you have a right to free water in restaurants? Many are likely to be thirstier than usual if sitting down for a meal but the rules are a bit more confusing than people think. See Tap water rights for full help.
8) Dry your clothes outdoors – you’ll save a bundle. Of course, many folks already dry their washing outdoors when weather permits. But shockingly we Brits spend an estimated £375 million tumble-drying clothes between June and September each year, according to the Energy Saving Trust – so simply drying your threads in the sun could save you a packet. It’ll likely leave them smelling nicer too.
9) Fancy some free patio furniture? Give Freecycle a go. If you want to give your back garden a quick makeover so you can get the most out of the weather, don’t assume you have to spend the earth. Instead try giveaway sites like Freecycle for second-hand patio furniture, parasols, barbecues, paddling pools etc. The free Trash Nothing app can help you scour multiple recycling groups at once – see our Freecyle & Freegle guide for full help.
10) Close the curtains… and open the windows? If a room gets direct sun, closing the curtains even during the daytime will help keep it cool, some MSE forumites have suggested. Ross on Facebook suggested doing this after about 10am. “Much better as you trap the cool air in,” he wrote.
There’s some debate though about whether you should keep windows open or closed. The Energy Saving Trust told us it’s not sure how effective keeping them open is, and forumites are divided – while keeping windows open allows a breeze to circulate, it could also let warm air in.
11) Cheap electric fans from £8. You can grab small-ish desk fans (6in-7in wide) from £7.99, while it’s possible to bag large pedestal fans from £14.99. See our full round-up of fan-tastic deals.
Last year during a heatwave, we saw cheap fans flying off the shelves, so we can’t guarantee they’ll be easy to find. If you’re planning to buy in-store, it might be worth phoning ahead to check stock before you make a special trip.
12) Teach your kids how to swim outdoors for free. For a no-cost way of keeping your kids cool AND teaching them a useful skill, why not book them into a free outdoor swimming and water safety course? These courses are run for 7-14 year olds at 20 open water locations UK-wide from June to September, completely free. There are 12,000 spaces available in total.
13) Turbo-charge your fan to make staying cool a breeze. Thanks to MoneySaver Carol for this simple suggestion on Twitter put a bowl of ice cubes in front of your fan for instant homemade air-con.
14) Know your rights is it too hot to work? There’s no set maximum working temperature, but employers must stick to health and safety law which requires the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings to be “reasonable”. The Health and Safety Executive has more information on what your employer should do.
15) Slash the cost of hay fever tablets. If you’re suffering, at least make sure you don’t pay through the nose. Switching from branded medications to generic equivalents can yield savings not to be sniffed at for example, 120 tablets of a Piriteze equivalent can cost just £2.80.
16) And finally, look out for others too. Remember some people are more seriously affected by the heat. So look out for neighbours, family and friends too particularly those who may be isolated or may struggle to cope and keep cool.