MSE News

15 MoneySaving tips to beat the summer heatwave

The UK is set to be hit by a heatwave this week, with temperatures due to top 35°C. Whether you want to enjoy it outdoors or simply keep cool, we've dug out the top MoneySaving ways to survive the sizzle.

These top tips come from MoneySavers who used them to survive last year's heatwave. 

  1. Grab £1 sun cream – factors 15-50... Usually 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 just use yours from last year's holiday – see turn your sun cream around for full info.

  3. Save money and waste less making your own ice lollies. If you're a Calippo fan, but don't want to contribute a lolly-load of non-recyclable waste to landfill, you can get reusable silicone moulds in a Calippo-esque shape. We've seen them for £2.49 for four.

  4. 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.

  5. Train delayed or cancelled by the wrong kind of sun? Know how to claim. Nearly 100 trains were cancelled due to heat last year, and speed restrictions are sometimes brought in due to high temperatures, which can make journeys longer – not fun if you're sweltering. Most will be able to claim though. See our Train Delays guide for each company's policy.

  6. Out and about? Refill your water bottle for FREE. The free Refill app lists more than 20,000 businesses – cafés, restaurants, shops, hotels and more – which let you fill up your bottle or flask even if you're not a customer, across 100-odd parts of the UK where the Refill scheme operates.

  7. Put your bedding in the freezer (no, really...) to keep it cold. 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 its cleanliness – if you want to give it a go, putting your bedding in a black bag first may help.

  8. 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 more confusing than you might think. See Tap water rights for full help.

  9. Dry your clothes outdoors – you'll save a bundle. Of course, many folk already dry their washing outdoors when weather permits. But 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.

  10. Fancy some free patio furniture? Give Freecycle a go. If you want to give your garden a makeover so you can make the most 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.

  11. 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 Forum members have suggested. Ross on Facebook recommended doing this after about 10am: "Much better as you trap the cool air in."

    The forumites are divided – while keeping windows open allows a breeze to circulate, it could also let warm air in.

  12. Cheap 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 leaving.

  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. 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.

  15. 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. See the NHS website for more.
alpacas in a paddling pool

Let us know how you're saving in the sun in the comments below, in the MSE Forum or by emailing

And see our forumites' top tips for keeping their pets cool in the heat, such as MSE Oli's alpacas who like to chill in the paddling pool. 

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!