15 MoneySaving tips to beat the heatwave
Much of the UK is set to be hit by a heatwave in the coming days, with temperatures in parts of England to go well above 30°C. Whether you want to enjoy it outdoors or simply keep cool, we've dug out the top MoneySaving tips to survive the sizzle – but remember, the coronavirus pandemic hasn't gone away, so be sensible and follow the Government's guidelines.
These top tips come from MoneySavers who used them to survive heatwaves in the past.
- Grab £2ish sun cream – factors 30-50... 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 £2ish rather than the usual £6-£12. The British Skin Foundation says they check out on safety too – see £2ish sun cream deals.
- ... 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.
- 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 previously seen them for £2.49 for four.
- 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.
- Train delayed or cancelled by the wrong kind of sun? Know how to claim. Scores of trains are cancelled due to heat each year, and speed restrictions are sometimes brought in due to high temperatures, which can make journeys longer – not fun if you're sweltering behind that mask. Fewer people are likely to be getting trains because of the coronavirus pandemic, but many who do and are delayed will be able to claim. See our Train Delays guide for each company's policy.
- Put your bedding in the freezer (yes, really...) to keep it cold. A couple of MoneySavers swear by this – for example, 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 bin bag first may help.
- 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.
- 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 (and the sun can help getting stains out).
- 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 etc. The free Trash Nothing app can help you scour multiple recycling groups at once – see our Freecyle & Freegle guide for full help. Remember to be extra wary when doing this because of the coronavirus pandemic. It may be worth disinfecting items once you've picked them up, and physically distancing from the person you're picking up from.
- Close the curtains... and open the windows? If a room gets direct sun, some MSE Forum members have suggested that closing the curtains even during the daytime will help keep it cool. 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.
- Cheap fans from £9. You can grab small-ish desk fans (6in-9in wide) from £8.99, 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.
- 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.
- 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 medication to generic equivalents can yield savings not to be sniffed at – for example, 120 tablets of a Piriteze equivalent can cost just £2.80.
- 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 shielding or may struggle to cope and keep cool. See the NHS website for more.
- And finally... remember to follow the Government's coronavirus guidelines. The rules vary in different parts of the UK, but in England for example, remember you can only socialise outdoors in a group of no more than six people from different households (or indoors in groups of two households). Full guidance can be found in our Life in Lockdown guide.