In the middle of summer, temperatures outside can become scorching and unbearable. Cranking the air conditioning up as high as it’ll go can certainly help you cool off, but your utility bill will skyrocket. Thankfully, there are a number of other ways that you can cool off during the hot summer months.

Try these tips to stay cool and save money in the summertime:

1. Stay Hydrated. Having an ice-cold beverage on hand at all times is a great way to stay cool. Many choose soda because it tastes great and seems to provide relief to your body. Unfortunately, sodas also deplete your body of the hydration it desperately needs in the intense heat of summer.

* Drink as much water as you can. Sports drinks can provide a change of pace and flavor, but your body needs as much water as possible to avoid heat exhaustion and other health issues that the summer can cause.

2. Cool off with Water. The intense heat of summer doesn’t have to keep you shut inside your home. Swimming is a great way to beat the heat. If you don’t have your own pool, find out if your community has a public pool. If not, perhaps a membership to a gym that has a pool can help you to keep cool, have fun, and get in shape at the same time.

* Even a hose or sprinkler in the backyard can provide hours of play in cool, refreshing water. If you live near water, take advantage of the surf and sand of the beach for a cool afternoon with family and friends.

3. Use Fans. Fans are an effective way to cool down a room without turning the air conditioning all the way up. Box and ceiling fans can provide extra cooling throughout your home and allow you to keep your thermostat set higher so your air conditioner doesn’t work overtime.

* Keep a small personal fan in your car for times when you are out and about and the heat is too much to bear.

4. Eat Nutritiously. An often-overlooked way to beat the heat is with a healthy diet. Think of the food you eat every day as fuel for your body, and you’ll begin to make better choices about the types of foods you eat.

* Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to provide your body with the vitamins it needs to stay strong during the hot summer months. In addition to fueling your body, cold fruit can be a delicious way to cool off after a workout or time playing in the hot sun.

5. Wear Light Clothing. Wear breathable, lightweight clothing when you go outdoors during the summer. Heavy clothing can cause your body to overheat much faster than it normally would. Make clothing choices that keep you cool and comfortable in the summer heat.

6. Slow down. Above all, remember to protect your health. If you begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded at any point, stop what you’re doing and sit down. If possible, find a cool spot indoors to rest until you feel like yourself again.

* Heat stroke or other serious health consequences can result if you ignore your body’s plea for rest from the heat.

With a little advance planning and some common sense strategies, you can beat the heat this summer. Protect your health while you enjoy all of the recreation and fun the summer has to offer.