Winter and summer are the two seasons that cost us all a lot of money in electricity usage.  These two seasons clobber my family budget, so I thought I would share some money saving tips for this year's summer air conditioning season.

Of course, you can set your thermostat higher and run your air conditioning less.  That's one way to save a little cash, but it's also one way to sweat and be uncomfortable, too.  So consider doing the following:

Put window awnings or solar screens over your windows.  Your house windows let in lots of heat through light rays, but if those rays can be blocked, you can keep your house cooler.  I'm sure you're familiar with awnings, but maybe not so much with solar screens.  You can purchase adjustable screens that will block many of the sun's rays and place them over your windows on the outside of the house.

Service your air conditioner each year so that it operates in peak proficiency.

Be sure to change the filter in your furnace/air conditioner so that a dirty filter doesn't block air flow, which makes your unit use more power and work harder.

You can also use a programmable thermostat so that the house can be a little warmer while you're away and cooler only during the time you're there.  But don't vary the temp more than 4 degrees or you'll spend more cooling the house down.

Be sure the air ducts in your home are sealed well; otherwise, you'll lose much of your cooled air to places that you don't want to cool.  Seal your windows and doors, too, so the cooled air doesn't seep outside.

Some additional tips include insulating the attic, cooking outside on a grill instead of inside where you'll heat up your home, running your dryer and dishwasher at night, keeping drapes and curtains closed during the day,  planting shade trees around your home, using the ceiling fans correctly - make sure the blades are spinning the correct way, unplugging electronics that are not being used, and closing doors and vents in rooms that you don't need to cool.

I hope I've given you enough to think about and I hope these tips are helpful.  I've employed several of these ideas and they do make a dent in the overall expenditure of summer electric costs.