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I purchased small oscillating fans to place in the corners of each room in the house (excluding the bathroom) and the house stays cooler with the air flow being kept on the move rather then being still. I would estimate it being at least 10 to 20 degrees cooler in the rooms throughout the house and I believe it is because the air is kept moving in each of the rooms.
In this heat wave I am very grateful for all the fans I have all over the apartment, which supplement my little AC units! I keep the fans on overnight to cool off the place with the cooler night air. I even picked up one recently at a thrift store which I can clip on close to my computer (for $5!)
About using fans - It usually cools off at night - so use that to your advantage and have fans running at night to bring in the cooler air. Then you can use your air conditioning only during the day.
Be aware of the patterns of cross-ventilation of your home or apartment. My apartment, for example, has an updraft in the front hall, so the cool air circulates better if I keep the front door open. I have put a lacey curtain on the open door for privacy, and to reduce bugs, etc. Also, I have fans in almost every window to help circulate the air through the apartment. By doing this nights, it avoids the build up in heat I would get without the circulation of air.