If you’re a homeowner, you have tons of options to winterize your abode. Install storm doors, upgrade your heating system, build walls or take them down! As a renter, your options are a bit more limited. Does that mean you’re stuck wearing a blanket and mittens around your apartment all winter? Far from it! There are a handful of quick, easy, and even cheap damage-free ways you can prep your place for winter and lower your energy costs. Read the rest of this entry »
‘utility bills’ Tag
Apartment living can be expensive, which is why opening your mailbox to find a stack of bills is incredibly disheartening. Gas bills, water bills, electric bills, internet bills—all can have high prices attached, and no matter how high, need to be paid regularly. But there are ways to take the sting out of those monthly payments. First and foremost: be smart about the way you spend money on your apartment living.
As a general rule, the best thing you can do is keep track of your spending habits. Staying aware of how much you spend and on which bills can help you spot areas in which you are spending too much on apartment living, and, if necessary, figure out ways to redistribute the way you spend your money. If you don’t want to create your own system to track your spending, there are lots of ways to manage your finances. Use online services like Mint.com or smartphone apps like Ace Budget 2, Money by Jumsoft, BillTracker, and BillMinder to manage your money and gain a clear understanding of how you spend it.
Want to start by saving money on your utility bills? Here are few easy things you can do to lower your utility bill payment and the price of apartment living.
Phone, TV, and Internet Bills
Make sure that you have the best setup or package for your apartment living needs. You might be able to pay less by re-evaluating your cable provider plan. However, you may have to do a little extra research, since cheaper plans aren’t often the most advertised ones. See if getting each service separately, rather than as a bundle, would benefit your apartment living budget. If you rarely use your landline, look into a more basic plan or even opt out altogether in favor of cell phone use only. If you watch most of your TV and movies online or on your computer, consider reducing your cable plan to something like “broadcast basic” package. Also, evaluate your internet speed needs. If you use your internet for business or stream a lot of videos, stick with a fast connection. If you’re only doing light browsing and emailing, however, aim for something lower.
Gas and Electricity Bills
Save money during season changes by adjusting your apartment living habits to save on your gas bill no matter the weather. Program your thermostat or adjust it manually so that it is running optimally during the hottest and coolest parts of the day. Wash your clothes with cold water rather than hot—it will save money on your gas bill and actually maintain the colors of your clothes better!
As with other smart apartment living tips, the trick to saving money on your water bill is being mindful of your habits. Little things like turning off the tap while your brush your teeth, using the dishwasher only when it’s full, buying a low-flow showerhead, and using energy-efficient appliances can make a big difference in the number of gallons you use up per month in the long run.
For other apartment living tips, including advice on living with a roommate, small apartment living, choosing a family-friendly apartment, and more, search our Apartment Life blog, and see how ApartmentSearch.com can help make life in an apartment easier!
Apartments change on the inside with the seasons: new décor goes up, recipes change, wardrobe choices rotate, and as fall and winter approach, that transition between hot and cold can also mean a change in your gas bill. Apartments in extreme climates (think Austin apartments and Seattle apartments) will notice this difference especially. Remember, however: if you are mindful of the temperatures of your apartment, your gas bill will stay manageable. Renters, cutting back on utilities doesn’t have to mean walking around your apartment perpetually wrapped in an afghan! Avoid the embarrassment of having to buy a Snuggie with these useful tips to lower the gas bill in your apartments:
A programmable thermostat will do wonders for an apartment’s gas bills. Apartments can benefit greatly from the ability to adjust the temperature automatically throughout the day. Especially if you’re at work all day, turn up your thermostat before you leave. Even better, if your thermostat has a timer, adjust it so that the temperature fluctuates with the amount of sunlight the room receives to keep the temperature steady. Some suggest that you turn it off altogether if you leave home for more than two hours, but apartments in more extreme climes may want to steer clear of this option, since freezing pipes and overheating are both real possibilities.
Close your blinds and put up curtains. Apartments’ temperatures fluctuate easily if a window is left exposed to the elements, making the heating or air conditioning activate unnecessarily.
Much of apartments’ energy used in a washing machine is for heating the water. To save money in your apartments, wash clothes in cold water only. Your clothes will be just as clean. A cold water wash will not only save you money, it is environmentally friendly and better preserves the colors of your clothing.
Test the door seals of the refrigerators and freezers in your apartment. Put a dollar bill in the door and close it. If the bill does not hold, replace the seal.
Invest in a sweater and some socks. If you only turn down your heat even a few degrees, most apartments’ heating bills will show a significant decrease. Be conscious of when you want to adjust your thermostat, and ask yourself whether it is enough to warrant the change, or if you could easily put on a pair of socks to solve the problem.
Gas Bill Explosion?
A gas bill can do explosive damage to your wallet during a cold winter. In part two of our series on lowering your apartment’s utility bills, we’d like to give you some pointers on taming that gas bill.
It’s Winter – Do You Know Where Your Gas Bill Is?
In most apartment complexes, the apartments are heated by natural gas. Composed primarily of methane, natural gas is efficient and delivers quick, powerful heat. However, if you’re not keeping track of your gas bill, your natural gas usage can quickly get away from you.
Keep records of what your apartment’s gas bill has been over the past few months. If it spikes without an accompanying change in the weather or in your gas usage, you may have a problem – or even a dangerous natural gas leak. Talk to your apartment manager about the problem.
It’s also very handy to know what’s happening to your neighbors’ gas bills. If you see a significant change in your gas bill, find out what happened to your neighbor’s gas bills. If yours was the only one to jump, you know you have a problem.
Lower Your Apartment’s Gas Bill
Here are some quick gas bill lowering tips:
- Stay in tune with the seasons. When it’s cold out, don’t fight it with your thermostat. Wear a sweater and socks when you’re in the house, and keep the thermostat a few degrees cooler. Program or adjust your thermostat so your apartment’s gas bill isn’t skyrocketing because you’re heating an empty apartment.
- Spot heating is big savings. As we mentioned in our electric bill article, it really pays to use a space heater to stay toasty in your favorite locations, rather than heating the entire apartment.
- Hot water hits your gas bill. If your apartment’s shower spits scalding water, you’re also getting burned by your gas bill. Turn the hot water heater setting down until you don’t need to mix in cold water when you take a shower.
- Insulate. Even apartment renters can insulate with easily-removed weatherstripping. If you’re worried about getting dinged for damage caused by weatherstripping, simply stuff drafty window cracks with packing foam or bubble wrap.
- Hot water, redux. Some 80 to 85% of the energy you spend on washing clothes is spent on heating the water. Try washing your clothes only in cold water, and if that doesn’t work for you, try warm instead of hot. Make sure you’re using the right water level setting – less water means less waste!
- Watch your oven. If your apartment’s gas bill is being inflated by oven usage, try moving or sharing the load. Can those fries be browned in your smaller toaster oven? Are you using the oven for toast? How about baking potatoes and cooking a roast at the same time?
Gas Bill Relief
Try these tips and see if you get some gas bill relief. Sometimes, though, you may have to talk to apartment maintenance about the insulation or the heating in your unit.
If you’re trying to find an energy-efficient apartment for rent, don’t forget to use our apartment search services. You can earn up to $200 in renter rewards if you find an apartment with us!