Winter has already arrived in most of the U.S. That means increased utility bills as you try to keep your apartment properly warm while the temperature outside dips below freezing. If you’re living on a budget, this bump in utility bills might cause you some stress, but with this ultimate first apartment utility budgeting checklist, you’ll have all the tips and tricks you need to rein in your spending.
When your gas bill jumps dramatically in the winter, you’re stuck with a bit of a conflict. You need to save money, but it’s just not comfortable to be living in a cold apartment. How can you stay warm without overspending? Here are some ideas:
- Lower your thermostat to between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use ceiling fans (they’re not just for cooling!).
- Let the sunlight in.
- Seal up air leaks.
- Use draft guards on your doors.
- Bundle up.
Air conditioning is the easiest way to cool an apartment, but it can get expensive quickly. Consider the following tricks to minimize your air conditioning expenses:
- Install a smart thermostat so you can easily control your air conditioning.
- Rely on ceiling fans instead of air conditioning.
- Keep windows open to create a cross breeze.
- Clean your AC filters regularly.
- Leave home more (and turn off the AC when you do).
- Ditch AC entirely.
Electric bills tend to be modest when you’re not using lots of AC, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cut back on your electricity use to save money. Have you tried the following?
- Unplug all your electronic devices, whether laptops or toasters, when they’re not in use.
- Dim your lights and only use them when you need to.
- Air dry your clothes instead of using the dryer (if you have one).
- Run only cold cycles, instead of warm or hot cycles, on your washer (if you have one).
If you’re lucky, your landlord will pay your water bill for you. If not, you might be spending a bit to enjoy full access to water for your sinks, showers, and (also if you’re lucky) in-unit washer and dryer. This cost might not fluctuate much by season, so keep these money-saving tips in mind year-round:
- Turn faucets off when you’re not using them.
- File maintenance requests for leaking pipes as soon as you can.
- Do laundry less frequently, or run larger and fewer washer loads.
- Take shorter showers.
- Reuse water for dishwashing.
- Collect and reuse greywater, if possible.
Find more on some of these tips here.
Internet and cable
It’s tougher to find ways to save on your internet bill, just as it is with cable if you have it. You can vary the amount of electricity, gas, and water that your home uses, but telecommunication companies tend to offer monthly flat rates for internet and cable access. The trick with saving on these bills isn’t to use the internet or your TV more or less often – try these tricks instead.
- Don’t buy into more expensive internet plans with increased download speeds unless they are absolutely necessary.
- Buy a bundle for internet and cable that reduces the price you pay for each.
- Consider forgoing cable altogether in favor of streaming services.
Do you have any savvy tips for saving on your utility bills? Share them in the comments!