Living in an apartment means balancing comfort and convenience with minimalism and saving money. Depending on where you live, you probably don’t have to do any yard work, you can call your landlord to handle any repairs, and you likely have everything you need within easy reach, possibly even including laundry.
On the other hand, space might be tight, and while you’re not burdened with a mortgage if you rent, you’re not creating the wealth that comes with homeownership. However, if you intend to save up for your own home someday, then renting an apartment can yield tremendous savings potential over time.
An affordable lease is a good start, and having a roommate or someone living with you can mean cutting your bills in half.
However, even if you do these things, there is more you can do to save money. That’s your monthly utilities.
Keep reading to learn 14 ways how you can save money on utilities in an apartment. Even if you live in a house or condo, some of these might still be useful ideas to you too!
Unplug Some Appliances
You already know that cutting the lights when you’re not in the room can save money. In fact, the average apartment wastes 5% of its electricity on lighting alone.
However, what about unplugging appliances when they’re not in use? Of course, you won’t do this to the fridge or freezer, but hairdryers, toasters, phone chargers, and other various small appliances draw energy even when not in use.
You can even reduce the downtime power draw of larger appliances like your microwave and big screen TV with time surge protectors and other outlet additions.
Appliance Updates and Upgrades
Appliances get a lot more energy-efficient with every passing year. Even something that’s only five years old might be a dinosaur by now.
You probably can’t switch out apartment appliances, like the oven and fridge, but what about smaller appliances you own? Everything from a blender to your computer can probably be swapped out for something that uses a lot less juice.
Use Eco-Conscious Light Bulbs
Are you someone who uses many light bulbs? If so, look into eco-friendly upgrades. There is more than one kind available. They last longer, and they use a lot less power.
Find Your Air Filters and Clean Them
These keep dirt and dust from getting kicked up through your AC. However, they need regular changes, just like your car’s oil.
Don’t try to save money by using them longer. It makes your AC work harder, and it’s terrible for your lungs.
Open Your Windows
Based on where you live, your air conditioning might be the biggest energy hog in your apartment, especially in the summer. Don’t risk heat stroke or unbearable comfort when it’s impossible to do without the AC running.
However, on days with more temperate weather, open a pair of windows, and use fans to create a draft. You can feel better without wasting money.
Seal the Doors and Windows
Your apartment might heat up relatively quickly in the winter since it’s packed into a building with other units.
However, it might also be leaking heat during the winter or letting it during the summer around the doors and windows. Consult your landlord first, but consider doing caulking and weather stripping.
Don’t Drive Your Appliances So Hard
During the winter, set your heating for 65 degrees at night and sleep under a comforter, so it doesn’t have to keep the whole apartment at 75 degrees all night. Likewise, use fans for some extra cooling in rooms occupied so you can bump the thermostat up a few degrees.
Your fridge and freezer are options here too. You might be just fine with a refrigerator at 38°F instead of 33°F, and your freezer should work just as well at 5°F as it does at 0°F.
Manage Your Use of Hot Water
If you’re like most people, you use too much hot water when doing three things. The first is laundry, the second is washing your hands, and the third is taking showers.
You can do laundry and hand-washing with cold water quite effectively, so just try to be a bit quicker in the shower. You’ll save some dollars off both your electric and water bills at the same time.
Put a Bottle in Your Toilet Tank
Get a plastic bottle that will fit in your toilet tank and fill it with gravel to weigh it down. Put it in there.
This will mean your toilet uses less water to fill up and stop, saving you money on every flush.
Get Some Faucet Aerators
Put them over your faucets to further minimize your water use. Just take them off and use them at your next home when you move.
Humidify the Apartment
If you’re reading this in the summer, the thought of more humidity in your apartment might make you cringe. However, in the depths of winter, humidity can help your apartment feel warmer.
You might even avoid dry, cracking skin a bit. Electronic humidifiers can do the job, but so too can green plants grown indoors or just a pan of gray water near your radiator if you have one.
Use the Maintenance in Your Lease
If your apartment has maintenance included, call them for nearly everything you can think of. While you don’t want to annoy them, you do want to make use of what you’re paying for.
From leaky faucets to repairing electrical outlets, tiny fixes add up over time on your bills. You’ll also get more of your security deposit back when you move out.
Talk to Your Landlord
If you have ideas about things you can do to make the apartment more energy-efficient but aren’t sure if you have authority within your lease to do it, consult them. They might just give you their blessing if it means they’re getting a better property in return when you move out.
Consult Your Power Company
Many local and regional utilities are doing all they can to help consumers go green or save money. It’s just good business and PR for them, and there’s no telling what they might be able to do for you.
Not everyone renting an apartment is trying to save up money for their own house. Some have chosen apartment life for the urban conveniences, and some have moved out of homes as they downsized for a simpler, smaller life.
Regardless, nearly everyone wants to save money to have it for emergencies or spend on other things. Some even just want to have to earn less.
Use all 14 of these tips to save money on your apartment utilities, and you’ll be free to spend your money and time as you please more than ever before. You’ll also be able to sleep better at night knowing you’ve done something for the world’s environment in your tiny corner of it, and that satisfaction is priceless.
In tough economic times and frequently turbulent markets, every dime and dollar you can spare goes a long way towards getting through it all, and your monthly utilities are something you have more control over than you might imagine.