Apartments: Five Great Ways to Lower Your Bills

Moving to a new apartment can be extremely stressful, even if you’ve found the most amazing apartment and can’t wait to make it your new home. Among the biggest stressors is the sheer cost of moving; whether you’re moving into a slightly more expensive place and aren’t entirely sure how you’re going to manage the monthly increase or just looking for ways to defray the actual one-time cost of moving into the new apartment itself. Keep the cloud of money troubles from overshadowing the happiness of finding your beautiful new apartment by cutting back on some of your bills. With a few small changes, you can make noticeable contributions to your monthly budget and remove a lot of stress from your life! Here are our five favorite ways to save:


  1. Cut the cable. The cost of cable has gotten pretty well out of control, making it one of the biggest bills—outside of rent and groceries—that many apartment dwellers today have to pay. Think about unbundling your plan by dropping your landline phone and going totally cellular; keeping only your internet access; and giving up cable TV in favor of an affordable monthly streaming subscription like NetFlix, Hulu, Google Fire TV or Amazon Prime, then adding an antenna (an affordable, one-time purchase) for reception of your local network channels. Following this formula, many consumers can cut half or more off of their monthly cable bill.


If you’re hooked on a show that you just can’t get without subscription access and simply can’t forego cable TV, try negotiating with your provider to at least lower your bill. Here’s a trick: call and ask to speak to a “Customer Retention Representative.” Many cable companies have dedicated customer service reps who specialize in keeping customers who are thinking about quitting. Tell them you’re thinking of canceling your service and the only way you’ll stay is if they can find a way to help you reduce your bill.


  1. Check your cellphone service package. Because cell phone minutes, data and texting plans can be so incredibly confusing, it’s super easy to get complacent about your cell phone service to the point that you might be spending way more than you have to. If your contract is up for renewal don’t be too quick to jump back in. Instead, take the time to shop the competition and find out how much you might save by switching carriers. If you’re in the middle of a contract period, call your carrier or visit your neighborhood store and ask a customer service rep to review your usage and help identify ways that your plan (and your wallet) might benefit from a change. You might be pleasantly surprised by what a reconfiguration of your plan can do for your wallet.


  1. Cut back on electricity. The average American overspends on their electric bill by thousands of dollars every year, so don’t be average! Instead, buy energy-efficient light bulbs that last longer and will help to lower your bills. You can also take steps to reduce usage (and cost!) by making small changes to your day-to-day routine. Turn out all the lights each time you leave your apartment and turn lights on and off when you enter/leave a room. Unplug appliances that are not in use. You can even use power strips that allow you to turn specific outlets off and on to curb power drain from things that are plugged in but not turned on or in use. Run the dishwasher only when it’s completely full and do laundry only when you have a full load.


  1. Speaking of laundry … if your apartment community has coin-operated machines you can start cutting down on quarters by combining some whites and colors and washing one (cold-water) load instead of two by using color-safe bleach. Some things that you would normally pay to have dry cleaned can be hand washed instead.


  1. Share your commute. Cut back on gas and tolls by asking around at the office to find out who lives near you (maybe even in the same apartment community!) and is willing to share your daily commute to and from work. You might be able to alternate days or weeks; ride and chip in for gas; or drive someone else who’s willing to chip in for gas! Be sure to have a solid agreement that includes contingencies (like that the other person will have to be responsible for their own transportation if someone is out sick); who drives when; and when chip-in payments are due.