Utility bills can reach staggering heights during peak seasons like the winter and summer. However, if you want to maintain a budget for your bills it is suggested that you keep a journal to help estimate utilities. While your usage can vary from month to month and year to year, taking advantage of discounts and finding other ways to reduce your usage can make a BIG difference in your total monthly costs.
If you want to maintain low costs use these 5 tips to estimate utilities and slash your bottom line.
Electricity or Natural Gas
Heating and cooling costs are the #1 reason apartment utility bills skyrocket. During peak seasons and times of the day peak charges can also cause your expenses to go up. For most people a large chunk of their utility budget is spent on heating and/or cooling costs. Check with your provider for information on peak rates as they may vary from state to state. Scheduling your usage with these peak times can significantly reduce your total monthly charges.
Call your energy provider for more detailed information on estimated energy usage for specific appliances like your refrigerator and washing machine. Additionally, you may want to upgrade your thermostat to further cut costs. Some can be adjusted from your smartphone to make temperature control effortless. Replacing regular light bulbs with energy-efficient incandescent or LED bulbs is also known to cut down energy usage.
You can estimate utilities by keeping track of your water usage. Record your monthly cost in a journal and then compare each bill. Start with one month and then aim to restrict your usage by implementing water-saving practices at home. This may include purchasing low-flow faucets, shortening your shower time as well as purchasing restrictive plumbing equipment. Over time, comparing your monthly usage and identifying overuse can end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year.
Garbage & Sewer
In some apartments this charge is included in the rent. However, in many lease agreements it can cost anywhere between $25.00 – $75.00/month depending on the type of dwelling you have and the neighborhood. On average you can expect to spend 50 cents – $10 per month where curbside recycling is offered. One of the best ways to save on waste management services is to simply create less garbage or perform the recycling yourself. Ultimately, the less you use, the less you pay.
In many homes internet services are considered a luxury while in other apartment homes it is a necessity to have Wi-Fi connectivity. You can easily estimate utilities by recording your time spent online. Start with the most basic service package, upgrading as you go. Usually, internet companies charge a start-up fee between $50.00 – $150.00 which may also include a connection fee, equipment rental charges and additional monthly usage costs. You can upgrade after the first month when you know what you use for internet devices.
If you want to spend more money for entertainment – add cable television. In this case, you can choose from internet/cable TV packages, satellite, network and phone coupling options. Again, it is recommended that you keep track of your monthly usage and compare each statement. On average cable TV costs $120.97/month. Packages are about $26.80 cheaper per month than ordering services individually.
Use these 5 ways to estimate utilities and apply the changes to your everyday life. Finally, keep in mind to get renters insurance. Usually only about $150.00 per month, if you are burglarized a policy can save you thousands.