It’s every renter’s dream: a providential twist in your budget that would allow you to upgrade to, say, one of those amazing Los Angeles apartments. We’re not the ones to downplay providence, nor do we disapprove of dreaming. What we do know are a few simple, pragmatic ways to help you save up on money while renting. Here are four tips for apartment dwellers in search of smart ways to cut down on costs in the long run:
Use your apartment’s features to the fullest
If you’re looking to save money, it might be a good idea to put your apartment to more good use. It’s easy, affordable and time-efficient to turn forgotten apartment nooks into temporary work-stations or relaxing corners.
Freelancing? Find a cozy spot in your home that fits a desk instead of hunting for the perfect caf to work from.
Do you hit the gym every once in a while? There are many work-out routines you could fit even in a small-sized apartment. Think about it before spending money on renewing that gym subscription.
Have you tried eating in more often? While the time spent shopping for groceries and cooking might make it seem less worthwhile, you will end up saving a lot of money.
Why not have your friends over from time to time, instead of going out every Friday? You’re renting your apartment 24/7, so make use of it in as many ways as possible.
Invest in your rest
We all know sleep-deprivation spells trouble in the long run. Persistent lack of proper sleep will spiral into long-term health-care costs, so getting all the rest you need is also a very sensible way of minding your budget. The first step is to be consistent about how much time you get to rest per night.
Next, try sleep-proofing your bedroom. Invest in a good mattress and make sure you get some fresh air flowing into the bedroom before going to sleep. Get thick curtains which block street light so that your room is entirely dark during the night. This is a double-win, as curtains will help prevent heat loss in the winter. Also keep in mind that tired people are prone to making expensive decisions, yet another reason why being well-rested is an overall money saver.
Write down your budget
Plan your budget and keep track of what you spend money on. Writing down your expenses helps you notice bad habits (for example, buying too much food all at once so that some of it ends up being thrown away). You’ll also be able to keep track of your spending habits throughout the year, which comes in handy when you’re going through less predictable events such as moving into a new apartment. Knowing your budget feels like solid ground that allows you to manage unpredictable costs more easily.
Another advantage of monitoring your budget is that you’ll be able to identify and cut down on costs that are not truly necessary. Use a notebook that’s small enough to keep at hand, write notes on the fridge, or find an app that helps you keep a record of all your purchases. Once you have your expenses written down, you’ll be able to separate between whims and needs and avoid making wasteful financial decisions in the future.
Be mindful of your energy consumption levels
Your average apartment has a fair share of appliances powered by electricity, and they all vary in terms of how much power they use up. But which are the ones that add the most to your energy bill? Electric kettles, for example, are well-known energy-sappers. This is especially true of older models, and even more so when used for heating up large amounts of water.
Washing machines and air conditioning systems are next in line. Setting your washing machine to a lower water temperature means saving up all the energy that would go into heating up that water.
And as far as advice on HVAC system goes: use air conditioning only when necessary and make sure the air ducts are clean; clean air vents can reduce your energy usage by 25-40%.
Is there a huge TV screen in your new apartment? Remember that the wider the screen, the greater the energy use — regardless of whether it’s a LED or LCD screen.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it might give you an idea or two about what adds up on your monthly bill.
Photo Credit: turkeychick