I see a lot of great advice for those who own or even rent a home, things I have kept in the back of my mind for when I go single residence. But until them, I am @ home in my mile high apartment and I still want to save money.
I've already discussed how phantom power sucks up your money and that keeping your clothes dryer clean saves as well (if you are lucky enough to have one in your home). But there are still a few items that can save you money in your apartment.
1. Borrow or Rent it - Room is very limited in most apartments and storage at a premium for items that may be used 2-3 times a year. Renting from the local hardware store may be more worthwhile or check out Borrowtools or Neighborgoods. Of course you want to consider the cost of renting versus buying the item over the long term. And keep your eye out for tools you may need at garage sales (always ask to plug it in).
2. Keep Closets Closed - Having closet doors closed allows you to heat or cool a smaller area and also keeping closet doors closed that have an exterior wall, keep the home insulated. A bonus is that guests won't see your clutter. If you don't have doors this is a great time to get some nice fabric or heavy single size flat sheet to act as your door.
3. Peak and Non-Peak Use - If the utility bill goes directly to you and not split with others then try getting on the utility companies peak/non-peak plan for reduced rates. Some companies have lower rates if you use washer/dryer and dishwasher later in the evening or early morning.
4. DIY Cleaning Supplies - In small areas with few windows, using non-toxic cleaners may be best for you physically and you can save upwards of $50 a year by making your own. And speaking of odor removal ideas, don't forget DIY for stinking feet/shoes and the smelly bathroom.
6. Changing to CFL - Since the incandescent light bulb is being phased out in 2012 and no longer produced by 2014, it should be easier to get the CFL bulbs for cheaper prices. Just be careful of CFLs that easily burn out. And if you are worried about contamination, then you will be glad to know that LED lights are slowing making it into the stores and they last even longer.
7. Replace AC filters - If you have central air, like myself. There will be a location to change out the filter and hopefully your complex office does it for you. If not, make sure you do it once a year to keep the AC cost down when using it, though some suggest replacing them every month in the summer if it is on everyday.
8. Replacing Grills - If you can hold off until fall or winter for better sales on the BBQ grills, that can save you quite a bit of money. Just replaced our little propane grill in 10 years and saved 31% with free shipping.
9. Heated Water - If you get your bill for heated water, then you should have the ability to lower the water heater temperature. This can save you about $30 a year and reduce any scalding issues. In my case, the water
heater doesn't have temperature settings, but does have A, B, C and Very Hot, so I set mine at A, but this picture shows someone turned it up. (oops)
For your info:
▴ (triangle up) = 120〫
A = 130〫
B = 140〫
C = 150〫
Very Hot = 160〫
dropping the water temperature setting by ten degrees typically saves about 4% on the cost to heat water each year.
10. Insurance for Accidents - I know that you would never set your home on fire, but you can't always trust that your neighbor won't accidentally do that. Renter's insurance is something that costs pennies to add with your car insurance premiums and is a nice bit of piece of mind if the unthinkable should happen.
11. Shower Timer - Handy for the person, like myself, who soaks for an hour in a SHOWER. You can buy ones that turn your water off or do like I do and just get an annoying sounding timer for when you shower.
12. Programmable Thermometer - Check with your leasing office to see if you can replace the old thermometer with a programmable one to save money on AC/Heat instead of flipping the switch at whim. In my complex, I can buy one and they will install it, but I have to take it with me when I move.
13. Wrap in Plastic - Especially for north facing windows that get hit with the wind, put up plastic on the windows to keep in the warm and the cold out. This stuff can be put up in about 30 minutes or less. Well worth the expense for the plastic.
14. Bricked Tank - I see suggestions to put a brick in your toilet tank. This is handy if your toilet is not one of the efficient models (mine says 1.3gpf) . If it is an old type, a brick can be wonderful but possibly crack your tank if it is really old. An alternative is to fill up a 20oz plastic bottle and drop it in - just as effective and not as dangerous.
What ways have you saved money in apartment living?