8 Ways to Save Money in an Apartment
Saving money on the energy bill isn’t just about making expensive long-term changes like installing solar panels and storm doors. Apartment leases don’t allow such changes and most of us just aren’t ready for that kind of commitment. These simple behavioral changes are painless and cheap—just the reason we choose to live in apartments in the first place.
- Cold weather: Make a draft snake. Fill an old necktie or long sock with kitty litter or sand, fold the opening closed twice, and sew it shut. Press it up against drafty doors and windows to save between 5% and 30% on your heating bill. Alternatively, roll an old bath towel under a drafty door.
- Warm weather: Get shade. Living on the third floor of a complex is great for me in the winter, but April is already starting to feel like mid-August. You can shut all the blinds in the apartment to keep outthe summer sunshine, but that’s no fun. Instead, open your blinds all the way and install (or simply tack into the wall) a few lightweight, semi-sheer curtains. I picked up a set on sale from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $4. They keep most of the heat out without compromising lighting.
- Waste not. Use a spare pitcher, pot, or basin (or pick one up at a local thrift store or yard sale) to catch the cold water you usually waste before the shower gets warm enough to use. It’s freshwater, even if it’s not filtered. You can pour it into your Brita filter or give it your thirsty pets or garden.
- If it’s yellow… Some people won’t appreciate this tip, but it’s one that works: if it’s yellow, let it mellow. Worried about sanitation? Urine is sterile, and the ring in the bowl that forms is a result of limescale, calcium, and rust, not germs, although germs can cling there after a while. That’s why you would give it a good washing once a week with baking soda and other homemade remedies (we’ll get there in a minute).
- The brick method. If the yellow idea is just too much for you, lift the back end of your toilet and carefully insert a brick (or some other heavy object that won’t rust, like a glass bottle full of water with a plastic cap). This lessens the amount of water used during each flush, which saves you cash on the water bill.
- DIY cleaners. Stop paying for chemical-laden household cleaners and make your own with cheap supplies like vinegar, baking soda, liquid soap, and tea tree oil. Tea tree oil was recently found to inhibit the growth of the H1N1 virus; it’s a safer alternative to the low-grade pesticides you’ll find in most antibacterial cleaners.
- Air dry. Stop the dishwasher before it hits the drying cycle to save on your energy bill. Just open it up and let the dishes air dry.
- Nix the vampires. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. “Energy vampires” like computers and TVs that are left plugged when not in use still eat energy. Either unplug them individually or combine them into one powerstrip. Flip the switch and be done with it. (If the strip is off, it won’t suck away energy and your cash.)
Author Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching grants for math students as well as occupational therapy scholarships. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.