Living Frugal In An Apartment – Part 1: Electricity Bill

When you’re in school you’ll either be living in a townhouse, apartment, university residence, or living with your family nearby.  After my years at school with a low bank account I learned a few tricks to live comfortably without sacrificing too much.  I lived in residence on campus, but when I moved out I brought my tips with me, and found a few more along the way so now I can enjoy living frugally in an apartment.

For this article I will focus on how you can live frugal in an apartment by reducing your electricity bill.  If you have an electric furnace than your electricity bill should be your highest utility bill. Your major factor in that bill will be your furnace first, then your water heater.  Since you are probably renting, chances are the furnace is not energy efficient and the landlord isn’t going to replace it anytime soon.  So you can still take measures to make sure that the furnace is just heating the air in your home, and not outside.

Living Frugal – Check Your Seals

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Take a look at your windows, if you put your hand close to the glass you will be able to feel the cold coming through. To reduce this buy some large plastic sheets and with a hot glue gun, seal the plastic to your window frame so the entire window is covered leaving a 2-3 inch space of air in between.  This air acts as extra insulation for your home so your furnace isn’t constantly turning on to maintain your desired temperature.  Next is your door, check for cold air coming in around the seals. If there is a major problem with the seals, call the landlord and see if they will fix it, if not, you can buy seals for around $20 and glue them on yourself. It’s not your responsibility, but it will probably pay for itself in a few months.  In the long run it’s definitely to your benefit.

Living Frugal – Digital Thermostats WILL Save You Money

Lastly, you can take a look at your thermostat, if it’s a digital one then you’re in luck.  Chances are you can program the temperature so it can fluctuate during the day.  If you leave to go to school at 9:00am, and come back at 4:30pm, then you can set your temperature down a few degrees. Once you’re home the thermostat will automatically bring the home back up to the desired temperature. This change is a very minor, and has major results with your furnace kicking in less often, making your electricity consumption lower.  If you do not have one, call that landlord again. The programmable thermostats are pretty cheap, they will easily pay for itself over a few months.

Living Frugal – Use A Timer For Your Block Heater

For most apartment buildings they have a separate place for you to park your car and plug it in. All of the outlets for the parking lot are usually on a system and the electricity usage is just included in your overall rent. If you have to plug in your car to an outlet that you are billed for, than invest in a block heater timer.  When you get home from school or your job, you plug in the car, and unplug it when you go to work, for me, that is 14 hours the car is plugged in.  I drive a truck so it has a mid sized block heater, but i figured out that it costs me around $1.20 to plug in my truck overnight. Which comes to $36ish per month, and that’s not counting the weekends where it is left plugged in.  A timer costs $20, and if you set it to turn on 2 hours before you need your car, the timer will pay for itself in the first month of being used.

Living Frugal – Take Advantage of Government Grants

Another tip that I found useful is to use a toaster oven instead of a big oven, It uses way less energy, and if you are someone that uses an oven to make most of their meals, again, the savings will add up. Another thing that you can do is look up your electricity companies website to find what kind of cash incentives they have for making your home energy efficient, some of them give you money to help pay for a thermostat, or even a furnace. These are the big players of your electricity bill and there are many more smaller ones you can look into, all you have to do is be creative to save here and there. The savings do add up and you don’t have to live in the cold and in the dark to do it either. I saved $20/month just with the block heater timer alone. So I hoped this article helped out, be sure to check out my other tips for living frugal.

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13 years ago

Great tips! I love my toaster oven :)

13 years ago

Thanks for the comment youngandthrifty! You have the distinction of being our first every commenter!

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