Utilities in any given apartment can add up to be near the cost of rent in some cases. You need your electricity, your natural gas, and your water/garbage removal, so all you can do with those bills is to try to reduce them. For tips on how to reduce your electric bill check outLiving Frugal In An Apartment – Part 1: Electricity Bill. For the other utilities, they might not be as much of a necessity as you thought, but the only one that can make that call is you. Do you really need the Internet? or a cell phone? Yes you probably do; however, there are several ways to make these costs lower. The big question is, do you need cable?
Living Frugal In An Apartment – The Cable Bill
Cable or satellite TV costs quite a bit of money if you don’t have them bundled up. For a basic cable package you are looking at $35/month before the fees and taxes. For anything worth watching you’re probably looking at $60/month, if you have a few roommates or if you watch TV all the time, then this can be worth the price. If you don’t have time to watch TV, but you feel the need to have something in case people come over, than I would suggest a company called NetFlix. NetFlix is a company that allows you to download TV shows and movies (as many as you want) for around $8 per month. This is especially good if you like to start a TV series from start to finish. The cost is minimal, the cons to this is that it does eat up your bandwidth, and there isn’t any brand new releases. So if you have an unlimited Internet plan and you just like watching TV shows, NetFlix might be right up your ally.
Living Frugal In An Apartment – Internet
For Internet use, if you just use it to browse the web and check your email, you might be able to share a connection with your neighbor if they have a wireless router. If you’re a student then you will get free Internet at school anyway and it’s an easy way to cut your Internet bill in half.
Living Frugal In An Apartment – The Cell Phone
The major cell phone companies offer family plans now, so instead of firing up a new contract for $50/month you have the possibility of adding a phone to the family plan and just paying $10/month on the original plan. Since everyone texts these days calling minutes aren’t too big of a priority anymore. If you want to call loved ones, there are options where you can use a computer, or use the cell phone’s data plan. I use a program called Skype to make calls to my parents, brothers, and my girlfriend. I can use this program on my computer, or on my cell phone, since it uses up data only (I have an unlimited data plan) I save my minutes and talk for free. With Skype you can make calls for free anywhere in the world as long as both parties involved are using Skype. You can also buy “Skype credits.” This allows you to place calls at a low fee of $0.025/minute. That works out to $1.50/hour, which is ridiculously cheap. So you can almost eliminate the need for a cell phone altogether. For more information on what Skype credits check out their plans here.
There are other ways one can be living frugal in an apartment, you just have to get creative!