When it comes to monthly expenses, there are some costs you don’t think can get lower, like a utility bill. But with some awareness, a bit of effort and a few phone calls, you might be surprised at how much you can knock down utility costs that once seemed set in stone.
Shop for the best rate
Though you may not have a choice in who handles your water or electricity, some apartment communities will give you a choice in which gas company you can use. Gas companies are always competing for your business, trying to undercut the other’s per-therm price. Many carriers even offer cash incentives for switching over and/or programs that let you lock in a per-therm rate.
For phone and cable, there are also savings to be had. Take a look at your bill and examine all the features that come with your service. If you have channels you don’t watch or phone features you don’t need, call your service provider and see if you can go with a simpler plan at a cheaper rate. Or investigate other providers to see if changing companies will drive down the price.
Look for bundled deals in which your phone, cable and DSL are handled by a single company and you could significantly cut your bill. Another option is to do away with your land-line entirely and use your cell phone instead. Don’t forget to shop for the best cell phone plan as well.
Waste not, pay not
The most important thing to keep in mind when becoming conscious of how much water and electricity you use is that there are always ways to use less…of everything. Energy Star appliances, low-flow toilets and water-wise showerheads are just a few things you can install to cut water use. Rain barrels and buckets in the shower ensure that you won’t have to visit your garden hose to water those plants.
Wash larger loads of clothes and use cold water instead of warm and you’ve just saved energy and water! Also, try minimizing the settings on your dishwasher. Do you really need to use the heated drying, extra rinse and tough scrub cycles?
We are accustomed to having computers, lights, televisions and stereos on even when we don’t need them. Turn things off when you’re not in front of them and turn out the lights in the rooms you’re not using. You’ll be amazed at the satisfaction, savings and welcome silence these simple efforts provide. (For more ways to save water and electricity, read Not a Drop to Waste: Your Guide to Every Day Water Savings and How to Make Your Apartment Greener.)
It’s really not hard to cut utility costs, even those you assumed couldn’t budge. With some awareness and effort, your consumption and monthly bills will begin to drop.