How to Decorate Your Apartment for Under $100

Keep fruit in glass jars for a bright, inexpensive decor detail in your kitchen. Image: @1377, Atlanta, GA

Keep fruit in glass jars for a bright, inexpensive decor detail in your kitchen. Image: @1377, Atlanta, GA

When you live in an apartment, sometimes it can be difficult to make it really feel like home — especially if you don’t want to spend a fortune. You usually don’t have the option of changing a lot of things in the apartment, since you don’t own the place.

However, if you get creative, there are still a lot of ways to decorate your apartment, personalizing it in a unique and interesting way. Here are some unique ways to add spice to an apartment, all without lightening your wallet too much.

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Take a Tip from Tucson: Conserving Water in Your Apartment is an Easy Way to Observe Earth Day

Click to see the full infographic!

Click to see the full infographic!

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22 – and we’ve got water on our minds.

Saving water in your apartment, that is.

Water is perhaps the most necessary substance we need for life, yet because of its easy availability, it is equally easy to take for granted.

In cities where location makes water more difficult to find, citizens often step up to the challenge. We’ve noticed a city where conserving water is taken just this seriously. Tucson, Arizona, has risen to the challenge of careful water conservation with great results.

Read on for a discussion of Tucson’s Earth-loving achievements, as well as a few easy tips to help you remember to conserve water in your own home.

A desert city where conservation is a priority
Consider places in the country where fresh water is harder or more expensive to come by. In desert cities, like Tucson, AZ, water is all the more valuable because of its scarcity.

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Furnished or Unfurnished Apartment? How to Make the Call

A furnished apartment will come with assorted furniture and kitchen equipment. Image: Summit Crossing, Cumming, GA

A furnished apartment will come with assorted furniture and kitchen equipment. Image: Summit Crossing, Cumming, GA

Whether you’re renting your first apartment or just moving on up, you might ask yourself a question that many renters face: Furnished or unfurnished? Furnished apartments are far less common, but it might be the right choice for you if you’re a student, a traveling professional, or you just don’t want the hassle of buying and moving furniture.

Furnished apartments usually come equipped with furniture, basic kitchen appliances and tableware, bathroom necessities such as a shower curtain, a washer/dryer set, and possibly a few other amenities. The exact items will vary depending on the landlord and what kind of place you’re renting. Here are a few pros and cons to consider before you decide if furnished or unfurnished is right for you.

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Spend Or Save? Which Apartment Items You Should Pay More For

A bed is one item that's worth spending a little extra on. Your back will thank you. Image: Oro Valley-The Golf Villas at Oro Valley, AZ

A bed is one item that’s worth spending a little extra on. Your back will thank you. Image: Oro Valley-The Golf Villas at Oro Valley, AZ

When you rent an apartment, rather than buying a place, it can save you a lot of money. However, if that apartment isn’t furnished — as few apartments are — you’ll soon find yourself with a list of extra things that you have to buy in order to turn your new place into a proper home.

Buying everything at once can be overwhelming (not to mention a strain on your bank account), but you can get away with skimping on certain things. However, you should spend the money on other items so you don’t have pay to replace them a few months later.

So which things can you save on, and for which apartment items should you spend a little extra? Let’s break it down.

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Hidden Gems: America’s Most Affordable Cities (Infographic)

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

Big-city living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not only will you find plenty of small-town charm if you live in a less populated town; you’ll also save money. Apartment Guide found the top 10 cities with the least expensive median rent prices, and we dug up a few cool facts about these hidden gems as well.

1. FlorenceMuscle Shoals, AL

Median rent: $395

Named after the city in Italy, the northwestern Alabama town of Florence not only boasts the cheapest rent in the nation; it’s also the home of the University of North Alabama. Music lovers are in luck; artists from all over the country come to Florence each summer for the W.C. Handy Music Festival. It originally focused on blues and jazz, but now includes rock, gospel, country and more.

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Cheap Green Cleaning: The Only 5 Products You Need

Baking soda is super cheap and can be used in all sorts of ways around your apartment.

Baking soda is super cheap and can be used in all sorts of ways around your apartment.

When it comes to spring cleaning, the only way to do it right is to go green. Not only are non-toxic cleaning products better for your health, there’s another bonus: This is one of those times when going green also saves you money! Not only are the following five ingredients good for your health and your home’s cleanliness, they also cost way less to keep on hand than commercial cleaners.

Ready to start scrubbing? Read on to learn about the only five weapons you’ll need in your cleaning arsenal:

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Your Roommate is Leaving You … Now What?

If you're thinking of asking a stranger to be your roommate, meet them in person more than once before asking them to move in.

If you’re thinking of asking a stranger to be your roommate, meet them in person more than once before asking them to move in.

Everything has to come to an end sometime – and not always on your own timetable. Maybe your roommate is graduating; maybe they’re getting married; maybe they found a great new job in another city and they have to move. Any way you slice it, they’re out and you’re left high and dry, not to mention all alone in your apartment.

That can make for an awkward situation, but it doesn’t have to be a bad one. Even if it seems like your soon-to-be-ex-roomie is leaving you in the lurch, this could be a good opportunity to start a new chapter in your life. Here are some questions you’ll have to ask yourself.

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Craigslist vs. eBay: Where Should You Sell Your Stuff?

There’s no way around it – you need extra cash. While selling blood plasma may have crossed your mind, there are easier ways to pad your bank account. Have you thought about selling stuff that you no longer want or need online?

Need Extra Cash? Selling on Craigslist or eBay Could Bring Big Bucks

From furniture to textbooks and even the most random knick knacks, you’d be surprised what people are willing to pay for the stuff you’ve long neglected. The hard part may be determining the best vehicle for getting your stuff into a buyer’s hands. Craigslist and eBay are two notoriously popular options, but which one is right for you? Apartment Guide explains the good and the bad of each.

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5 Ways to Help Your Heater Run Efficiently

Changing your air filters every winter means your furnace doesn't have to work as hard to get warm air into your apartment.

Changing your air filters every winter means your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to get warm air into your apartment.

Ah, the deep freeze of winter. Maybe you love the freshly fallen snow, the way you can see your breath in the air, and snuggling up under warm blankets while the wind howls outside. On the other hand, maybe you’re sick of runny noses, wearing 18 layers of clothing, and constantly worrying about whether the roads are safe for driving.

Whether you’re reveling in a winter wonderland or nursing a serious case of spring fever, there’s one thing we all have in common: Our indoor heaters are running nearly all the time. That kind of energy use can make power bills skyrocket – but what’s the alternative? Shivering inside your own home? No thank you – we’d rather do what it takes to help our heating systems run more efficiently so we get all the cozy warmth without breaking the bank.

Ready to get toasty? Read on:

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New Year, New Budget! How to Stay Financially Fit in 2014 (Infographic)

Click the image to view the full infographic.

Click the image to view the full infographic!

It’s the kind of cliche that exists for a reason: are you already planning to do a better job following a budget in the New Year?

If your credit card bills are telling you that you overspent during the holidays, take a look at our tips for getting – and staying! – financially fit in 2014.

Apartment Guide has teamed up with LearnVest, an award-winning financial planning company, to share some useful budgeting tips on how to spend less and save more this year.

We’ve also dug through our data to find the top 10 most budget-friendly metros for affordable apartment living in 2014.

Our recent budget survey found that a majority of people who are moving opt to do the work themselves — without hiring a moving company – and they are spending less than $1,000 on the entire move. One in three renters plan to spend more on entertainment at home in their apartments this year, however. (Maybe that’s where the moving money is going?)

On that subject, LearnVest notes that the average American spends over $900 a year on cable. You might consider a less-expensive option to get access to your favorite shows, like HuluPlus or Netflix, instead.

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