(Editor’s Note: We’ve just received emails from our utility providers that prices are about to increase this winter. I am hearing a lot of people are also receiving such notices. Now would be a good time to prepare for high heating, water, and power bills.Today’s guest article gives some ideas on easy, non-permanent upgrades you can make that can help you save money.)
Written by Jessica Thiefels
Moving into a new apartment is full of unknowns, many of which are expensive, like a security deposit, moving costs, and furnishing a larger space.
However, once you settle into your new apartment and assess all of its features, you can make a plan for saving money going forward. Simple DIY upgrades here and there can make a huge difference with electricity and water bills, among other expenses. Add these five non-permanent upgrades to your to-do list so you can start saving money in your new apartment.
Replace Fireplace Doors
If your new apartment comes with a fireplace, do a little jump for joy—how fun! Next, examine the doors that are installed—if any—before cooler temperatures arrive. Fireplace doors stop air from coming in and going out, helping you save on heating and cooling bills.
Don’t wait until halfway through winter to realize your heating bill is draining your bank account. If there are existing doors, ask your landlord how recently they were put in. If they’re old, or look cracked or broken, replace them yourself with glass doors, which are timeless and effective.
Follow this step-by-step tutorial for installing glass fireplace doors (hint: there are only two steps!) to do it yourself and start saving on energy bills.
Save With Interior Design
It’s easy to get carried away when decorating a new apartment. Before spending a lot, however, research which interior design elements will save you money after the upfront investment. For example, if your apartment has hardwood floors, buy area rugs that will help insulate the entire room and make it feel warmer—thus using less heat.
Upgrade Your Electronics
According to Energystar.gov, “The average household owns 24 consumer electronics products, which are responsible for 12 percent of household electricity use.” While you may not have the budget to upgrade to to ENERGY STAR-rated appliances like a new refrigerator or washer and dryer, you can easily replace electronics that might be costing you.
The best part is that Energy Star certifies a wide range of electronics, including phones, televisions, computer displays and monitors, media players, tablets and more. If you need to replace some of your electronics anyway, choose one of these certified options, which will use less power, and decrease your electricity bill.
Conserve water; replace the shower head and faucet
While there are several ways to conserve water in your new apartment, one of the first things you should do is assess your shower head and main faucets. Standard shower heads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute and older shower heads likely use even more. It’s a relatively low-cost replacement that you can even switch back when you move out of the apartment.
Consider those with a WaterSense label that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria. There are a variety of trendy water-saving faucets you can choose from—try the new touch technology, for hands free.
Replace old light bulbs with energy efficient ones
Lighting is one of the easiest ways to cut your energy bills and perhaps one of the most affordable. Besides motion sensors and timers that help control the usage of lights, when replacing the bulbs throughout your apartment, opt for energy-efficient brands and types, including CFL and LED.
These halogen incandescent bulbs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Start in rooms that you frequent the most such as the living room, kitchen and bathroom to see the biggest savings.
After spending more than you’d like on moving, find ways to save big in your new apartment. These ideas are a great place to start and perfect for a tight budget.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelancer and consultant. She’s been featured on Forbes and Market Watch and is also an author for AARP, House Hunt Network, Reader’s Digest and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.
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