A Guest Post by Mark Russell
In this economy, everyone is thinking about saving more money and spending less. Whether you are a millionaire or a starving artist, times are probably tougher than they were ten years ago. This has led a lot of people to try to pick up extra work here and there, doing odd jobs like babysitting for the neighbor or gardening for the man down the street. In addition to trying to earn more, other people are saving more. A lot of people are downsizing their lifestyles, trading in giant gas guzzling SUVs for smaller, more efficient hybrids – or sometimes even bicycles – and many people have transitioned from large houses to smaller apartments. Almost everyone, though, is on the lookout for ways to save some money. If you live in an apartment, then you might have your own set of challenges when it comes to spending less of your hard earned cash. Below are some everyday tips for frugal apartment living.
TIP #1 – Cook at home. Many people living in apartments get used to ordering takeout and dining at restaurants simply because they do not have large kitchens and so they avoid the room entirely. But even a small kitchen can be used successfully if you just try and learn to work with what you have. Make sure you have basic cooking tools, head to the supermarket, and whip up your own dinner tonight to save some extra money!
TIP #2 – Make more storage space. Storage space is always a challenge in a small home, but many people don’t take advantage of the space that they already have. Make sure your bed is on lifts to create more space underneath it. Install shelves on the walls so you can store on those as well. Use every inch – all the way up to the ceiling – of your closet. Once you have this extra storage space you can start using it in ways that will save you money.
TIP #3 – Buy in bulk. Preppers love to buy in bulk – whether it’s toilet paper, canned food, or bottles of water. But this can be a particular challenge to those living in small apartments where the amount of storage space is limited. However – that is why you have created all the new storage space using the last tip. Buying in bulk doesn’t just prepare you for disasters – it saves your money!
TIP #4 – Get rid of your car. If you live in an urban area with a good public transportation system, then ask yourself why you own your own car. Owning a car costs a lot of money – between gas, insurance, and parking, you are just pouring money into this car ownership. Trade your expensive car in for a much, much cheaper bicycle. You can store your bike on your wall instead of having to pay for a parking spot! And this is, of course, more environmentally friendly too! If you decide to do this tip, make sure you have a backup way to get out of the city in the event of an evacuation or disaster.
TIP #5 – Donate your unwanted clothing and furniture. Anything you own that you don’t use is simply wasting your space and your time. It takes up space to have extra, unwanted t-shirts – but it takes up a lot more space to have unwanted chairs or tables. You can donate these items to a nearby thrift store or through the Craigslist “free” section. Keep a receipt and deduct the value from your taxes next April!
TIP #6 – Cancel your gym membership. Being a member of a gym is expensive, and for many people totally unnecessary. You can exercise for free (or almost free), both in your apartment and outside of it. You can run outdoors, especially if you live near a trail or park. To exercise in your apartment, just invest in a few free weights and a mat. You can save hundreds of dollars by finding alternatives to a monthly gym membership.
TIP #7 – Drink more water. If you live in a small apartment, you may have an extra small refrigerator. Even if you have a large, or normal sized fridge, your space in there is limited. So instead of taking it up with sugary sodas and other drinks, why not just get a Brita and drink water instead. It’s healthier, it doesn’t cost anything after you buy the Brita, and it will save you a lot of precious fridge space!
TIP #8 – Get rid of cable. Are you paying a lot for cable every month? Cancel your membership and sign up for alternative options like Hulu Plus (less than $10 a month), Amazon Prime, or Netflix. There are plenty of cheaper ways to watch television than to pay more than a hundred dollars every single month.
Mark Russell is a writer who specializes in writing about apartment living and ways to live frugal specifically around apartment living. Mark is a writer for www.apartmentguysofchicago.com.