How to Estimate Apartment Utility Cost and Ways to Keep it Low
Budgeting is crucial when moving into a new apartment. The cost for your apartment utilities is an expense that can easily be overlooked. It can add up quickly, and it’s essential to consider them before moving into a new apartment. So, it’s necessary to estimate utility costs after you have moved in and plan some ways to keep it low.
Determine the utilities that are included in your lease
It’s essential to determine the utilities included in your rental before you move in. If the rate of your rent is really cheap, chances are, you will be covering the costs of all your utilities. Check your lease agreement and see what utilities you will be paying for, and make sure to factor that into your budgeting. While the monthly rent varies landlord to landlord, it’s common for renters to have their trash and water bill covered by their landlord. You are then responsible for the electric and gas bill.
It is usually the electricity bill that is likely the largest portion of your total utility bill, so it’s important to know what you’re paying for. Two major contributing factors will determine the extent of your electricity bill. One is the size of your apartment. A bigger apartment means a larger space to heat or cool if you are using electric appliances. It would be best if you considered the height of your ceiling and floor space as these can affect your electric bill.
Many roommates are the second contributing factor that determines the extent of your electricity bill. This is pretty self-explanatory. If you have multiple roommates, you’ll have more lights on and more appliances being used. Your electricity bill will be significantly higher if you live with roommates.
How to lower your Electricity Bill
You can find ways to cut down on a hefty electric bill. These simple tips could help you if your bill is larger than you thought:
- Make sure your appliances are in excellent condition.
- Clean out dirty filters and vents and do proper maintenance as they can help lead to more energy-efficient appliances.
Buy products that are energy efficiency like appliances that are made with digital inverter technology. Use LED light bulbs and turn your electronics and lights off when you’re away. This may not seem like much, but following this habit will eventually add up.
The gas bill could be really tricky. It’s essential to check out your stove to see what can be affecting your gas bill. And if it’s fine, the reason for your higher gas bill might be due to frequent use. If your oven/stove uses gas, you’ll be charged for the use of natural gas. Luckily, gas appliances are cheaper than their electric counterparts. Even if you’re passionate about cooking and cook every night, the cost of the cooking gas shouldn’t equate the cost of electricity when you use an electric stove.
The cost of heating is included in your electric or gas bill or lumped into your rent. An average gas-operated heater could consume around $40 per month. Electricity, on the other hand, is more expensive and could come in at about $160 per month. If you are unsure of heating costs, ask the landlord what type of heating is in the apartment and call the utility company and ask for the average monthly bill for that address.
The internet is another apartment essential that’s easily overlooked. Before deciding on what internet service plan to go with, think about your internet usage. Consider how many devices will be using the internet. If you casually browse the web or social media, you can choose a cheaper plan. Speeds of about 6-10 Mbps should be adequate for your usage.
The cable is now wholly an optional expense, and many can get by without subscribing to cable. The number of users who cancel their cable services, often in favor of less expensive Internet-based options in the U.S., is expected to reach 33 million this year. But if you can’t live without cable, consider what you are watching. Lower tier packages might suit your needs just fine and can be as cheap as $10.
Before you move, you need to review your lease and read it thoroughly. If you see that your landlord covers the cost of many standard utilities (i.e., trash and water), you are likely paying a higher rent.