Living in a rental apartment comes with its own set of expenses. You’re obviously not just paying rent. You also need to account for the costs of electricity, cable, groceries, internet access, and any other expenses that are not covered in the cost of your monthly rent. Living on a budget can be a big adjustment if you’ve never had to do so before, but following a few simple guidelines can help you stay on budget and adapt quickly to your new circumstances.
Create a Budget
The very first order of business in your new rental apartment is to understand what, exactly, you can afford in the first place! Take the time to get very clear on how much money you can expect to bring in each month, and deduct from that your current running expenses (like car payments, gas, cell phone bills, et cetera). This will give you a good idea of how much you have leftover to put towards your new digs. When you tour apartments, ask the landlord if they have an idea of the average extra expenses tenants in their units pay.
Turn Off Lights & Fans
This is not just something that your parents liked to say! Turning off the lights you are not using is a great way to keep the electric bill in your rental apartment down. The average incandescent lightbulb costs about 6 cents for every 8 hours it’s left on, while the newer LED bulbs average about a penny. While this may not seem like much, consider how many lights are in your house. If there are 10 that are being left on for that amount of time, that’s anywhere from $3 to $30 per month. Over the course of a 12-month lease, that’s an additional $36-$360 you are paying towards your bill! Fans are another factor! The average 120-watt fan costs about 2 cents per hour to run. If your apartment has 4 fans running 24 hours a day, that’s $57.60 per month (or $691.20 per year) added to your electric bill!
Pay Attention to Your Thermostat
Leaving your air or heat on full blast all day while you aren’t even home is another surefire way to drive up the electric bill at your rental apartment. Consider leaving the temperature somewhere between 78 and 80 degrees while you are out to see an instant drop in your bill. You might also consider some natural alternatives to cranking up your HVAC unit. In the summer, capitalize off of a cool breeze by opening up your windows, use fans to circulate the air, or keep curtains and shade closed while you are away to help keep the heat outside where it belongs. In the winter, pull the shades wide open to allow sunlight to flow into your space during the day. At night as the air cools down, close the curtains to insulate the windows and keep the warmer air from escaping. If you’re lucky enough to have a rental apartment with a fireplace, capitalize on that as well! If your space is still chilly, invest in some down blankets that will surely keep you toasty.
Shorten Your Showers
Heating the water in your rental apartment unfortunately costs money. A 10-minute shower costs somewhere around $1.95, give or take depending on the price of water in your area. If there are two people living in your apartment each taking one 10-minute shower per day, that’s a cost of about $117 per month, or $1404 per year! That doesn’t even take into consideration indulging in a hot bath! This is not suggesting that you should go to work dirty, but shortening your showers by a few minutes could make a big impact over the long-term.
Consider Your Cable
If cable is not included in the cost of your monthly rent, determine what you really need. Streaming options like Hulu and Netflix are a very cheap alternative to traditional cable or dishes that can get expensive quickly!
Make a Grocery List to Help You Stay on Budget
If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store on an empty stomach, you probably realized why it was a bad idea when you saw your bill. Having some sort of meal plan in place is a great way to stay on budget in your rental apartment. Make a list each week so that you don’t find yourself tempted to eat out every night!
Looking for a Rental Apartment in Hattiesburg or the Surrounding Area?
Now that you’ve got your budget set, it’s time to find the rental apartment that will meet all your needs without breaking the bank! At Hattiesburg Apartments, we offer our clients over 35 years of experience to help them find the space that is perfect for them. We’ve paired with 17 of Hattiesburg’s top local properties to ensure that we have something so show everybody and every budget. Take a look through our database of available properties today and contact a team member to get started!