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Blog Apr 6, 2020

What Are Utilities?

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Renting your first apartment can be a fun, exciting rite of passage for many people, but there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid unexpected budgeting problems. Although the upfront cost of your rent will likely be your biggest expense, the cost of your utilities can quickly make your monthly expenses increase dramatically. Before you sign a lease on your first apartment, make sure you discuss utility costs with your potential landlord to get a better idea of how much the apartment expenses will cut into your monthly budget. Learn more about what apartment utilities you will have to pay for below.

What are Apartment Utilities?

The typical utilities that you have to pay for when renting your first apartment are electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, trash and recycling. While it’s not mandated, most tenants also get internet, cable and phone services. When it comes to budgeting for apartment utilities, our usage can exceed our expectations. Learn about apartment utilities below to help you properly budget for the monthly cost of your first home.

Electricity and Natural Gas

Your electricity and natural gas utilities provide heat, light and power to your home, and should definitely be set up before you move into your first apartment. Both your electric and natural gas utilities use a meter at your home to measure your usage. The cost of your electric bill and natural gas bill will be dependent on your usage, and you will typically receive utility bills from your electric and natural gas providers at the end of the month that reflect your usage and the agreed upon rate. Some utilities offer prepaid energy plans to help with budgeting where you pay a fixed cost at the beginning of the month (the amount of which you determine) in exchange for a set amount of electricity. You can deposit any amount of money into your balance at any point as your pool of energy is depleted. Save money on your energy bill by reducing usage of heating and cooling units such as air conditioning, water heater, and washer/dryers.

Water and Sewer

Your city’s public utilities commission is responsible for your water and sewer service. These utilities include the water that comes out of your faucets and shower heads, the water that runs your dishwasher and washing machine, the wastewater in your toilet, and more. Your water and sewer usage are measured by a meter which is reported to the public utilities commission. They can send a utility bill to your individual apartment or to the apartment community, which can opt to split the total amount of the bill by the number of units on the property. If the community manager decides to split the utilities evenly amongst the tenants, then the distributed amount will be added to each unit’s next rent payment.

Trash and Recycling

All residential properties require their tenants to pay for waste removal that may consist of garbage, recycling, and yard or organic waste. It is helpful to have color coded trash cans in your home to help you segregate the different types of waste. The landlord of the apartment community is in charge of contracting the trash pickup company for their utility services, leaving you with a small monthly fee.

Cable, Phone and Internet

While not required by public utilities, a strong internet connection is necessary for operating in our modern world. Cable, phone and internet services can often be purchased from the same private company under one account and do not need to be set up before you move in. These utility costs can vary greatly depending on the speed of the service, if the company you are buying services from offers any service bundle deals, and if you are opting into premium cable channels. You can save lots of money on your technology bill by following the lead of many young people who only get internet service, not cable or phone, by “cutting the cord” and foregoing cable television for internet streaming apps and haven’t had a phone landline since they were a child.

Save Money on Your Apartment Utilities Today!

Looking at the cost of rent and apartment utilities before renting your first apartment can be overwhelming. Having to cover electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, trash, recycling, internet, cable and phone services can seem impossible. One way to immediately decrease your utility bills dramatically is by getting a roommate. The two of you can split the utility costs and implement energy conservation practices to keep your utility bills at a minimum. When you are able to split the costs of an apartment, you will enable yourselves to increase the capabilities of your home and the overall quality of your living. At the same time, it is important to note that mixing finances in such a manner can affect relationships so be sure to maintain transparency and do your best to be mindful of each other and the expenses you share.

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