Finding the perfect balance between pinching pennies and enjoying your home and life can be difficult, but easy money-saving techniques can help your readers stay on budget in 2012. By making eight simple changes in your home, renters can save up to $368 per month.
1. Ditch Cable – Renters pay, on average, $100 per month for cable television. Busy lifestyles mean that many rarely get to watch shows when they air, and rely on services like DVR to watch their favorite programs later. Why not consider a service like Hulu Plus or Netflix? It’s simple to connect your computer to your television and watch TV when it’s convenient for you.
· Average Savings per Month: $92
2. Space-by-space Heat – Energy bills run, on average, $183 per month. By using a space heater in the rooms where you need it and setting the thermostat to 62 degrees, you can save approximately $200 each year.
· Average Savings per Month: $17
3. Cut the Phone Cord – With all of the functionality of smart phones, a landline may be unnecessary. By eliminating a monthly telephone bill, renters can save, on average, $35 per month.
· Average Savings per Month: $35
4. Illuminate Your Savings – While not a large savings monthly, replacing light bulbs with an Energy Star qualified light bulb can save $6 per year, and nearly $40 over its lifetime—and it will last six times longer. For example, if you have six lamps in your apartment, you can save $3 per month. It may not seem like a lot, but the savings will add up over time.
· Average Savings per Month: $3
5. Skip the Hot Water – By doing your laundry in cold water rather than hot, you reduce energy usage by 90 percent and can save $72 per year! Plus, your clothes will be just as clean.
· Average Savings per Month: $6
6. Work Out in Comfort – Skip the gym membership and save, on average, $775 per year. In many cities, you will find the savings to be even more. You can still get in your workouts—consider running, or many exercises that can be done with little or no equipment in the comfort of your own home.
· Average Savings per Month: $65
7. Use Your Kitchen – You are paying rent for your kitchen, whether you use it or not. The average American eats out 6 times per month, spending an average of $172. Eat out just once a month and cook at home instead.
· Average Savings per Month: $144
8. Pull the Plug – By unplugging appliances and electronics when you are not using them, you can save a bundle on energy. Unplugging one fax machine, one computer monitor, and one television can save $70 per year. Just turning it off is not enough.
· Average Savings per Month: $6
If you are renting in one of the top 10 most expensive cities, you may find your savings to be even more. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following metropolitan areas have the highest cost of living, as determined by the consumer price index as of August 2011.
1. New York/Northern New Jersey/Long Island, N.Y./N.J./Conn./Pa.
2. Philadelphia/Wilmington/Atlantic City, Pa./N.J./Del./M.D.
3. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif.
4. Seattle/Tacoma/Bremerton, Wash.
5. Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
6. Los Angeles/Riverside/Orange County, Calif.
7. Chicago/Gary/Kenosha, Ill./Ind./Wis.
8. Detroit/Ann Arbor/Flint, Mich.
9. Atlanta, Ga.
10. Houston/Galveston/Brazoria, TX
For more information, visit www.rent.com.