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Apartment Living

Last post Sat, Oct 2 2010 9:29 PM by jayashiangel. 20 replies.
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  • Wed, Oct 8 2008 10:47 PM

    • Kim_150
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, Oct 5 2008
    • Green Bay, WI
    • Posts 525

    Apartment Living

    While I've been trying to save money, I'm finding some things much harder since I live in an apartment and don't own my home. For example...

    -I can't call around to find a cheaper internet company, because my landlord has a contract with one provider and I can only use that one. 

    -Limited storage space. I actually have quite a lot of space because I have two bedrooms (use the second bedroom as an office), but if I didn't have that extra space I'd be totally lost.

    -The only air conditioning available during summer is an old energy-guzzling room-sized thing built into my wall, and I'm unable to replace my older appliances with newer and more efficient ones. 

    -I can't freeze a whole lot, because I only have one of those older freezers that is on top of the refrigerator. I'd love to be able to grow my own vegetables and herbs, but my north and west-facing windows with trees in front of them don't get much direct sunlight. 

    Other things are easier, though... 

    -I don't have or need a land-based phone line, and can get by with a basic cell phone plan. 

    -I don't have to pay for water, heat, or trash and recycling service. 

    -When something breaks, it gets fixed for me and I only have to pay if I specifically did something stupid to necessitate a new part or extra labor.

    -All the snow is plowed for me, and I only occasionally have to dig some from around my tires.  

    Is anyone else out there an apartment dweller? If so, what barriers do you have to saving money and how do you overcome them? Or do you have any tips for maximizing storage space, or anything else for apartment living? 

    PS. I put this thread down here, but I do realize families also live in apartments. Please move it if I've put it in the wrong place! 

  • Wed, Oct 8 2008 11:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Apartment Living

    Hi there

    I have just a tip-during winter if in a cold climate put blankets on the windows so the cold air stays out and the warm air in and last but not least in you bedroom closet stack a shoe boxs why to keep small things in them and mark the box on what it is...

    I use to live in a appartment yes its expensive follow the advise on this forum and you have it made....

    Have a blessed day....


  • Thu, Oct 9 2008 12:06 AM In reply to

    • kb999999
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 26 2008
    • Arizona
    • Posts 950

    Re: Apartment Living

    Hi ... I lived in my share of apartments and small spaces, so here are a few ideas ... reorganize!

    Limited storage space: spend $10.00-$15.00 on bed risers and begin using this space for storage; use closet space better - use stacking totes and cardboard boxes (free); a chest-of-drawers for added storage; reorganize your space(free); take unused items and sell/consign or donate and have more room(free, but possible money maker); rubbermaid rolling carts, stackable shelving, ect ... thrift store, big box sale, yard sales; check freecycyle and craigslist's.

    Air conditioning: most landlords won't fix/update what's not broken, so could you purchase a smaller, mobile cooler unit or fans - these can be moved with you and would be more energy saving.

    Freezer and Planting: consider purchasing a small freezer - or borrowing a shelf in another persons freezer ?  I have done this before - keeps my freezer full and helps them. Also, know anyone who would allow you to pot up a few plants and could share the harvest ?

    Personally, I hate moving ... but, look and see if a better living space is available for rent and would better meet your needs.




  • Thu, Oct 9 2008 9:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Apartment Living

    I'm not single, but I do live in an apartment -- with my DH, DD and two cats!!  We are cramped for space and will hopefully be moving at the end of November.  However, I've been-there-done-that with the inefficient appliances.  I live on the bottom floor so we have a patio and back door.  I know you don't pay for heat, but to be environmentally friendly you can help keep heat in by putting up those window seal kits around your apartment.  Just make sure you leave two exits available to you in case of emergency.

    Also, you can always ask about changing the more inexpensive appliances yourself if you plan to be there a while.  For example, if your a/c is a window unit you could ask to replace with a newer model that you will pay for if they will install it.  You can get them for as low as $200 to as expensive at $1000.  If you plan to be there a few years, the savings by footing the bill for the new unit will probably be made up after 1 or 2 summers, depending on how much you spend on the new unit.  Don't forget to look for new-to-you a/c's when someone else upgrades or remodels a home.

    I don't know if you have a dishwasher, but the one in my apartment went kaput earlier this year.  It took us 6 months to get the new figured out.  It's a little quirky, but we drop the detergent tab in the bottom of the dishwasher and run it on the water-saver cycle.  We don't steam-dry the dishes; we just open the door and let them air dry overnight.  This actually cleans our dishes *way* better than dropping the tab in the detergent cup.  And it saves on hot water and electricity usage.

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in the General forum
  • Sun, Oct 12 2008 10:29 AM In reply to

    Re: Apartment Living

    Apartment living sometimes is a lot cheaper than having a mortgage.  Insurance and taxes, for instance, are much lower or non-existent.  And there is less space, generally, to heat & cool.  So there are some blessings.  I love my apartment these days.  :-)

    Some things you can do:  there may be some plants you can grow if you're so inclined, especially herbs.  Start small and build up -- that's what I'm doing.  I'm going to try making my own laundry detergent, and making compost/sludge for my plants indoors.  I'm not far from either town or the country, so I'm going to look for people who have fresh fruits/veggies really cheap and learn to can.  I also have a small freezer, but I'm learning to make do. 

    As far as space, I also have two bedrooms with my second room being an office.  If I can clean out the closet, I could actually build a pantry in there, or use my linen closet as a pantry.  I'm still undecided.  There are ways you can maximize your space so you can stock up on bargains. 

  • Sun, Nov 16 2008 6:33 PM In reply to

    • misscas
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Jul 23 2007
    • Kansas
    • Posts 233

    Re: Apartment Living

    After owning my own home, there is no way I would go back to renting.  I can paint it any color I want to, have any pets I want, plant the outside to suit my tastes, hang up laundry and do updates before something breaks.  My first apartment was $300 a month for 1 bedroom from 1996-1998.  After enduring tons of loud parties with scary looking party goers and spending a 3 day weekend without hot water, I chose to move.  My second apartment was $385 for 1 bedroom from 1998-2001.  The siding was falling off and I was shocked to see them fill in the rotted sections with caulk, nail it back up and paint.  The neighbors moved out leaving a nasty mess that attracted mice.  My apartment became infested.  Enough with renting.  I bought a little 3 bedroom/1 bath/carport house withing 4 miles of work for $375 a month.  I got my closing costs paid for free and even walked away from the closing with a check. I had to put in 100 hours of sweat equity and this money was forgiven in 3 years.  My bank also didn't require PMI of the low income customers but the interest rate was a little higher.  Fast forward a few years, after buying new appliances, HVAC/AC, water heater, water softener, new windows, new front siding, enclosing carport, patio, privacy fence, shed, new sewer line, new paint job, more insulation and new roof.  I decided to refinance.  I was living on disability at this time.  I was able to qualify to lower the payment to $335 a month.  Mind you, it goes up a little for taxes and insurance every year but I'm still paying less than my last 1 bedroom apartment.   

  • Fri, Jan 16 2009 8:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Apartment Living

    I have the same problems and benefits as you do. For AC, you could get a window unit. However, I was wondering if you or anyone else here had tips for heating your apartment. All the online tips about cutting the heat bill don't really work for apartment dwellers because we don't have the same freedom to modify our spaces. My landlord lied and said I had central heat, but it's actually a small unit that only heats the bedroom. So the bathroom and living room are always frigid. What are some cheap ways to heat your apartment without running up a huge elctric bill.

    Some artists work in oil. I work in childish things--Conan O'Brien
  • Sat, Jan 17 2009 10:05 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Apartment Living

    My landlord lied and said I had central heat, but it's actually a small unit that only heats the bedroom.

    Maybe his idea of central heat is that you can centrally locate a portable electric heater??

    Super Angry


    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • Sat, Jan 17 2009 12:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Apartment Living

    Thanks for the tips, Grace and Brandy! I actually have begun trying the oven tip, and it does help. And then there's always the good old trusty sweatshirt. :)

    Some artists work in oil. I work in childish things--Conan O'Brien
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