Reducing Your Heating Bill At College

Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

Simply paying for accommodation, food, and other basic living expenses can set you back over $10,000 per year when you’re at college. The truth is that when budgeting for their college stay, students often factor in their tuition fees and rent, but do not realize that electricity or natural gas can set them back between approximately $45 and $95 per month. If you are leaving home for college, before you start hunting for an apartment, it is important to think about ways you can save money.

Share rather than live alone

If you live in a studio for one, you will be expected to pay around $55 for electricity or $45 for natural gas. If you live in a three-bedroom apartment, on the other hand, you will pay considerably less (around $18 for electricity and $22 for natural gas). Pooling in resources by sharing an apartment with other students can help cut down costs on expenditures such as heating food as well. It will also save you time since you can share chores as well as heating and other expenses.

Consider renting an apartment with utilities included

Apartments that include utilities in the monthly rent can be rare indeed, but with the help of a rental agent, you just may be lucky enough to find a landlord willing to foot the bill for heat, water, garbage, and electricity. The rent may be a bit higher, so find out what the market price is in your area of interest. Make a quick calculation to see if you might not be better off paying for the utilities by yourself.

Don’t fall into the space heater trap

Space heaters can be a godsend on cold days, but many people make the mistake of thinking they can keep electricity costs down by limiting the time in which they use this type of heater. The truth is that on very cold days, the minute you close the space heater, you start feeling the cold set in. Even two low-wattage space heaters run for the full day would cost more than heating your home using a gas furnace. A space heater might save you money if you just want to heat one room, but the truth is that to live comfortably, various rooms will need to have a comfortable temperature –including your bedroom, living room, and bathroom.

Use the thermostat wisely

Rather than turning the heat off completely and using space heaters, consider opening your thermostat for a couple of hours early in the morning, then again at night. When the heater is off, warm up with extra layers of clothing and thick socks. Also, look out for ‘gaps’ through which cold air could be coming into your home, including gaps beneath doors, which you can easily fix by asking your landlord to adjust the threshold. If you’re lucky, you will find an apartment to rent that has a programmable thermostat, which you can turn off on the hours you are away from home, using your phone or any ‘smart’ device to do so.

Being a student is one of the best times in one’s life but also one that can be stressful in terms of making ends meet. By programming your heat use, sharing expenses, and simply wearing more layers, you can combat the cold and ensure you aren’t paying more than you have to.