Utilities

Most landlords pay for your water and gas, so the main utilities you’ll have to pay include electricity, cable, phone and Internet. If you’re purchasing landline phone service, see if your provider offers a bundle package that includes cable, Internet and phone service. But if you use your cell phone most of the time, you can get a bundle package with the cable and Internet.

When you get your utility bills each month, make a list of the balances and due dates of these bills with a colored marker. Then look at your check for the week and pay the most urgent bills first for that week and pay the remaining ones with the remainder of the check.

If you want to lower your bills, there are some steps you can take. Lower your heater’s thermostat and stay warm by purchasing a portable heater that takes batteries, extra clothes and a heavy wool bedspread.
Don’t leave your radio or TV on all night and instead of running the laptop computer on electricity, run it on the battery for a few hours. Avoid long showers and cook two meals a day rather than three or four. Purchase an energy-efficient washer/dryer set.

If you think you’ve been overcharged on some of your utility bills, contact or visit the providers and find out why. If it’s because of hidden fees that you don’t know about, inquire whether these fees are mandatory or an extra fee for a service you don’t want or need. You should bring past receipts of the bills you paid if you feel you’ve been overcharged for the past few months. Always maintain a respectful attitude while talking to the service representative.

In some public housing developments in different cities, you may experience energy regulation from the city housing authority and this usually means that there are some restrictions on the amount of energy you use. In these situations, be careful to only use the amount of energy that’s allowed by the housing authority because depending on the city, you could be charged extra or face a termination of certain utilities.