The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


Save money on off campus utilities

Living off-campus provides an opportunity for students to have their first experiences of running a house or apartment by themselves or with the help of roommates.

The benefits of living off-campus are vast, but the freedom also comes with various drawbacks.

Bills can become difficult to manage and with utilities being the main expense for students living off-campus, students’ wallets can be significantly lightened by water, electric and gas bills.

Here are some money-saving tips for your off-campus house or apartment:

1. Seal Air Leaks in Doors and Windows

With older living spaces, insulation is key to keeping energy costs down.  Leaky doors and windows allow cold or warm air to seep out, costing you more money to keep your space at your desired temperature.  Locate and caulk leaks that can potentially keep desired air inside your place.

2. Check Your Meters

Your electric and water meters, located somewhere on the side of your house or apartment building, are read monthly in order to determine your use of these utilities, as well as the amount you should be billed.  The employees responsible for reading your meters are capable of making mistakes, like transposing numbers, which can cost you hard-earned money.  Make sure the numbers on your bill and your meter match up.

3. Buy Energy-Star Certified Products

Energy-Star certification is run by the Environmental Protection Agency and products must prove to save energy over a five-year span to earn the distinction.  While these products, which include major appliances and light bulbs, may already exist in your space, replace the ones you can.  Also, according to, all Energy-Star Certified products have to be equally priced to their non-certified counterpart, or prove to save you the extra money in the long run on energy bills.  Wal-Mart, Menards, Blain’s Farm and Fleet and ACE Hardware in Platteville all sell these products.

4. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Many newer apartments or homes will have these and they can help save you money by allowing the resident to set the temperature at pre-set times.  Using these pre-set times, the user can turn off the heat, air conditioning and other high energy-using activities when they are not home, and then have the utilities turned back on shortly before arriving home.  This allows the resident to have their space at their desired temperature while still saving money.  According to, a properly programmed unit can save you around $15 per month.

5. Wash Clothes in Cold Water

If you have a washing machine in your residence, always run the loads in cold water.  According to, 90 percent of the energy a washer uses is devoted to heating the water.  Washing clothes in cold water can dramatically decrease the energy your washer uses, resulting from nearly 1.5 kilowatts per cycle to 0.24 kilowatts per cycle.

6. Pack the Dishwasher

Dishwashers are a blessing for those who have them because they save the owner time, as well as the tedious task of having to hand-washing dishes.  However, dishwashers use a lot of energy per load, so you should arrange your dishes in the machine in the most space-efficient way, getting the most dishes clean per cycle.  For even more energy saving, turn off the washer’s automatic dry function and let the dishes air dry.

7. Cook in Large Quantities

Ovens and stove tops, especially electric ones, use as much energy in one hour of cooking as a refrigerator uses in a day, according to  Students should cut down their use of the oven and stove to save money, but we all need to eat.  An easy solution is to cook large meals, store the leftovers in the fridge and reheat them in the microwave because microwaves use a fraction of the energy the stove uses.

8. Unplug Everything You are Not Using

Any electric outlet that has a plug inserted into it will draw amps of electricity from your home.  While the amount is small, when you combine every single plug, TV, laptop charger, cell phone charger, microwave, etc., the amount of energy that is drawn out, but not used, adds up.  Unplug these items, especially utilities, such as the microwave and clothes drier, when not in use in order to keep more money in your pocket.

9. Communicate with Your Landlord

Your landlord is responsible for the major upkeep of the house or apartment you live in.  Therefore, when there are problems that you cannot solve, call him or her and they are bound to help you by the lease you both signed.  Also, your landlord may know of other ways to help you save, as they have extensive knowledge of their properties that you may not.

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Save money on off campus utilities