Everything’s as you imagined: You just signed the lease on your new house or apartment at school and you’re all revved up to move in with your best buddies and future roommates. Cherish it – don’t let the honeymoon fade any quicker than it has to. But with that in mind, know that not every second spent in your new home is going to be nonstop laughs, drinks and $1 pizza. Outside of academia, college encourages students to take on new responsibilities. One of your new duties as a renter probably includes paying for your electricity, and you won’t be able to afford many more pizza parties if your first bill gets mailed out with a huge price tag.

Whether you’re at college in New Hampshire or Texas, electricity terms and conditions will bind you to a sizeable bill if you’re not careful. Follow these quick tips and you’ll be able to keep your electric costs more than manageable:

  1. Turn the lights out. It sounds ridiculous – of course you should turn the lights out – but you’d be surprised how easy it is to leave them on when you have just three or four people around at all times. That goes for your appliances, too. If you’re the last one awake at night, make sure you take a quick check around the house to make sure no one’s left the TV on. Who wants to fall asleep to the distant murmurs of Jersey Shore reruns, anyway?
  2. Close your windows, lock your doors. Again, it sounds so simple, but if you’ve got an electric heating system, it’s important to keep everything airtight. With so many people coming and going all day, it’s important to pay close attention to your home’s openings and entryways. You probably won’t have to jack up the thermostat all that high if you’ve sealed everything correctly.
  3. Share. You’re roommates – you love each other, right? Of course you do. There’s no need to coop things up in your room when you’ve got tons of common space for everyone to take advantage of. If every one of you is keeping food in your room and running your own refrigerator to keep it cold, your energy costs are sure to soar. Think about pooling your resources in one, efficient common fridge that everyone can use. Leftover pizza for everyone!
  4. Talk to your landlord. Landlord-tenant relationships stretch across the board for college students. You might have heard the horror stories, but there are plenty of reasonable landlords out there who will help you keep your home in tip-top shape. He or she may have been renting the house out for years and probably knows the ins and outs of it. Keep an honest, open discourse with your landlord and see what you can find out about potentially reducing the energy bill.

There you have it – the four easiest ways to keep your energy costs down while you’re at school. Take these tips to heart and make sure all your roommates are on the same page. Come this time next year, you’ll be happy to look back at all the memories and money you saved over the course of two semesters.

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