Whether you’re already renting your place or you’re in the market for an affordable apartment or rental home, you probably already know renting is expensive. It seems that each year, renters need to dig deeper and deeper into their wallets to find a decent place to live. Wages have stayed the same while the costs of renting have skyrocketed. Consider taking surveys for extra cash to cover a small bill or two.
In fact, it can be cheaper in many areas of the country to buy a house outright than to rent one. But not everyone has the credit score or down payment needed to get a mortgage. That’s why it’s more important than ever for renters to find new and innovative ways to cut back on expenses. In this article, we’ll explore six ways you can save money as a renter.
Choose Your Location Wisely According To Your Transportation Needs
If your livelihood is not tied to where you live, you have many more options to get an affordable rental. With more and more people working remotely, getting an apartment in a less popular and less populated area of the country is a solid option. Think outside the box, but be reasonable; if you work online, you’ll at least need to live somewhere with decent internet access.
On the other hand, if you need to be near your work or school, you’ve got to consider transportation costs. We’re not just talking about gas here, either. If you’re adding a 50-mile round trip to your daily commute, the wear and tear on your vehicle will be much more than if your office is located five minutes down the road. Car maintenance is a genuine consideration. Repairs are costly and could quickly cancel out any money you save by living out in the boonies.
Ditch the Car and Move Closer To Public Transportation
A more radical approach to the transportation issue might be to get rid of your vehicle altogether. After all, cars are a significant expense. If you can do without one, you’ve eliminated the cost of a car payment, insurance, gas, and maintenance, which is likely to be a substantial chunk of change.
In this case, you will want your new place to be situated in an area where you can get to the nearest train station or bus stop. You’ll also want to think about conveniences like grocery stores, your doctor’s office, the laundromat, etc. Choose an apartment with easy access to the places you frequent regularly, and you will not even miss your car. Plus, you’ll save a bundle on parking.
Wheel and Deal With Some Savvy Rent Negotiation
This next tip might be a longshot in today’s economy, but it’s worth trying, anyhow. Often, you won’t be able to negotiate the price of rent at all since, in most places, the market is geared toward landlords who are going to get what they are asking from someone else.
However, you might be able to reach an agreement for a lower monthly rent by customizing your initial offer. If you are working directly with the landlord, offer to pay three months upfront in exchange for a reduction. Or agree that if the rent is paid one month in advance, you can reduce your monthly payment by a small percentage.
For those who are already in a lease, you may have noticed that your landlord typically raises the rent a bit when it comes time to renew the agreement. There may be many justifications for this. Your landlord’s costs may have increased, or the median rental prices in your neighborhood may have gone up over the past year.
Offer to take care of some of the maintenance tasks yourself to keep the rent at the same price. For larger jobs like painting or more extensive repairs, you might even be able to come to an agreement to lower your rent.
Monitor Your Energy Consumption and Utilities
Maybe the cost of rent is simply not negotiable where you live, and there’s nothing you can do about the prices. However, almost anyone can save a little money by being vigilant in their utility usage and energy consumption. In this case, the most obvious tips apply, including:
Turn off lights and appliances when not in use
Switch to LED light bulbs, which can save you a considerable amount over time
Turn down the heat a few notches and put on a sweater
Instead of your dryer, Use a clothesline or a rack to dry your clothes.
Use your dishwasher only when it’s full
Avoid taking long showers
Be Flexible With Your Needs and Wants
When you’re looking for the perfect place to live, you likely have a list of criteria you are trying to meet. Perhaps you want a garden area or a second bathroom. Maybe you would prefer to live in a complex that has a fitness center or central air conditioning.
We all want to be comfortable where we live, so choose those things you absolutely need to have that are non-negotiable. For example, maybe you have small kids and just can’t live without an outdoor space for them to play. You’d also like a washer and dryer, but you don’t mind visiting the laundromat once a week.
Sort out the features you can and can’t do without and be willing to let go of a few of your “wants” to find an apartment that is more reasonably priced.
Consider Getting a Roommate or Two
It’s not an ideal solution, but this tip is the one likely to save you the most money on your rental. If you have an extra bedroom in your apartment, consider getting a roommate to share the expenses. If you have two additional rooms, consider two roommates. Cutting your rent and utilities down by one-half or a third is a dramatic decrease in your monthly expenses.
Of course, the roommate situation is not without its own set of issues. You would be sharing your space with others, and for some people, this is not an option. But if you’re easygoing and social anyhow, it might be the perfect win-win solution to the high-rent conundrum. Just be sure to interview and vet your potential roommates thoroughly to avoid any nightmarish scenarios.