For many years, financial experts suggested spending only 30 percent of your monthly income on rent. That means if you rent a home or apartment for $1,250 a month, you should be bringing in about $3,750 per month. Yeah. Right. I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely not the case here. And frankly, suggestions like these are a bit discouraging, disappointing, and unrealistic. Fortunately, it is possible to decrease monthly costs and save money while renting.
You may be renting because you just like renting or you are renting because you are looking for homes for sale. Wherever you are, here are eight money-saving tips to get you started.
1. Consider a roommate.
Okay, so if you’re married with children, getting a roommate is a bit unrealistic. But if you’re single and looking to save money on your monthly bills, a roommate can definitely help. A reliable roomy can help you carry the burden of rent and utilities each month. Don’t know of anyone looking to rent nearby? Websites like Roomster help you find potential roommates in your city.
2. Set your bills on autopay.
Adulting is hard, and it’s easy to forget when one or more of your monthly bills are due. Setting up autopay is a surefire way to avoid pesky late fees. If for whatever reason autopay is not an option, create a monthly reminder on your phone to make sure you never miss another due date.
3. Move to a different neighborhood.
Most people want to live somewhere close to work, friends, services, and amenities, and landlords know that. That’s why rent tends to be more expensive as you get close to the city center. But if you’re looking to save money, consider moving a bit further out. Granted, your commute might increase by ten minutes. And you might have to drive instead of walk to your favorite restaurant, but if it means you could save money on rent each month, it might be a good idea.
4. Choose an apartment with fewer upgrades.
If moving to a different part of town is not an option, then downgrading to a more basic apartment might be the move. Most apartment complexes have upgraded and basic units. Oftentimes, units with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and updated flooring cost several hundred dollars more each month. Formica countertops and black appliances aren’t so bad if it’s in the name of saving money.
5. Be a good steward over your utilities.
Looking to decrease monthly costs? Things as simple as turning off the water while you brush your teeth and flipping off the lights when you leave a room can make a difference. Granted, you likely won’t save much each month, but every little penny adds up, doesn’t it?
6. Share the internet with a neighbor.
I admit. This tip is a little sketchy, but if you’re looking to save money, it might be worth it. Many apartment complexes include free Wi-Fi with your monthly rent, but if this isn’t the case, you might consider splitting the cost of the internet with a friendly neighbor. If this isn’t an option, creating a hotspot from your cell phone might be an option. Granted, you won’t be able to veg out playing Call of Duty with a hotspot from your phone, but it will probably let you fulfill your basic connection needs.
7. Negotiate the price of your rental.
When it comes to renting, most people think the price is firm, but often, that’s not the case. Don’t be scared to ask for a lower price. What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll say no? When negotiating the price, keep in mind you’ll have the most success asking during the off-season and asking a large complex. For example, if you’re looking to rent in a college town, don’t expect any discounts when school is in session. Instead, try leasing during the summer, when many of the students are home and units are vacant.
8. Cook meals at home.
Personally, I love eating, but cooking is not my favorite thing. Especially having to clean up after. It’s the pits. But, if you’re looking to save money, making meals at home can help because eating out is expensive. Create a weekly menu and only buy ingredients required to cook the items on that menu. That way, you won’t buy perishables that end up going to waste.
Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson serenaded us with the idea that “the best things in life are free.” But I think having a roof over my head is pretty grand, and that’s definitely not free. Everything is so expensive these days, and it’s difficult to catch a break. For many of us, our paychecks are spent before they’re ever deposited into our accounts. But don’t despair, dear friend. It is possible to save money, and we hope these money saving tips will set you on your way to debt-free living.