Avoid Renter Rip-Offs: How To Save When Renting

how to save when renting

Your apartment, that you got by saving a ton of money.

While buying a house might seem like the most expensive living option out there, renting can add up in costs fairly quickly too. Many people even go into debt trying to keep up with rental payments; nearly 80% of Americans are struggling with debt. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with rental costs or make ends meet with the rent check due, you might need to look at a few of these strategies to help you save. Renting is expensive, but knowing the right ways to save can help you cut down on the costs every month.

Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate

Talking with your landlord to set a lower rental price for your apartment can be incredibly intimidating, but it’s absolutely worthwhile. In the commercial real estate world, it’s considered incredibly naive to accept a first offer. Negotiation is expected. Even though that’s less common when renting an apartment, you may be surprised by the results, especially if you’re dealing with a small landlord as opposed to a massive property management company. Don’t leave money on the table that could be in your pocket instead.

See what you can do before you sign a lease to come to a reasonable agreement on both rental prices and the terms of the lease – your landlord might be more flexible than you realize on many conditions of the agreement.

Decorate Smarter, Not Harder

One of the difficulties with living in a rented space is that you’re often not allowed to change too much of what the space looks like. You may be kept from painting the walls, hanging items on walls, and more. Most landlords will select paint with this in mind, opting for neutral tones. In a 2017 interior design trends survey, more than a third of respondents said they would choose a neutral color palette if redecorating their home. Look for affordable decor options that work in your space without having to change wall colors or other major parts of your home. Thrift stores can be a great place to find unique pieces for a steal. Additionally, decorating smart helps you avoid having to give up your security deposit later on when the landlord realizes you’ve painted or put nail holes in walls.

Make Use Of Maintenance Help

Many renters, especially those living in apartment complexes, will have access to landlord-provided maintenance services. It’s essential as a renter that you make use of these whenever you notice something wrong with your apartment. That leaky faucet in the kitchen is more than just a temporary nuisance – it can also run up your utility bills. Roughly 10% of United States households have leaks in their plumbing that can waste up to 90 gallons of water per day. When you’re trying to cut down on spending, that single leak matters for your water bill. This is true of many small household nuisances, so contact maintenance whenever you notice something like this going wrong. Alternatively, if you don’t have access to maintenance services, do what you can to tackle these issues yourself as quickly as possible.

Stick To A Budget

It’s easy for spending to get out of hand quickly when you’re not keeping meticulous track of where your paycheck is going. In general, your monthly rent should take up no more than 30% of your income, although you may need to bend slightly on that rule if you live in San Francisco, Denver, New York City, and other expensive rental markets.

Try to set up a budget fairly early on when living in your apartment, and include everything you can think of in it. This includes rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment, shopping, and more. Stick as closely to this budget as you can, and know what points are flexible and which aren’t. For example, if you’re cutting it a bit close on your budget for the month, you can’t reduce how much you pay towards your rent, but you can skip on eating at a restaurant for a night out. Careful financial planning and management will help you avoid finding yourself surprised by payments later on.

The costs of living as a renter can add up fairly quickly, but careful planning and management, along with the right tips, can help you save. What tips and tricks do you use to cut down on monthly spending as a renter?

Image source: Evan Dvorkin.

 

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