Welcome to the world of renting, where the opportunities to save money are endless! With rent, utilities, and other expenses, most renters often struggle to balance their budget. However, with a few great strategies and some conscious effort, you can save a lot of money each month. In this article, we have shared ten money-saving strategies for renters that will help you make smart financial decisions, cut unnecessary costs, and still live a comfortable life without breaking the bank.
1. Get a roommate
If you live in a city with a high cost of living or a popular student town, you know how expensive rent can be. One way to reduce your monthly rent expenses is to share your living space with a roommate. By splitting the cost of rent and utilities, you can save a significant amount of money each month. Not to mention, you may end up forging a new friendship that could last forever.
If you decide to explore the roommate option, ensure that you pick someone trustworthy, reliable, and compatible with your personality, lifestyle, and habits. Always have a written agreement outlining each individual’s responsibilities regarding rent, utilities, and other essential house expenses, which should be agreed on before moving in.
2. Negotiate rent
Believe it or not, rent is negotiable in many cases. Before you sign a lease agreement, research the current market price of comparable properties in the area. If you’ve been a responsible tenant that always pays rent on time, you may be able to negotiate a lower rent rate or convince your landlord to keep the price from increasing, saving you money in the long run. Pro tip: negotiate during the off-season to increase your chances of success.
3. Use a rent calculator
Prior to signing a lease, it’s crucial to calculate how much rent you can afford monthly realistically. By using a rent calculator, you can figure out what percentage of your salary should go towards rent and utilities. This can help you avoid the trap of overspending on rent and ending up in financial turmoil. Make sure that you factor in other monthly expenses such as groceries, transportation, and utilities.
A good rule of thumb to follow is the 50/30/20 budget rule whereby 50% of your income goes towards essential expenses, 30% for entertainment, and 20% towards savings and debt repayment.
4. Avoid unnecessary fees
Always read your lease carefully before signing to avoid hidden fees that could eat into your budget. Some landlords will charge extra fees for late rent payments, pet damage, or early termination of the lease. Ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions of the lease agreement, and if you have any confusion, ask the landlord to clarify.
Carefully read your lease and corresponding addendums to get a better understanding of fees and charges. Moreover, keep a record of repair and maintenance expenses to prevent landlords from charging you for pre-existing damages when you eventually move out.
5. Use energy-efficient appliances
Energy-efficient home appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners may be more expensive to purchase initially, but they can save you a lot of money on your monthly utility bills in the long run. The less energy your devices use, the less money you spend on utilities.
To save more energy and money in your apartment, ensure your home is adequately insulated, replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient lightbulbs, and consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to control the temperature of your home when you’re out.
6. Save on furniture
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on brand new furniture to make your apartment look stylish and cozy. You would be surprised at the number of deals you can get for gently used furniture online or at an antique store. You can also ask your family and friends if they have any furniture that they no longer need. Moreover, you can always try a thrift store or garage sale for a bit of style on a budget.
Also, look out for the ubiquitous end-of-season clearance sales that happen at the major stores, where you can get fantastic deals on furniture and home decor. Remember: your furniture does not need to be new for it to make your apartment a comfortable, stylish space.
7. Take advantage of rewards programs
If you frequently shop at particular retail outlets, it’s beneficial to sign up for their rewards programs. In doing so, you can earn points or discounts on future purchases that can translate into money saved. For instance, if you frequently purchase groceries from one store, signing up for their rewards program can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Moreover, if you need to have internet, cable or electricity services, look for companies that offer top-up bonuses or loyalty points. That way, in addition to getting your necessary services, you can also earn rewards and cash them in for other goodies.
8. Use a budgeting app
In this digital age, there is an app for just about everything, including budgeting apps. Using these apps can help you keep track of your monthly expenses, see where you can cut back, and better plan for your financial goals. Some budgeting apps can offer personalized tips on how to save money based on your spending habits.
Mint, Personal Capital, and Pocket Guard are staples in terms of money management apps. They are easy to use, available for both Android and iOS devices, and free. Additionally, they come with investment tracking to measure your investment goals and personal finance coaching.
9. Cook at home
Eating out at restaurants can do significant damage to your wallet. Cooking at home requires a bit of effort, but it can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run. Grocery shopping, meal prep, and cooking make controlling the quality of the food and ingredients easier, and you will likely eat healthier in the process.
If you’re busy or can’t cook, try batch cooking on the weekends and freezing leftovers so that you have a quick meal when you’re short on time. Moreover, if you’re ordering anything online, try vendors that deliver groceries directly to your home. They allow you to purchase in bulk for a lower price than at grocery stores, and you can compare prices between vendors from the comfort of your own home.
10. Use public transportation
One of the easiest ways to save money is to opt for public transportation instead of driving your vehicle or owning a car. Public transportation, such as buses, trains, and subways, is much cheaper when compared to the expenses of owning a vehicle, including gas, parking fees, insurance, and maintenance.
Moreover, public transportation allows you to relax and read, catch up on emails or work, and avoid the stress of rush hour traffic, which contributes significantly to better mental health.