There is a rule of thumb which indicates that you should spend only one-third of your income on rent. But rent is expensive, and if you live in a city like New York or San Francisco, sometimes more than half of your paycheck goes to rent each month. Everyone wants to save money on rent, but sometimes, it’s difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered, so listen up.
7 Smart Ways to Save Money on Rent
1. Consider roommates
A great way to save money on rent is by finding a roommate. Depending on demand, two-bedroom apartments sometimes cost just $100 more than a one-bedroom. While you’ll still have the convenience of your own room (and sometimes your own bathroom), you’ll be able to save money on rent. Just make sure you exercise due diligence when picking your roommate. You want a roommate who won’t steal your things or flake out on your mid-lease.
2. Be flexible about your living coordinates
It’s crazy how a one-bedroom in the center of the city can cost you upwards of $2,500 a month, yet a few blocks up the street, you can get a two-bedroom for half the price. If you want to save money on rent, be flexible about your location, even if that means your walk to work will be 15 minutes instead of five.
3. Distinguish your wants from your needs
Of course, everyone wants a pool, game room, and gym in their apartment complex, but these amenities often come with increased rental rates. Save money by determining what’s a necessity and what is a convenience.
4. Stop paying for internet
Before you sign up for internet service, which can run you about $60 each month, check to see if your complex offers free Wi-Fi. Many apartment complexes are now including internet service in the price of rent, but even if that’s not something that your apartment complex does, you can still check to see if you can connect to the leasing office’s Wi-Fi. Your signal may not be as strong, but if you can decrease monthly costs, it might be a compromise you’re willing to make.
Even if you can’t connect to your leasing office’s internet, why pay for internet when you can create a hotspot? Most cell phone companies offer an option where you can use your phone as a hotspot. If you’re a gamer or trying to stream videos, the connection might not be strong enough, but if you’re just seeking to browse the internet, give mobile hotspots a try. Also, consider cutting the cord on cable to reduce costs.
5. Choose an apartment without upgrades
Am I the only one who is flabbergasted by the price difference between regular apartments and upgraded units? I mean, dark cabinets and faux hardwood floors look nice, but is it really worth an extra $150 per month? I think not. Instead of opting for an upgraded unit, settle for a basic one. Whether the countertops are granite or Formica, it’s still a surface to prepare your food, so does it really matter?
6. Negotiate your rent
Negotiating initial renting prices is not always easy, especially if other people are interested in the same property. Nevertheless, rent negotiation is possible, particularly if you’re renting from an individual as opposed to a leasing company.
Landlords have several obligations they owe the tenant. For example, landscaping and pest control is usually something the landlord handles. If you are renting a house with landscaping, for example, ask if you can be responsible for upkeeping the lawn in exchange for a lowered rental rate.
Even if you’re unable to negotiate initial rental terms, it might be helpful to try to do so whenever your lease term expires. Many landlords like to increase the rental price after the first term under the premise that market prices have changed or other people are interested in the same unit. At this point, try to reach an agreement with your landlord in which both of you might benefit.
7. Sign an extended lease
On the opposite side of the same coin, some landlords might charge less if you’re willing to sign an extended lease. Whenever a tenant vacates a property, the landlord has to paint the walls, clean the carpet, and address any repairs that need to be made. That costs both time and money. Ask your landlord about an option to sign an extended lease in exchange for a reduced rental rate.
Author Bio: Darlene Mase lives in Newnan, Georgia with her husband and daughter. She is a stay-at-home mom and works as a freelance writer for Zumper.com and other popular sites. During her free time, Darlene enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, cycling, gardening, caving, kayaking, or anything else outdoors.