What Has Happened to Rental Costs?
Since 2010, there has been a sharp increase in rent affordability (the percentage of income spent on monthly rent) as rent has increased and wages have not risen at the same rate. From 2007-2016, the median cost of rent increased 19.5%, meaning that in 2016 it cost $2,304 more a year to rent than in 2007.
Despite this change to rent affordability, many Americans are still choosing to rent. If you have little job security, know you might not stay in the same place for two years, or you’re not financially ready to buy a home, renting is probably the best option. Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t use that time to improve your credit or save up for a down payment. Below are the 5 ways to save money on rent.
1. Understand Your Security Deposit
All rentals require a security deposit. If you keep your rental in good working order the deposit will be returned in full when you move out. You can save money on rent by making sure that you get the whole deposit when you move out. Make sure to meticulously document the condition of the apartment before moving in any of your belongings. Take pictures and document any damage that existed before your arrival and have your landlord sign off and agree on the pre-existing damage so there are no disputes when you leave.
2. Negotiate for Lower Rent
Rent is arguably your largest monthly expenditure, so it is worthwhile to ask your landlord or rental agency if there are ways to lower the monthly rent. Often a rental agency or landlord will lower the rent if you sign an extended lease. Some places might lower the monthly rent, or may give you a free month for every extra year you agree to lease. Another option is to pre-pay your rent. Many lessors will accept a lower total amount if you are able to pay six-months up front rather than at the first of every month.
3. Find a Roommate*
One of the most straightforward ways to save money on rent is to split the total amount. Websites that act as classified ads often have a shared housing section where you can find a house looking for a roommate. They often have other individuals looking for someone else to find a place with. The added benefit of having a roommate is that you can often live in a larger place than you would be able to on your own.
*Because roommate situations can create new problems, we urge you to exercise caution in this matter. Ensure you take every precaution to protect yourself against the potential dangers of roommates — financially, legally, physically or otherwise. CreditGUARD is not an advocate for cohousing. If you choose this option, CreditGUARD assumes no liability for the outcome.
4. Design on a Budget
Another great way to save money on rent is to find great deals when buying new or used home products. Thrift stores, dollar stores, discount stores and community websites can help you save a bunch of money outfitting your home with all your furniture and decorating needs. You can also find a lot of tutorials on YouTube and Home DIY blog sites that can help you easily decorate your home on a budget.
5. Consider Other Financial Obligations To Save on Rent
When choosing a place to live, try to find a place within walking distance to shops and close to your place of work, cutting down on gas and car maintenance. Pay attention to what the landlord or rental agency is offering in terms of paying water, trash or other utilities. Sometimes you can find a rental with a work-out facility which can help save money on gym or other fitness fees.
If you’re currently facing an overwhelming debt situation, you are not alone. CreditGUARD has a non profit debt consolidation program that helps you with getting out of debt quicker and making one easy monthly payment. Learn more today when you speak to one of our certified credit counselors- call us at 800-500-6489.