Are you looking for a few practical ways to save money on rent? You’re not alone. For many people, rent is the most expensive line-item in their budget. And if that rings true for your financial situation, then the tips in this article might just end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year.
Consider this: if you’re currently paying $1,250 per month in rent, then you’re spending a grand total of $15,000 each year. While that’s not terrible, if you were to reduce that number by 10%, you would end up spending $1,500 less over the course of 12 months.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of financial math that gets me excited.
So, if you’re ready to reduce your biggest expenses and give yourself some additional financial wiggle-room, here are 15 things you can do to save money on rent.
1. Get A Roommate (Or Two)
When it comes to traveling, ordering pizza, or housing, splitting the check is a sure way to save money.
Of course, it’s not the same as living alone and having the privacy of your own space, but splitting your rent check with a roommate can significantly reduce your monthly cost of living. And the more roomates you have, the cheaper it gets.
Sure, extra bedrooms may cost more than a one-bedroom or studio apartment, and you’ll have to share your living space–which, we all know, can come with a few other issues. However, if you really want to save money on rent, this is, hands-down, your best option.
Seriously, in most cases, moving in with a couple of roommates can cut your rent by more than half.
Plus, having roommates means you can also split utility costs. Some utilities might go up with more people, like electric and water, but flat-rate utilities like internet, cable or even HOA fees will be cheaper if you split them.
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2. Move To A Cheaper Part Of Town
The price of rent will directly correlate with the neighborhood in which you live.
Therefore, one of the best ways to save on rent is to move to a different part of town, where it’s a bit cheaper. A lot of renters are tempted to sign a contract for the nicest place they can find, but you could save a lot of money by shopping for a cheaper neighborhood.
That said, commutes can cost a lot too, so you should factor that in when choosing a location for your next rental. In other words, if you have to commute to a job or school, you should weigh the cost of higher rent against an increase in transportation costs.
In some cases, paying higher rent for a place with quick access to public transportation, stores, restaurants, and more might end up costing you less money.
Just make sure to do the math and weigh your options.
3. Negotiate With Your Landlord
For many people, negotiating can be intimidating or uncomfortable. But the truth is that negotiating is how you get good deals. And the best time to negotiate is when you’re renewing your lease.
Try explaining to your landlord that you have been a loyal tenant for X number of years and have paid on time each month. You could also add anything you’ve done to improve the space, like getting the carpets cleaned, improving the condition of the yard, or just keeping their rental in top shape. Tell them you’d like to stay on as a tenant, but if rent keeps increasing you will need to move elsewhere.
Unless your landlord has a list of candidates interested in renting from them, it’s much more profitable for your landlord to keep an existing tenant than try to find a new one. You never know, they might even be willing to give you a discount on rent.
It never hurts to ask!
4. Opt For A Smaller Space
How much space do you actually need? In most cases, especially if you’re trying to save money, you probably don’t need as much space as you think you do. And the good news is that smaller spaces tend to cost less money.
So if you want to save money on rent, you might want to consider downsizing.
And, even for those of you thinking, “I have SO much stuff; I can never downsize,” you can always sell or donate some of your belongings to fit into a smaller space. Ultimately, you just have to decide between square footage or savings.
So, when you’re touring apartments, ask yourself how much space you need and how much extra you’re willing to pay for more space. And, even if you do go with a large space, consider splitting it with roommates (see tip number 1).
5. Sign A Longer Lease (18 to 24 months)
Some landlords offer a discount for signing longer leases, so do not miss out on this opportunity.
Having rented quite a few places in my life, I can tell you that landlords almost always offer a better rate for tenants that sign a lease longer than 1 year.
So, if you like where you live, and you’re ok with the idea of signing an 18 to 24-month lease, then go for it. You’d be amazed at the kind of discounts you can find if you’re willing to commit for a longer term.
6. Pay Your Rent On Time
I hope this goes without saying, but you should always pay your rent on time. Doing so will not only protect you from late fees, but it will also keep your reputation as a good tenant–and thus, your future negotiating power–intact.
For instance, if your rent is increasing and you want to negotiate the price (see tip 3), your landlord is not very likely to work with you if you’ve paid your rent late.
Even worse, if you’re the kind of tenant that consistently misses payment deadlines, your landlord might choose to significantly increase your rent upon lease renewal, or even just find a new tenant.
Make a budget, plan ahead – do whatever you have to do to pay your rent on time. If you feel like you will forget, considering paying rent ahead of time (see the next tip).
7. Pay Ahead Of Time
While paying rent on-time is key to avoid late fees, paying ahead of time may give you even more of a discount. Some landlords may even offer a discount for advanced rent payments.
For instance, ask your landlord if you can pay three to six months’ worth of rent in advance for a discounted price. They want money upfront, and you want a discount–it’s a win-win.
While this may not work for every situation, if you have enough cash to pay ahead of time, this is a great way to save money on rent.
Important: always make sure to research the landlord or apartment complex, take a tour, and ask lots of questions before paying rent ahead of time. Also, never complete transactions like this online unless you are 100% certain it isn’t a scam.
8. Try To Find A Brand New Apartment Complex
Brand new apartment complexes like to fill their spaces as quickly as possible because they need to recover their construction and startup costs. Because of this, they often offer discounts for their first renters to attract tenants. So, the earlier you get in on a new apartment complex, the better chance you have of getting a cheaper rate.
Plus, it’s always nice to move into a new place that hasn’t been dirtied or run-down by other tenants. It might be easier to keep clean and take care of a brand new apartment, so you’re more likely to get your security deposit back.
To find a brand new apartment complex, you can try driving around looking, checking Facebook groups, or even jogging in new neighborhoods to watch for any changes. You can also ask family, friends, and coworkers if they know of any recently completed apartment complexes.
9. Start Your Lease In The Winter
Typically, it’s best to move into a new place in the winter because fewer people are moving, and therefore, landlords may be willing to offer a discount.
Since warmer weather makes moving easier and apartment hunting more enjoyable, the competition in the summer tends to increase. And with an increase in demand, rental rates go up.
Additionally, college towns usually charge higher rent for leases that start in the summer months. Since students are typically scrambling to find an apartment before the semester starts, rent rates are known to increase. So, if you live in a college town and you can wait until winter to sign your next lease, you might end up getting a better deal on rent.
10. Rent From A Friend Or Family Member
Most of us don’t want to move back in with mom and dad, but you can save quite a bit by taking advantage of the family discount. Whether it’s a cousin, aunt, or just a friend, renting from someone you know could be cheaper than renting from a stranger or corporation.
Plus, it may be easier to negotiate with a family member or friend rather than a corporate landlord because you have a personal relationship with them, and they already trust you. You might be able to cut a deal with family or friends to get a discount on rent by helping them out around the complex. Cue tip number 11.
11. Work For Your Landlord Or Apartment Complex
What if you could live somewhere for free? Well, you might be able to do a work-for-rent deal with your landlord or apartment complex.
Tons of people do this while traveling so they can stay for free.
If you offer to help maintain the complex your landlord might give you a discount, or in some cases, even free rent.
12. Don’t Rent A Garage
Most apartment complexes charge extra for you to have a garage to park your car. So if you want to save money on rent, this isn’t worth the extra cost.
Your landlord might say it’s the safest place to keep your vehicle, but if the neighborhood is dangerous enough to worry about parking your car outside then you likely have some other problems on your hands.
The main benefit of using a garage is protecting it against weather and saving you time de-icing if you live in a snowy area. But it can cost you an extra $100 – $200 each month to have a garage. That’s over $1,000 a year!
13. Keep An Eye Out For Deals And Promotions
Some apartment complexes offer deals for first-time renters, or new complexes might have promotions to fill up their spots. You can find rental deals and promotions by driving around watching for signs, joining Facebook groups, or simply asking around.
Also, if you find an apartment complex or rental that seems to fit the bill, always make sure to ask if they are running promotions for new tenants.
14. Opt For Fewer Amenities
Do you want a pool and hot tub? Or an on-site gym? Of course, you do! But if saving money is a priority, you need to ask yourself how often you’ll actually use those amenities and if it’s worth the extra cost.
In many cases, you can save quite a bit of money by opting for a rental with fewer amenities.
On the other hand, if you do want to go to the gym then you might save more money by cutting your gym membership and using your apartment’s facilities instead.
You’ll have to crunch the numbers yourself to decide what is cheaper for you.
15. Say ‘No’ To That Storage Unit
Some apartment complexes offer storage units to their tenants at an additional monthly rate. While it might only be $25 to $50, that adds up over the course of an entire lease.
Therefore, if you want to save money on rent, we recommend ditching the storage unit.
In fact, to take it one step further, if you don’t have enough space in your apartment for all your stuff, consider selling it. Not only will you save money avoiding a storage unit but you will also make some money and reduce the amount of stuff you have to move to your next place!
As an added note, if a storage space is included in your rent, you might be able to negotiate a discount on your payment for not using the space. Let your landlord know that you will not need the storage unit, and so you’d like the cost taken off your rent. The worst they can say is no, and in the best-case scenario, you could save a few hundred dollars a year.
With rental prices as high as they are in America, it’s important to look for deals and find unique ways to save money on rent. And I genuinely hope the tips in this article will help you do so.
Do you have more ways to save money on rent? Let us know in the comments.
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