Most experts state no more than 30 percent of your income should be used for rent or house payments. If you pay more than this amount, then you need to find ways to reduce the monthly rental cost.
Paying more than 30 percent of your income on your rent curtails your ability to go out with friends, purchase needed items or go on vacation.
Paying too much in rent can also impact your ability to get out of debt. The money you would be putting toward retirement, an emergency fund or paying down credit card debt is non-existent. This means in the event of an emergency you would be in dire straits. Worse yet, you could find yourself facing retirement with nothing saved. Luckily there are a few avenues you can pursue when attempting to lower your monthly rental costs. Read the following options and apply those you believe you have the best chance of sustaining.
Even if you do not want a roommate long-term, having one for a short duration can allow you to put away money into an emergency fund. If you have the fund full after a year’s time, then you can decide whether to move the roommate out or not. Investment experts state that having even one roommate can reduce your living expenses by 30 percent, including utilities.
If it would mean breaking your lease and the forfeiture of a large penalty, then moving is not an option. However, if your lease is coming up for renewal, then consider leaving. Simply moving to another area of town can reduce your overall costs. Living in a highly desirable area can cost you more, for the same type of apartment elsewhere.
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Additionally, some apartments have no parking and you have to pay a monthly fee for a space. If you like the area where you live, then consider finding a place nearby then you can still enjoy the amenities of the area without the upscale rent. Just make sure you do not relocate too far away if your current apartment is closer to work. Also, consider older buildings, as they can still be nice but less expensive. This is not to say you should accept an apartment complex that is falling apart, but older buildings well maintained can save you a lot of money.
When looking for an apartment in an area, research it to find out what the highest costs and lowest costs are for the area. What amenities are included for the price in each? This gives you bargaining power when you begin to tour apartments. Stay on top of the listings as they become available because those listed at below market value are rented quickly.
Some landlords are willing to reduce the cost of your rent in exchange for your help around the complex. Offer to do yard work, paint walls or police the trash areas for him or her. This keeps the landlord from having to hire someone else to do it and he or she is saving money in the process. It can be a win-win situation. Often the landlord allows a tenant to become the apartment manager, answering maintenance calls after hours, collecting rent checks, and answering phones. In many instances, it can result in you living there rent-free.
When looking for a new apartment take note of those listed on the market for a longer period of time, such as those for more than 30 days. Owners become more motivated after a month of receiving no rental income. Show up with sparkling references and even offer to sign a 24-month lease in order to get a lower rate. Show the landlord or owner the rental rates of lower-priced units nearby to further motivate the rate reduction.
As long as your lease does not prohibit the practice, you can rent out your apartment to vacationers. Become an Airbnb host, and then when someone wants to rent your apartment make arrangements to leave for that period of time and couch surf with friends or visit family. Hosts in New York City who did this earned over $5,000 a year.
Many apartment buildings have smaller units for rent, which cost less. Speak with your manager and see if you can switch into a small place to save some money. While the landlord may not be happy with the idea, he or she is also going to be glad to receive the rent each month. You may find downsizing opens up new perspectives for you as well.
If you cannot control the cost of rent, then you can control the amount of energy you use in the home. Make small changes to how you use water, electricity or gas and save up to $50 a month. Bundle up more in the winter, wear less in the summer and make sure you turn on lights and other electrical components only when you need to.
If there is no way to lower your rental costs, then when your lease is up, consider leaving the area altogether. Do the research to find out which cities have the best rental prices and plan to go visit while you are waiting for your lease to expire. Moving away from a city’s center can lower your rent drastically, allowing you to save money or have money to enjoy going out more.
Other expenses tend to be cheaper the farther you live from metropolitan areas as well, so consider your entire cost of living will most likely be reduced. If you are a die-hard city dweller, then consider there are cities with cheaper rental rates. A recent report stated the average city apartment dweller pays more than $9,000 in extra costs compared to renters choosing to live outside the metro areas. If your work skills translate no matter where you live, then what are you waiting for?
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