One of the largest expense categories for most family budgets is housing. It isn’t uncommon for renters to spend around one-third of their gross income on rental expenses. But there are ways to help bring the costs associated with keeping a roof over your head down to a more manageable level. To help you lower your expenses, here are some ways you can save on rent.
Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to numerous different housing subsidies. There are a range of different government and non-profit assistance programs to help pay rent. Sites like Low Income Financial Help provide details on how and where to look for assistance with paying rent on a short or long term basis.
The amount a landlord charges in rent is not necessarily set in stone, so don’t be afraid to try a bit of negotiating. Often, if you are signing a lease, you can get a lower monthly price if you are open to committing to a longer lease term. Additionally, if you are a long-term tenant and working to renew your lease, previous reliability may play in your favor when asking for a discount. Just make sure any discount you request still results in an appropriate amount for your neighborhood.
If the landlord isn’t willing to budge on the price, see if there are other items that they are willing to include. For example, would they be willing to include certain utilities at that price, or include a parking spot? You won’t know if you don’t ask.
One of the most definitive ways to lower your rent is to split the costs with a roommate. Various online classified ads allow those looking for roommates to communicate with people with whom they may be compatible, and some schools and workplaces allow flyers to be posted in specific locations.
Regardless of your method for connecting, make sure to properly vet any candidates before entering into any formal agreements. Additionally, depending on the rules set by your current landlord, the new roommate may need to sign onto the lease before they can move in. Check with your landlord before beginning your search, or at least thoroughly review the content of your current lease, to see if there are any special requirements.
Another option for those about to finish a lease term or those who can transfer their agreement to other locations owned by the same landlord is to look for a smaller home or apartment. Generally, the smaller the property, the lower the cost, as long as the amenities and location are similar. While it can be hard to downgrade to a smaller home, if you are struggling to pay rent, it might be the wisest move.
A smaller place may also lead to savings in other areas. For example, your utility bills may be lower based on not having to heat or cool as large of a space. And any savings you can find should be included in the decision-making process.
Each of the above approaches has the potential to save you money in regards to your housing expenses. And, in some situations, you may be able to use more than one to get the costs down even further. So go ahead and give one (or all!) of them a try. You may be surprised how low your rent will go.