The road to financial independence is not straightforward. And, although there are many ways to save money, not all of them are beneficial in the long run. As a renter, you have a lot of flexibility, so take advantage of that and learn the best ways to cut your expenses and master your finances. These money-saving tips for renters can start to help you today.
It’s a journey
Creating a budget and tracking your income and spending are good ways to understand your habits. But, saving money is a journey—one that actually begins even before you sign the lease and move into your rental apartment.
So, to better understand which strategies you should apply and when, here are some practical money-saving tips for renters.
Before moving in
There are many factors that influence the cost of rent, such as where you’re moving to and what you’re looking for in the new space. For instance, those who are looking for environmentally-friendly housing will have more options to choose from among Washington, D.C. apartments, where they’ll likely find more green amenities. Conversely, people who want to rent in Philadelphia are more likely to disregard the specific location because Philly is a very walkable city—as opposed to Atlanta, for example.
So, prioritize the aspects that are most important to you—whether that means being near public transit or a particular area of interest, certain apartment or community amenities, or the total square footage of your space. Then, as you research apartments, choose place where the rent will be less than 30% of your income to avoid becoming overly burdened by your housing costs.
Also, make sure to discuss any fees that you’ll be responsible for; these could range from the security deposit (and any conditions for refundability) to pet fees and other one-time costs. At the same time, inquire about utilities and determine whether they’re included in the rent. Then, talk with your potential neighbors to get a feel for the actual costs of living there and whether it will fit into your budget.
Living in your apartment: Money-saving tips for renters
After you’ve moved in, keep track of your expenses for a couple of months to understand where your money goes. One of the most important costs at the end of the month are your utility bills.
These bills include energy, gas, and water. Monitor your consumption and modify your daily habits to reduce costs. Similarly, consider lowering the temperature on your thermostat, taking faster showers, and investing in energy-efficient appliances.
Cable and internet are additional monthly expenses that you can negotiate when moving in. Do your research and be aware of how much you actually need.
For instance, if you’ll use both internet and cable, look for a bundle deal. Or, if you use streaming and internet services more, make sure to get a good internet plan.
Speaking of subscriptions, take a moment to check out any other recurring payments on your debit or credit cards. You may have forgotten about some services that you signed up for a while back and no longer use, and these costs can pile up over time.
Sharing your living space is another way to save money by splitting the cost of rent and utilities with a roommate, which can significantly decrease your expenses. Likewise, if you choose this option, discuss food with your roommate and come up with a plan for your meals, as well.
Try not to rely on an HVAC system too much, either, if there is one. Otherwise, you risk high heating and air conditioning bills, depending on the time of year. You’re also not doing the environment any favors. There are many other surprising ways to save money and live green.
By doing so, you can buy groceries and household supplies in bulk to further reduce costs and divide them between you. Cooking at home and sharing your space definitely help reduce spending, so it is one of the top money-saving tips for renters.
When your lease is up, you’ll need to decide whether to renew it or move to a new place. Depending on your needs, balance out the costs related to each option to determine the best choice for you.
If you want to move out, plan the move in advance by booking a moving company or asking friends to help you with the furniture. You might also consider hiring a cleaning company to ensure the apartment is spotless when you leave and to guarantee that your security deposit will be refunded. Then, you are back to the first step, of researching and looking for another rental.
Frugal living is a great mindset to adopt if you want to save money. But, if you’re uncomfortable with it, don’t force it. Living with a minimum amount of money might make you uneasy and prone to shopping sprees to make yourself feel better.
Final words on money-saving tips for renters
Instead, by creating a comfortable environment and being aware of what and how much you consume, it will be easy to save a little every month. Often, time passes so quickly that you might end up saving quite an impressive amount—without even realizing it.