There are three big ticket items that every renter needs to consider when making a budget: housing, transportation, and food. Housing is typically the biggest item on everyone’s budget. While the average American renter should attempt to spend no more than 30 percent of his or her income on rent, this isn’t always possible, especially in California’s more expensive areas.
But take heart! Whether 30 percent or more of your gross monthly income is spent on keeping a roof over your head, there’s several methods you can utilize throughout the month, that will ensure you don’t break the bank. We discuss some of our favorite money saving tips in detail below.
- The Art of Negotiation
Before you sign a lease, take the time to try and negotiate the price with the landlord or property manager, especially if you’re willing to sign a longer lease. If management doesn’t seem receptive to your negotiation measures, you can always try to negotiate any fees, including pet deposits and parking spaces. It doesn’t hurt to ask; the worst thing he or she can say is “no”.
- Furnish On The Cheap
Sure, purchasing brand new furnishings is exciting, but it can also be expensive. Especially when you’re furnishing a 2-bedroom apartment. For the best deals on gently used furnishings, take advantage of sites such as Craigslist and Freecycle – you may even be able to find free furniture. Make sure to reach out to family and friends who may be trying to get rid of their unwanted furnishings on the cheap.
- Keep An Eye On Those Utilities
“Heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy use in a typical U.S. home” – this according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To avoid high utility bills each month, take some energy-saving measures such as turning off the lights when you leave a room, setting your thermostat to auto, using ceiling fans, investing in energy efficient light bulbs, and more. Your wallet will thank you!
- Make It Feel Like Home With Pinterest
You may not be able to repaint your apartment, install new carpet, or make any other permanent changes but you can still make it feel like home by decorating it on the cheap. Sites like Pinterest offer thousands of ideas to get your creative do-it-yourself juices flowing. When you stick to good design principles, a little can most certainly go a long way in making your rental into a home.
- Use Any Amenities Wisely
You can save a lot of money just by using on-site, or nearby, amenities – like gyms, pools, computer rooms, etc. Amenities like these are just one of the many perks of rental living. Just remember: be respectful of other residents and the rules enforced by the community. There’s simply no reason to spend money on outside facilities when you can use onsite amenities that you’re already paying for.