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Saving Money When Renting: All It Takes Is a Little Creativity!

May 13, 2010 | Everyday Savings, Ways to Save

These days, saving money is on everyone’s mind. Luckily, there are some simple ways to save money when renting, and all it takes to achieve them is a little ingenuity! In case you aren’t feeling particularly creative today, we at Rent.com have some old (and new) tricks of the trade to set the ball rolling in the right direction.

Negotiating Your Lease

Before you sign your lease, try to negotiate the best rate possible. This starts with knowing what comparable apartments are renting for in the same neighborhood to ensure you are not over-paying. Ask your potential landlord if they will lower the monthly rent if you sign a lease longer than 12 months. Every time your landlord has to turn the apartment they incur marketing and “touch-up” costs, so by signing a longer lease you will be helping them save money. You may also be able to save money on your rent or deposit amount by offering to re-paint, clean or make other repairs that the landlord would otherwise have to make before you move in. In other words, you may be able to sing for your supper rather than paying out the cash.

Cutting Back on Utilities

Another great way to reduce your monthly nut is to cut back on utility costs. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that roughly 7% of the average American’s entire income is allocated to utilities—which accounts for roughly one-fifth of the overall costs associated with housing expenses! There are a couple of ways to easily reduce this percentage, simply by making conscious efforts to conserve energy. A few tips include searching for apartments that use fans in each room instead of air conditioning, asking your building’s maintenance staff to check for leaky faucets or window drafts, and arranging with your landlord for free energy audits.

You may also be able to cut out some utility expenses altogether. We did a web search for apartments with free utilities and found no shortage of options. Many landlords are apparently willing to pick up the tab for your utility usage; just be sure to read the fine print to see if there are onerous restrictions, and do the math to ensure those costs are not buried in a higher monthly rental rate. Lastly, you can save money on utilities by cutting out your internet service. As heretical as this may sound, with the proliferation of web enabled phones and free wireless internet access at libraries and other public locations, you may be able to live without Wi-Fi at home.

Gym Membership Alternatives

Besides trimming down your utilities, you can trim down you while saving money. For a lot of us, a trip to the gym is a key part of our daily or weekly routine, and a gym membership is an added cost that we must factor into our monthly expenses. If going to the gym is part of your regimen, consider looking at apartments or housing complexes with a gym located on-site. While some properties may charge a negligible monthly fee for gym use, it will most likely be a cheaper option than the steep fee that a fancy membership somewhere else would cost you. Also, depending on the location of your apartment, you may be able to take advantage of parks, bike paths, and recreation centers near you and forego the gym entirely.

Consider Your Commute

Very frequently, renters who work in a city opt to live in the suburbs, having found cheaper rent rates farther from the city’s center. However, it’s just as important to consider the additional cost of your daily work commute before shipping out to suburbia. Although your rent might be a few hundred dollars less on the city’s outskirts, you can easily find yourself paying a commensurate amount per month on gas or a transit pass, depending on how far away you choose to live. Believe it or not, sometimes it is cheaper to live in the big city.

In what creative ways are you saving money?

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