Housing is the typical American’s single greatest monthly expense, and that holds true whether you own a home or rent one. If you fall into the latter category, you may be eager to lower your costs and bank more of your earnings.
Here are a few steps you can take to save money on rent.
1. Get a roommate
Having your own living space is nice, but you could slash your rental costs by bunking with a roommate instead. According to Abodo, the national median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,025 at the end of 2018. The median cost for a two-bedroom was $1,255.
Let’s imagine those numbers reflect rental prices in your neighborhood. In that case, you stand to save around $400 a month by splitting the cost of a two-bedroom as opposed to paying for a one-bedroom yourself.
Having a roommate could save you money on utilities as well since you’ll share the cost of things like cable and internet service.
2. Negotiate with your landlord
Good tenants aren’t always easy to come by. If you’re a reliable tenant with a solid history of paying your rent on time, your landlord might cut you a break in order to keep you around.
Don’t hesitate to negotiate the cost of your rent when your lease comes up for renewal.
3. Sign a long-term lease
Vacancies are a landlord’s worst nightmare. Another tactic you might employ to lower your rent is to ask for a reduced rate in exchange for signing a multi-year lease. This may not work in large cities with high renter turnover, but if you live in a less-hopping area of the country, it’s worth trying.
4. Settle for less space
You might prefer a three-bedroom home over a two-bedroom, or a one-bedroom apartment over a studio, but the more space you have, the higher your rent. If you’re willing to give up some square footage, you could lower your rental costs.
5. Sacrifice a few amenities
It's nice to rent an apartment that has a doorman, an on-site gym, and other perks, but moving into a no-frills building will keep your rental costs down. Similarly, if you’re looking at standalone houses, you’ll generally pay less for homes with dated kitchens and bathrooms than you will for a completely upgraded space.
Think about the way such amenities might contribute to your overall quality of life. If having a nicer space means a lot to you, go for it. But if having an extra $200 a month makes you even happier, give up those perks.
6. Barter with your landlord
Landlords incur many expenses while maintaining their properties. If you’re willing to tackle some maintenance or repair items so your landlord has one less contractor to pay, you could negotiate a break on rent.
For example, if you don’t mind shoveling snow, you might offer to do that in exchange for a reduced rate on your apartment. Or, if you’re handy, you might come up with a system where you get a credit toward your rent payment for every time you fix another tenant’s leaky faucet or broken closet door. There are different arrangements to play around with, so see what terms you and your landlord can come to.
By saving money on rent, you’ll free up cash for other important things. Employ these tips, and with any luck, you’ll start to see a lot more wiggle room in your budget.