7 Tips For Renting on a Budget
Even though you might not like it, budgeting is your friend. Adding rent to your already saturated list of bills can be a pain. However, there are easy ways to lessen this pain for those who are renting on a budget.
1. Start by Planning your Budget
Rent can take up a significant portion of your income every month so it’s critical to make it a top priority when budgeting. Planning your budget can help you figure out what your priorities are. First things first, pin down your average after-tax income. Once you know how much you have each month you can start portioning out your money.
For a good reference when renting on a budget, try the 50-30-20 rule. This rule states that 50% of your income should go to necessities like rent, utilities, and groceries. 30% can go to your “wants” like your streaming services or those new shoes you’ve been eyeing. Finally, 20% goes to savings – don’t forget about this part.
Even when you think you have it all down perfectly, leave room for inevitable changes. Life changes and your normal income might change around with it. That’s why it’s important to have wiggle room in your budget for those rainy days.
2. Don’t Forget About Utilities when Renting
Chances are, you’re going to have to pay for utilities. Some owners include utilities in the rent but this isn’t always the case. Utilities include electricity, water/sewer, heating and gas, and cable/internet.
You can reach out to the local utility providers, like Dominion Energy, and see what their average costs would be. You might not be able to get an exact number but you can get an estimation to go off of. Once you have the totaled amount, make sure to add this to the marketed rent of the properties you are interested in to see if you can afford it.
3. Savings for Rainy Days
We know you’ve heard it before. Always have money in your savings account for those rainy days. Adding to your savings account every month can make a huge difference in a time of need. It’s smart to put enough money away to be able to pay for your essentials (rent, food, utilities, etc.) for a month, just in case.
4. Location, Location, Location
Location should be a big deciding factor in where you rent, especially when renting on a budget.
Is a longer drive to work worth a cheaper rent?
Is it close to public transportation?
These are things that you need to ask yourself when first looking for a rental property. What’s more important to you, saving time or saving money?
LeasingandManagement.com has the option where you can sort through our available rentals based on location and price range.
5. Longer Term Leases to Save Money
Longer leases are usually less expensive. This is because the owner is more comfortable having a secured rent for a longer period of time even if they aren’t making as much money. The months where they are looking for a tenant will cost them more than the money they are losing from a cheaper rent. A shorter term lease, especially anything under 6 months, will probably be more expensive so it’s best to look for a place where you can stay for at least a year.
6. Conserve Energy – Turn Off the Lights!
This is an easy way to be less wasteful. Make sure the lights are off, unplug anything that you aren’t using, turn the heat down a bit, and check for leaking sinks or pipes. These may seem like small things but they can easily add up over time and increase your utility bills.
7. Look for Roommates
When renting on a budget, one of the easiest ways to save money is to get a roommate. A two bedroom apartment is going to be less expensive than a 1 bedroom apartment if you split the cost with a roommate. Roommates can also help pay for the cost of utilities. However, make sure your landlord will allow another person on your lease before promising anything.
Sticking to a budget can be a challenge but if you stick to these tips you’re bound to save money in the long run.
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