There are lots of things you can do to save money in your everyday life – cut out impulsive shopping, make coffee at home, and generally make do with what you have. But saving money on rent is impossible, right? Well, the good news is, you’re wrong!
Rent prices have only gone up in the past few years, and it seems like it’s exponential. Even a one-bedroom can run you anywhere from $900 to $1300 a month, and that’s not counting the super-expensive cities like New York or San Francisco. Ouch!
While there are certain baseline rates you won’t be able to go past, there are still ways to save money on rent, and some of them can even be done after you’ve signed your lease. If you need to learn more about how to save on rent, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you are a university student or a family trying to make ends meet, read on to see 17 ways to save money on rent!
1. Reconsider your Location
There’s something about living in a big city – the lights, the energy, and the accessibility to all of your favorite things. However, that is exactly what drives up the cost of rent in those areas. Living in the city center is going to cost you, big time!
Take a step back and look around the outskirts of the city. You can use public transportation and still access all of the activities and culture that has drawn you to this area, to begin with. The outlier communities still have a lot to offer.
Sure, you will have to compromise by traveling further, however, it may be worth it to save a few hundred bucks a month.
2. Set a Budget and Stick to it
When you’re looking to rent a place, you often look for how much the rent will be, and it’s more than likely on a website. But, there are often other fees associated, which means you’ll be paying more than the sticker price for a rental.
Before you even take that first step, analyze your income and identify what you can comfortably pay each month for rent, with all of your other needs included as well. Don’t forget about your utilities, either!
Once you have that number outlined, look for a price under that and make sure any additional fees fall under that price, also. Sticking to your budget will enable you to keep your financial stresses at bay and help you save on rent.
3. Look for a Long Term Lease
Typically, the shorter the lease, the higher the per-month price will be, especially if they’re for less than a year. Consider a long-term lease, especially if you know you like the area and plan on sticking around for a few years.
A two-year lease will probably save you the most, but you may even be able to negotiate for a year and a half lease.
Landlords are usually open to longer leases because it means they don’t run the risk of a vacancy and don’t have to re-paint and put down new carpet. This is beneficial for both parties, so don’t be afraid to ask for a long-term lease to save money on rent!
4. Negotiate when Renewing
Is there anything more maddening to see that your lease is up for renewal and your price has actually gone up? Especially if you’ve been a great tenant, this can really grind your nerves – and rightfully so. Negotiating is a great way to save money on rent.
When negotiating, be sure to mention anything you’ve done to help out the property, or (kindly) point out any issues you’ve had over the term of your lease that may not have been resolved in the best manner or that can give you a leg up.
This may be the time to negotiate for a longer lease, with the understanding you will have the same rate as previously, or even slightly less. Don’t be afraid of negotiating when renewing your contract in order to save money on rent!
5. Get a Roommate
One of the best ways to save money on rent is to split the cost. You may often find that while a two-bedroom is more expensive than a one-bedroom or a studio, it can come out to much less per person when the rent is shared.
Getting a roommate is one of the best ways to save money on rent. Not only can you share the cost of rent, but you can also share the cost of major utilities and internet costs. That can result in major savings for your wallet!
Save hundreds of dollars a month on rent by getting a roommate.
6. Ask Around on Social Media
Finding an apartment with reasonable rent is a feat to do on your own, so why not enlist the help of your closest buddies by using social media? It never hurts to ask around when searching for a place to rent.
Not only could you find someone you know looking for a roommate, but you can also find people in your circle who can recommend places that may not be listed on major sites. For example, maybe someone in town is renting a furnished space above their garage?
Check out community sites like Nextdoor, as well, to see if anyone knows of any rentals. You may find that these places are cheaper than large apartment complexes, and you may even be able to negotiate chores or repairs for reduced rent as well. It never hurts to ask!
7. Pass on the Amenities
Apartment rentals have come a long way in the past ten years, and the amenities now are pretty awesome. In fact, offering up things like dog parks, pools, and even childcare centers help make each property more competitive.
But when you’re trying to save money on rent, you have to ask yourself if you really need those amenities? You may find that passing up on places with so much to offer will allow you to shave a few hundred dollars from your rent.
Take a look at what is being offered from place to place and even use it as a bargaining chip to negotiate down the price on one that is similarly priced to the fancy ones. Try to stick to the bare minimums when choosing an apartment.
8. Look for a Smaller Space
Elbow room is a nice commodity when it comes to living spaces. And, when you first choose a spot, it’s easy to go overboard with how much room you think you’ll really need. Ask yourself if you can make do in a smaller space.
If you feel you have to choose a bigger place just for all of your stuff, it may be time to scale it down a bit. Instead of having a craft table and a desk, see if a table that can be used for multiple purposes will do the trick.
You may be surprised to see how much money you can save on rent, just by shaving off 100 square feet!
9. Don’t Use a Real Estate Agent
When shopping around for apartments or houses to rent, it may be tempting to call a real estate agent, tell them what you’re looking for, and let them do the work for you. However, that will definitely cost you. Agents don’t work for free!
Not only do you have to pay the agent but they may try to push specific listings, even if it’s outside of your budget. This can hurt you, for sure. To save money on rent, trust your own search capabilities, and enlist a few friends to help out.
Offer a pizza or case of beer to the friend that lands you the best deal! In any case, you’re likely to help your wallet out a bit more by staying away from paid services when it comes to house (or apartment) hunting.
10. Rent an Unfurnished Place
When it comes to those pictures, man, do furnished apartments and homes look nice! But, furnished rentals are more expensive because of the cost and insurance of the furniture. Do you really want to pay more money per month for someone else’s furniture?
Even if you’re hard up for money and think baking it into your rental will help, you are better off finding cheap thrift store pieces or even borrowing furniture from friends and family. Heck, use coupons to find some great deals on furniture while you’re at it.
Don’t get sucked into furnished rentals. Save money on rent by bringing your own furniture!
11. Take Care of Your Rental
When renting an apartment or house, it’s easy to think, “eh, it’s not mine – who cares?” when the drywall gets a dent or the fan breaks. However, that can cost you. Deposits are intended to cover damages, but there’s no need to throw that money away due to carelessness.
Take great care of your rental while you’re there to not only get your deposit back but also to make sure the landlord doesn’t carry any grievances that can hurt you going forward. Make sure you are gentle on appliances and clean stains and smudges as soon as they happen.
12. Negotiate Upfront on Rent Price
If you’re ever going to negotiate, doing so upfront is the time to do it! When looking at places to rent, take note of the things that may not be in the owner’s favor and use it as a bargaining chip when discussing rent.
If the place you’re looking to rent is close in cost to a newer place with more amenities, try to reduce your price. You can also negotiate a longer contract at a reduced rate, which your landlord may bite on. This is a great way to save on rent!
13. Don’t Include Utilities in your Rent
Just like furniture, some places will offer a flat rate for utilities that are baked into the rent. This is something to be careful of. In the event your landlord doesn’t pay the utility company, guess who no longer has electricity or water?
Also, what’s to say you can’t save money on electricity or water on your own? You may quickly find that more months than not you would be paying more to have the landlord set the rate. To save money on rent, do not include utilities in your lease agreement!
14. Take your Time and Shop Around
When looking for a rental, try to avoid a last-minute rush. If you have to find a place quickly, this often means you’re going to pay more, especially if you’ve made the mistake of telling your future landlord. Take your time and start looking months ahead, if possible.
This means you can also price compare, as well as check out amenities. Plus, you can do more tours of the rental and use this time to negotiate as well. You can save a ton of money on rent by preparing well ahead of time and doing a thorough evaluation.
15. Sign a Lease in the Winter
I don’t know about you, but in the middle of winter, my idea of a good time is not exactly going outside in the elements and looking for apartments. Apartment complexes and rental companies know this and it’s a great time for you to take advantage of your rental power!
You may also find that rentals are offered with a first month discount or bonus of sorts in the winter months, as they struggle to attract new renters. Grab a coat and save money on your rent by signing in the winter months!
16. Pay Upfront
One negotiating tactic you may have is to pay upfront for your lease. This, of course, depends on your financial situation, but you may find that you can significantly reduce the cost of rent by offering a bigger chunk upfront.
Negotiate on your lease to see if they will reduce the monthly rate if you can pay more upfront or if you’re willing to pay quarterly, instead of monthly. This works out great for your landlord because they know they have the money ahead of time.
Save money on rent by getting creative with how you pay.
17. Rent Pet Free
I know this may not be the most popular tip I’ve ever given, but hear me out on this one! It’s important to consider how renting without a pet can help you save money on rent. The cost of renting with a pet really adds up fast.
Not only do you have to pay a pet deposit (sometimes non-refundable), but now places will even charge monthly rent for the actual animal, and it doesn’t get any cheaper if you have two. This can run you hundreds of dollars each month!
Instead of owning a pet, contact your local humane society or animal shelter to see about spending time with animals in need, or even look at a nearby cat cafe. You can even get a side gig pet sitting as a way to get cuddles in with a furry friend!
To really save money on rent, find other ways to bond with animals besides renting with one.
FAQs for How to Save Money on Rent
What is a guaranteed way to save money on rent?
Negotiating with your landlord, finding a place outside of expensive areas, and getting a roommate are all guaranteed ways to save money on rent.
How can I lower my monthly rent?
Landlords will happily negotiate with you when you offer more money upfront or sign an extended lease for longer than a year.
How do I negotiate with my landlord to lower my rent?
You can negotiate by being honest – tell your landlord if finances are difficult for you due to extenuating circumstances, and that you would really like to continue your relationship. More than likely, they’ll work with you to figure something out that saves you a bit of money!
Should I rent or own a home?
Renting a home or apartment can be a better choice than owning a home if you plan on moving around a lot or have a lot of debt to pay that can be taken care of more quickly when you rent somewhere with a roommate.
When you’re considering how to save money on rent, you have many actions to consider so that you can keep more of what you earn! Rent doesn’t have to control your finances when you take steps to reduce your monthly spending and use it wisely.