Are You Renting? How to Lower Your Housing Costs Without Moving
The end of your lease is just around the corner. And, so is another rent increase. You're not alone if you're wondering how to keep housing costs down without moving – again. With housing being the largest expense in most households, achieving other financial goals becomes more difficult each time you sign a new lease agreement. Fortunately, you can reduce your those costs without packing a single box. Here's how.
Negotiate Your Rent Increase
If you have a history of making rent payments on time, then you might negotiate with your landlord. Usually, it costs less to keep a tenant who pays their bills on time than it does to advertise for a new one. You may convince your landlord that accepting a smaller rent increase is less costly than taking on a risky new tenant.
Committing to a longer leasing period could also help you avoid a higher housing payment. Contact your landlord and discuss your options before you sign your next lease agreement.
Get a Roommate
Split the cost of living in your space with another person. A roommate who can pay half of the rent and utilities could help you keep more money in your bank account. But before you hand over duplicate keys to someone you don't know, do your research. While your landlord may only require their name to appear on the lease agreement as an occupant, you may want to have them sign as a second tenant. The latter helps ensure you're both legally responsible for rent, potential damages, or other costs of leasing the unit.
Raise Your Insurance Deductible
A higher deductible usually means lower annual renters insurance premiums. This could result in an immediate drop in housing costs since your monthly payments will also decrease. But before you make the change, ensure you have money set aside to cover the higher out-of-pocket expenses you’ll pay if you file a claim.
Assist the Property Manager Or Landlord
Offer to help with basic property management tasks in exchange for a rent reduction. You don't need to be a licensed plumber or take an HVAC course to be of value to your landlord. Landscaping the property, showing empty units, or helping with advertising may only require a few hours a month but could knock a significant chunk off your rent payment. It could be an attractive arrangement for a landlord who only needs a little help.
Reduce Utility Costs
Slightly changing your utility consumption could add up to big savings. Start by:
- Using automatic light dimmers or timers in addition to programmable thermostats
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with light emitting diodes (LEDs) which use at least 75% less energy
- Relying less on your furnace and A/C unit and turning on portable appliances like fans and small heaters
- Plugging devices and appliances into a power strip to reduce phantom power use, energy that's pulled from outlets despite electronics being turned off
Spend an afternoon exploring other ways to save money on housing costs based on your unique circumstances. The time it takes to review your situation and identify areas of opportunity could do more than keep housing costs down. It could get you back on track to achieving your financial goals.