13 tips to save money while renting

By 

Lighthouse

Updated

June 23, 2022

13 tips to save money while renting

Most of us are on a never-ending mission to grow our savings account. When renting, most of our budget gets eaten by the monthly cost of rent, making it harder to save. 

We're here to help you make this goal happen. 

Below we'll go into depth about some tips and tricks to follow so that you reach your savings goal without getting into extreme budgeting. 

Here's an overview of what we'll be covering in this article. 

Tip 1: Find a Roommate

Tip 2: Save on Utilities

Tip 3: Consider Living in a Cheaper Location

Tip 4: Move Into a Rental Unit That Offers Cashback

Tip 5: Negotiate Your Lease 

Tip 6: Consider Renting a Smaller Unit or Room

Tip 7: Earn With Referral Rewards

Tip 8: Move In During the Winter

Tip 9: Cut Unnecessary Costs

Tip 10: Cook At Home

Tip 11: Don’t Pay Rent Using Your Credit Card

Tip 12: Save With a Private Rental

Tip 13: Don’t Damage Your Unit To Get Your Security Deposit Back

Let’s get into it!

1. Find a Roommate

Adding a roommate to your living situation is probably the easiest way to save money. Its been concluded that having a roommate can save you anywhere from $200 to $1,100 per month. On the lower end, you could still save up to $2,400 per year if you choose to live with someone. 

Having a roommate doesn't just mean saving on rent. You can also save on utilities, services, groceries, or other miscellaneous expenses. If you're fortunate, they'll also split chores with you and keep you company. 

Finding roommates is also relatively uncomplicated. You can essentially live with just about anyone- friends, relatives, partners, or even random people. Many platforms allow you to search or advertise for roommates, whether that's on social media or rental service websites. 

2. Save on Utilities

Cutting down on utility usage is a simple way to save a few bucks every month. 

Turn off any lights or the tap when it's not in use. Unplugging any appliances or electronics that passively use energy can also help save on your electricity bill. 

Some more obvious ones are to watch less TV or do only one load of laundry per week. Switching regular light bulbs for LED bulbs will also make a huge difference in your electricity consumption. 

3. Consider Living in a Cheaper Location

Metropolitan areas have never seen higher rent prices. Rent growth rates are skyrocketing, with some cities seeing a yearly increase of as much as 24.80% in rent prices. 

It may be common sense, but living in the suburbs or the outskirts of an expensive city can save you a substantial amount of money. Forbes reported that the national rent average was $1,848 in urban areas, while in suburban areas it was $1,269. That's over a 30% decrease in rent prices. 

If you don't mind lifestyle changes or longer commutes, living in the suburbs can be very advantageous in your savings journey. 

4. Move Into a Rental Unit That Offers Cashback

Nothing is better than earning cashback on your regular purchases. Why does rent have to be any different? Up and coming companies are innovating the rental space by partnering with property management groups to give cashback to prospective tenants. 

The way these programs work is by connecting property managers to new tenants. For every newly signed lease, new renters can earn over $700 in cash back. Additionally, you don't pay application fees. These apartment buildings actually pay you to fill their empty units or pay your rent on time. 

Saving for a big milestone or paying off debt can be overwhelming, so companies such as Lighthouse make this possible with their cashback program. 

It's a mutually beneficial relationship- tenants pay a fair price for rent with no extra charges while property managers get their units rented out!

5. Negotiate Your Lease

So, your lease is coming to an end, and you want to renew it. This is the perfect opportunity to negotiate your rent price. 

After a year, your landlord will know what kind of tenant you are. They will have a good understanding of your cleanliness or noise levels or whether you make on-time rent payments.  

It's a common occurrence that landlords increase the rent after a year. If you know you're a good tenant, use that to your advantage to negotiate your rent price. 

Knowing that they could benefit from having a good tenant in their rental unit for an additional year might incline them to lower or keep the rent price the same.  

On the other hand, you can also try negotiating the rent price as a brand new tenant. This is a harder feat, so you'll have more luck doing so if you have direct contact with the landlord and if you sign a lease during a non-competitive season. 

6. Consider Renting a Smaller Unit or Room 

Many rental units divide the rent cost by room size. Larger bedrooms mean paying higher rent. Some rooms also come with walk-in closets or balconies, increasing their rent price.

If you don't mind skipping out on space or additional bedroom features, consider moving into the smallest bedroom of the property. 

Smaller apartments work the same way. Opt for a more small-scale unit if you want to save a few hundred dollars in rent over the year.

7. Earn With Referral Rewards

The majority of property management corporations are always looking to fill their rental units. As a way to mediate this concern, many buildings will offer referral programs for existing tenants. 

The process begins when you refer a prospective tenant to your rental building. If they sign a lease, the property managers reward you with a cash bonus or a discount on amenities or rent. 

8. Move-In During the Winter

It's no secret that signing a lease during the winter months is more affordable. Many people prefer not to move during this season as many places are cold or have bad weather. 

Rental vacancy rates commonly go up as demand and competition go down during the winter. Due to this fact, landlords decrease rent prices to appeal to new tenants. 

Between January to March, rent prices are at their lowest. Data shows that rent prices in the winter for a 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom unit decrease between 2.0%-4.7% and 1.6%-7.1%, respectively. Additionally, the lower demand means that landlords will more openly negotiate discounts. 

9. Cut Unnecessary Costs

Nowadays, entertainment and social media make it easy to spend money. Your savings account will exponentially grow when you start cutting some unnecessary costs. 

Unnecessary costs will be anything that falls under your 'Wants' category. They are expenses that you don't need but appreciate having.

Here's a list of some expenses you can cut to save money. 

  • Entertainment
  • Travel
  • Memberships/ Subscriptions 
  • Premium Items
  • Cable 
  • Dining Out/ Coffeehouse Drinks 
  • Shopping
  • Miscellaneous Purchases

Indulging in 'Wants' purchases is healthy once in a while as it maintains sustainability in our budget spending. However, eliminating most of this budget will do wonders for your savings.

10. Cook At Home

Spending money on take-out or delivery has become the new norm. Since it's become so easy to order food, that also means that take-out can quickly eat up your budget. 

Buying your groceries to cook at home is the best way to save money. Studies show that the average cost of fast food is $13 a meal. If you're ordering it for delivery, this value doesn't include delivery or service fees. However, the cost of a homemade meal averages at $4. 

You save almost 70% of the cost of a take-out meal if you choose to cook at home. Saving money doesn't get any easier than that!

11. Don’t Pay Rent Using Your Credit Card

Nowadays, most credit cards offer some form of cashback in cash, points, or miles. That being said, many people think that paying rent with a credit card is advantageous. 

To start, some buildings won't even accept rent payments through credit cards. Larger property management groups typically accept all forms of payment but many smaller landlords will only accept cheques, cash, or transfers.  

If your landlord does accept credit, you may have to pay hefty processing fees. Most fees average at 2.59% to 2.90% of the payment total and are usually higher than cashback reward rates. When you do the math, you see that that's an extra $311 to $348 per year for every $1000 of rent. This alone makes paying the rent with a credit card not worth it. 

12. Save With a Private Rental

There are many private landlords and individual families that rent out units. Unlike property management groups that rent out units in apartment complexes, private landlords will rent out private apartments, guest homes, or even rooms. 

Renting with a private landlord usually gives you some leeway. Since they're not a corporation, many don't charge application or deposit fees. 

Additionally, they are more lenient. Many may overlook prior eviction history or check your background and credit. Private landlords may also be more open to leasing negotiations. 

13. Don’t Damage Your Unit To Get Your Security Deposit Back 

Security deposits are typically one month's worth of rent. Considering that evens out to a couple of hundred dollars, it wouldn't be in your best interest to lose it. 

Throughout your tenancy, make sure you don't damage the walls, floors, or appliances. Many people paint or put up items on the walls using nails, consequently leaving holes in them. Heavy furniture or spilled water also commonly damage the floors. 

Keep the unit in pristine condition and leave it in its original condition when you move out to receive your security deposit in full. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different avenues to save money, even when renting. 

What was your favorite money-saving tip? Do you have any other tips or tricks to save money while renting?

Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!  

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