How to save money on rent

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By 

Lighthouse

Updated

June 23, 2022

How to save money on rent

How to save money on rent

Many of us all have that same goal in life- have enough money to buy a fancy sports car. Of course, we're joking around, but most people do dream of having enough money for something. It could be to grow their savings, for their retirement, or to go on a dream vacation.

But the truth is, it can be challenging to put money aside while paying rent and other bills. That's why we're here to help make this goal happen for you.

Below we'll go into depth about some tips and tricks to follow so that you save money while renting.

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 cash back

Tip 5: Consider renting a smaller unit or room

Tip 6: Move in during the winter

Tip 7: Cut unnecessary costs

Tip 8: Cook at home

Tip 9: Don’t pay rent using your credit card

Tip 10: Get your security deposit back in full

Let’s get into it!

Tip 1: Find a roommate

Getting a good ol' roommate is probably the easiest way to save money while renting. Having roommates can save you anywhere from $200 to $1,100 per month. Even if you're on the lower end of that stat, you could still save up to $2,400 per year if you 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.

The best part is that a roommate can literally be anyone. You can ask friends, relatives, partners, or even random people to live with you.

Tip 2: Save on utilities

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

You can do the following things to save on your utility bills.

▪️ Turn off any lights in the rooms you're not using

▪️ Turn off the tap when it's not in use

▪️ Unplug appliances or electronics when they're not in use (those passively use energy).

▪️ Only do one load of laundry a week.

Another fun tip is switching regular light bulbs to LED bulbs. They'll waste a lot less energy, and they last longer. It's a win-win!

Tip 3: Consider living in a cheaper location

There's no place to live that's more expensive than a large metro area. Some cities have got it so bad, they're seeing yearly rent price increases of as much as 24.80%!

Living in the suburbs or the outskirts of an expensive city can save you a pretty hefty amount of money. While the national rent average was $1,848 in urban areas, suburban areas averaged $1,269. That's over a 30% decrease in rent prices and a lot of room for saving!

If lifestyle changes or longer commutes don't bother you, the suburbs could be your best bet.

Tip 4: Move into a rental unit that offers cash back

Nothing is better than earning cash back on your regular purchases. So, why does rent have to be any different? New companies are innovating the rental space with these services.

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 have to pay application fees. These apartment buildings actually pay you when you fill their empty units and pay your rent on time.

Companies like Lighthouse have been making this service possible. Their mission is to create a mutually beneficial relationship. Tenants find a nice home (and get money in their pockets) while property managers get their units rented out!

Tip 5: 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 other features, move into the smallest bedroom in the apartment.

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

Tip 6: 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 cities get cold or have bad weather.

As such, rental vacancy rates usually go up during the winter. And in a domino effect, landlords decrease rent prices to appeal to more new tenants.

Between January to March, rent prices are at their lowest. The typical price of a 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom unit will decrease between 2.0%-4.7% and 1.6%-7.1%, respectively. Additionally, the lower demand means that landlords will more openly negotiate discounts.

Tip 7: Cut unnecessary costs

Nowadays, entertainment and social media make it real easy to spend money. Yet, the reality is that your savings account can only grow if you cut some of those unnecessary costs.

These types of costs will be anything that fall under your 'Wants' category. They're 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

Making 'Want' purchases, once in a while, is completely healthy (it'll actually help keep you sane). However, getting rid of most of these expenses from your budget will do your savings wonders.  

Tip 8: Cook at home

Getting take-out after a long day has become the new norm. You get a delicious meal at the click of a button- it's just too easy. But that also makes it easy for food to quickly eat up your budget.

Buying 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 (and that doesn't include delivery fees). Yet, 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. If you have the time, it's an easy solution!

Tip 9: Don’t pay rent using a credit card

Most of our credit cards offer some form of cash back in cash, points, or miles. And who doesn't love points, right? For that reason, many would think that paying the rent with a credit card would be a smart move. We're here to tell you no- no, it's not.

Firstly, some buildings won't even accept rent payments through credit cards. Larger property management groups usually do. Yet, private landlords typically only take cheques, cash, or transfers.

If your landlord does accept credit, you'll be stuck paying hefty processing fees. Most fees average at 2.59% to 2.90% of the payment total (which is higher than those cash back reward rates).

We did the math, and that's an extra $311-$348 per year for every $1000 of rent. Sounds like paying the rent with a credit card isn't worth it.

Tip 10: Get your security deposit back in full

Rent security deposits are expensive. About 1 to 3 months' worth of rent expensive. Considering it's a few hundred dollars, it's in your best interest to get that money back.

Throughout your tenancy, make sure you don't damage the walls, floors, or appliances. Many people paint or put up items on their walls with nails, leaving holes in them. Heavy furniture or spilled water also commonly damage the floors. This kind of damage could affect how much of the deposit gets returned to you.

Getting your security deposit back should be easy if you take care of your home. Maintain it in good condition, and it'll be smooth sailing from there.

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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