As a renter, the first of the month can be a time of serious financial struggle. Not only do you have to pay your rent,
you must pay utility bills and other living expenses.
There are ways to avoid the anxiety that comes with writing a rent check. Listed below are 10 ways you can save some money
and better prepare for monthly expenses. You might even end up with enough money left over for a (healthy) splurge.
- Location, Location, Location
- When it comes to
choosing where you want to live,
you have to think about how much you are willing to pay for rent and if you're willing to pay the big bucks
to live in a big city. A small apartment in New York City will probably be a lot more expensive than renting
an equal sized apartment in the Midwest. If you're living in a big city, choose a neighborhood that offers
lower rent. Where you decide to live can have a major impact on your expenses.
- Factor in Commuting Expenses
- Think about how you're going to get around. If you live in a big city, find an apartment
where street parking is easily accessible so you don't have to pay for a garage spot. Rent an apartment that's
close to public transportation to cut down on commuting expenses.
- To save even more money, put on your tennis shoes and walk. Most apartment will be within
walking distance of a grocery store. If not, get a bicycle with a basket and put your groceries inside. You'll be
saving gas and money.
- Talk to Your Landlord about Rent Payment Options
- Some landlords are actually willing to negotiate the amount they're asking for their space.
Also talk to your landlord about paying your rent online. You won't have to deal with late fees because you forgot to mail
your check on time and it makes it easier to coordinate rent payments with your roommates. Speaking of roommates...
- Have Roommates
- It's much cheaper to live with other people. Splitting costs such as rent, utilities,
and furniture/décor for the apartment can ease a lot of your financial stress. Just make sure you find
roommates you get along with!
- Be Smart About Utilities and Energy Savings
- Simply turning off lights and electronics that you are not using, you can save a hefty amount
on your electricity bill each month by making your
apartment more energy efficient. Try it for one month and compare the subsequent bill with the one before it.
You may be very surprised by the results.
- Start Budgeting
- It seems self-explanatory, but budgeting is often a difficult lesson to learn. Especially
for people who have grown accustomed to a life of eating out and buying whatever they please.
- Mint.com has a budget app for iPhone users. Downloading apps for budgeting
is the most effective way to remind yourself to save money. Once it becomes part of your everyday routine, it will
become second nature.
- Take Advantage of Apartment Amenities
- Amenities exist for a reason. They are services and features that are included in your rent;
they're essentially free to use. You don't need a gym membership if your apartment offers a small gym on site. Perhaps
your complex even offers basic cable in your rent. Stick with the basic cable, don't upgrade. Do you really watch that
much TV anyway?
- You can rid yourself of a costly internet bill by using the office computers. You might not get
as much surf-time, but you can significantly reduce your expenditures. Also, there are usually tons of green space and
gathering rooms for hosting parties. This is a great way to save money when you are hosting a birthday party or social
gathering. You offer the party space, they bring the refreshments.
- Get Crafty
- DIY crafting is one of the top trends in 2013. With sites like Pinterest, you can draw inspiration
from nearly anything. Instead of buying new things to decorate your home with, reupholster some old furniture. Buy items
secondhand and refurbish them.
- Even seasonal events that require gift-giving can be turned into a money saving opportunity. Make gifts,
don't buy them. Most of the time, handmade gifts have more of a sentimental meaning.
- Clean House
- Rid yourself of unnecessary items in your apartment. Not only will eliminating clutter help your
stress level, it can add a few dollars to your wallet. Sell your unneeded items on Craigslist, or organize an apartment
"garage sale" with your community.
- Purchase Renter's Insurance
- An inexpensive renter's insurance policy will ensure that your personal property is protected on the cheap, and help you
to ensure that a small problem doesn't become a huge financial crisis for you.
- Renter's insurance usually covers theft, fire or water damage, and may even ensure items that are outside
your apartment, like your bike. A replacement cost policy will buy you a new bike if yours gets stolen.