No matter where you live, rent is typically the largest part of your budget, and here in the United States, the average renter spends thirty-five percent of his or her gross income per year on rent alone, in addition to utilities. This can make payday significantly less exciting – all it takes to go from “I’m rich!” to “… and it’s gone” is one well timed rent check.
Let’s keep a little more of that hard-earned money in your pocket, shall we?
Channel The Donald and Negotiate
Do not sign a new lease or renew your current one without first talking to your landlord and attempting to negotiate. Often if you are willing to sign a longer lease, the landlord will reduce your rent or – in lieu of that - include a utility, which is almost as good as a discount on rent.
The One Where You Get Some Roommates
The single best way to save money on rent is to live with a roommate or two. Ever wonder how Monica and Rachel could afford that huge two-bedroom apartment in New York? TV magic, of course (and rent control, claim the showrunners). However, that’s not to say the same thing can’t be approximated in the real world that the rest of us inhabit. Hundreds of websites and traditional classified ads can help you find roommates, almost all of whom are not serial killers, and living with roommates can often reduce your rent by over half.
Let the Landlord Pay YOU
Let’s face it – rental properties, even the hottest ones, have a pretty high turnover rate (people move in and out often). To keep their rent roles full, landlords will almost always give you something – in some cases even a whole month free – if you convince friends and family who need a place to live to bring their vibrant personalities (and pocketbooks) to the community you live in.
HGTV Ain't Got Nothing on You
Your rent payment may prevent you from living like a Kardashian, but you can still deck out your place with chic do-it-yourself decorating – and as an added bonus, you don’t have to decorate with cameras in your face 24/7. Rather than spending money on pricey wall art, instead grab your digital camera and take a picture of your favorite tree or pond in the park. Channel your inner “Design on a Dime” - for a small fee you can get it printed and framed on a large scale canvas for an artful addition to your home. Need some more inspiration? Pinterest and Etsy can absolutely devour an otherwise well-scheduled weekend and turn it into a DIY-decorating explosion, and all for less than the cost of that same “Paris” poster every twenty-something girl has hung over her bed.
Is It All About the Benjamins? Nah – It’s All About the Amenities!
Nothing says “you've made it” like sunning your golden curves by the pool after a punishing workout – and just like Kim and Kanye, you've likely got a gym and pool on property. In lieu of pricey gym memberships and public pools, make use of the luxury you already pay for. This not only saves you money, but it’s also incredibly convenient – it’s a lot easier to get motivated when all you have to do is walk a few yards to your clubhouse, rather than jump in your car and fight through traffic.
You may not be a celebrity yet (if you are… can I have your autograph?) but these tips – combined with a little common sense and effort – can help you shave some zeroes off of your monthly expenses and keep more of your hard-earned cash where it belongs: in your pocket.
One day, when you are famous and fabulously wealthy, you’ll look back and remember how this article helped you stay afloat back when you were one of the “little people” - all I ask in return is a Lamborghini. Yellow, please.