[HOW TO] Actionable Tips on Saving Money While Renting

Sometimes it can be difficult to save money while you are renting an apartment. A large portion of your paycheck may go to rent, and the rest is probably used to cover other expenses and necessities.

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However, there are different strategies that you can use to set aside some extra cash every month. Whether you want to use these savings to upgrade to a larger space, start an emergency fund, or just splurge on a trip, the time to start saving is now! Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Review Your Financial Accounts

The state of play in the financial world is constantly changing, and one of the best ways to keep up with the times is by doing periodic reviews of your finances.

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Yet, many people form the bad habit of leaving their finances on autopilot. You should always be reviewing the financial health of your investments and looking for more opportunities to move money around for savings.

One of the easiest things you can do is to regularly check-in on the status of your various financial accounts. Banks are constantly changing their services and fees.

Make sure you double-check that you’re not getting charged without your knowledge. And if you want to save even more money, consider switching to a financial institution with no hidden fees. Service fees, minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, and countless others can add up to dozens, if not hundreds of dollars every year.

Start a Side Hustle

If your current income is barely enough to cover your cost of living, and leaving little room for savings, consider starting a side hustle to earn some extra cash. Better yet, choose a gig that you can do right from the comfort of your apartment.

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There are plenty of side hustles that can fit into a flexible schedule, like freelance writing/proofreading, selling your extra clothes online, or tutoring. 

One way to really make sure that you’re maximizing your savings is by making a rule that all of your extra income must be stowed away into some kind of savings account. Of course, you should only do this if you don’t need the income for other expenses, but the point is to avoid spending too much on wants instead of needs. 

Eat-In More Often

When it comes to saving money, it’s the tip you may hear most often, but that’s because it actually works. Cooking meals at home can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year, depending on your current habits. And this doesn’t mean that you need to stop eating out altogether either.

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Even for those who aren’t the most comfortable in the kitchen, just one or two meals a week at home can make a world of difference.

The average annual cost of dining out varies from state to state based on frequency and menu prices. In most states, the average American spends somewhere between $2,000 to $3,000 every year. In states like New York, Alaska, Colorado, it’s even higher! Just imagine how much you could save if you were able to cut this number in half.

Thrift Shopping

Almost anything you need today can be bought secondhand. When most people think of thrift shopping, clothes are probably the first thing that comes to mind—and this is because clothes are a great place to start! Oftentimes, clothing from thrift stores has been barely worn, or never worn at all.

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The best part is that it’s sold for a fraction of the price of something brand new, despite having almost identical quality. 

Buying used isn’t reserved for clothing, either. You could probably buy all of the furniture and appliances you need secondhand, saving you hundreds of dollars.

All it takes is a little bit of research and shopping around to find the best deals. Luckily, there are several platforms for buying secondhand furniture online

Negotiate Your Rent

Some renters may not even consider this as a possibility, but you may be able to negotiate your rent for a lower price. Negotiating rent as a tenant is all about coming to an agreement with your landlord and establishing a mutually advantageous situation. First and foremost, consider doing market research to determine what’s a fair price in your area.

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Once you begin negotiations, it’s all about selling yourself as a great tenant, and giving the landlord incentive to want to cut you a deal. Landlords aren’t always looking for the highest bidder—it’s also important to them that their tenants will be hassle-free and pay their rent on time.

With a good track record and communication skills, you may be able to negotiate your rent to the point of saving hundreds of dollars. Even a reduction of just $50 per month will add up to $600 in savings over the course of a year.

With a little bit of creativity and financial maneuvering, it’s still possible to save money as a renter. Once you find the best strategy for your situation, all it takes is a devotion to putting your extra cash towards savings.