Living on your own gives you freedom and flexibility, but making ends meet might be harder than you anticipated.
On paper, you might earn enough to cover your rent and utilities. But once you factor in other monthly costs, you may soon realize that your money doesn't stretch as far. No worries. Here are seven simple solutions to stop struggling with rent.
Downgrading and moving into a smaller place is one of the best — and most obvious — ways to lower your monthly rent payment. You'll have to wait until your lease expires. Talk to your landlord to see if you can go from a two-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom apartment. If you're renting a house, move into a place with a smaller square footage.
Even if you like the idea of living alone, getting a roommate can lift a huge financial burden off your shoulders, making it easier to pay your rent. With a roommate, you can split all monthly expenses down the middle. You’ll only be responsible for half the rent, half the utilities and half of other shared expenses. This can provide the financial break you need. And with more disposable income, you can build your savings account, pay off debt and maybe take a vacation.
Depending on your cable package, you might pay upwards of $200 a month. If you're struggling to pay your rent, getting rid of cable and using services like Hulu or Netflix can save you money every month. In most cases, you probably don't watch all the channels included in your cable package. Streaming your television shows and movies is much cheaper than paying for cable, plus you get to watch the shows you like on your own schedule.
If you live in a city or metropolitan area with a transit system, getting rid of your car is another effective way to afford rent payments. When you get rid of your car, you also get rid of the car payment, auto insurance and personal property tax. And since you no longer have to buy fuel, your transportation cost will go down as well.
Even if you earn decent money, your salary might not keep up with the current cost of living. Rather than struggle every month, look for ways to supplement your income. Working overtime a couple of hours a week, getting a part-time job or running a side business from your house or apartment might generate enough cash to make ends meet. You can earn an additional $75 a week, or an extra $300 toward rent.
This probably won’t work if you live in an apartment. But if you rent a house from a private landlord, you can discuss your financial problems with him and ask for a reduced rental rate. This isn't a guarantee, and it all depends on how much he needs to make monthly off the property. Still, it's worth a shot. Your landlord might have a little wiggle room.
Getting your own place provides a break from your parents’ rules. However, if you want your independence, but can’t afford an apartment on your own, speak with your parents and propose an arrangement that’s a win-win for both of you. You can rent a room from your parents at an affordable rate, and they agree to give you your freedom and let you live your own life.
Living on your own will have its challenges, and it might take a while to adjust to your new expenses. Understandably, you want to live in a neighborhood that safe and comfortable. But this doesn't mean you should get in over your head.
What are other strategies to keep rent payments affordable?
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