Living in the city offers a lot of benefits, but it could also be an expensive endeavor if you are not careful. If you decide to rent a condo in an urban area, you could end up spending 35% of your gross income on rent, the monthly association dues, and utilities. Plus, you need to consider your daily expenses like transportation, food, and clothing.
Good news! With a bit of planning and discipline, you can save on rent while enjoying the perks of condo living. It’s possible to save money while renting a condo and still save some for the future.
How to Save Money on Rent When You’re Living in a Condo
1. Find a housemate
One of the most obvious ways of reducing your housing budget is to find someone to live with you and split the costs. With the combined income, it will be easier to pay the monthly rent, utility bills, and other living expenses.
If you are single, why not ask a friend or relative to be your housemate? You’ll have to check with the landlord and/or the condo’s property management office about any occupancy rules. Also, make sure it’s clear who is responsible for each expense and how the costs will be divided.
2. Create a budget and stick to it
Since money is not an infinite resource, it’s best to know where it’s supposed to go. A budget lets you assign your income to necessities like rent, utility bills, etc., which need to be paid regularly. Don’t forget to save a part of your income as an emergency fund for unexpected expenses and for the future.
After you’ve made your budget, spend the allocated funds as intended. How do you know where your money is going? Try tracking your expenses for a month, then compare your budget with your actual spending. If you do this regularly, your budget will be more realistic and doable.
3. Negotiate your contract
Consider signing a longer lease in exchange for a lower monthly rent or no rent increase for a certain period. This is a win-win situation since your landlord won’t need to look for a new tenant and they will have a stable source of income for a longer time. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the annual price increase that’s common among condo rentals.
4. Pay bills on time
Rent, monthly association dues, electric bills – some expenses are regular as clockwork. It’s a good idea to pay them on time to avoid late fees. While the penalty may seem small, it adds up in the long run. If you are shopping using your credit card, make sure you have the cash to cover those purchases and pay them off before the due date to avoid the accumulation of interest.
5. Reduce your utility expenses
Cut your electric costs by unplugging unused appliances or using a smart plug to turn them off automatically. Take note that some appliances on standby mode still consume electricity as long as they are plugged into a power source. If left unchecked, this “phantom load” can add up to 10% or more to your total electric bill.
Also, make sure you check your pipes, appliances, and furniture for any damage. You’ll be amazed at how much water is wasted by a dripping faucet. Also, fixing things immediately can prevent a small issue from getting worse.
6. Declutter and DIY your furnishings
Space is expensive in the city, so be selective about the things you bring into your rental condo. If you limit your possessions, you can stay in a smaller, more affordable unit. For added funds, sell your excess things or exchange for items that are a better fit for your space. Bonus: having fewer things means spending less time on cleaning and organizing.
In getting furniture, look for second-hand pieces that you can get at a discount or free of charge. However, you might be better off buying brand-new appliances and electronics as these get worn out with use. You might end up spending more on repairs if you buy a used refrigerator or washing machine.
7. Eat at home
Buying your own ingredients and cooking your meals at home costs less than eating out and having commercially prepared food. Sure, you can go out to dine as a treat every now and again, but if you want to save, make eating at home the default way of having your meals.
8. Compare rental prices in your area
Don’t settle for the first property listing that you find online. To be sure you get the best value for your money, take time to research the available condos and prices in your preferred location.