Renters are spending more of their salary on rent than ever before. The exact percentage does vary according to which report you to read. But it's safe to say many tenants are spending around 50% of their salary on paying the rent. In London, this can climb to over 60%. Among younger renters, those figures could be even higher.
All this may be old news if you're a tenant yourself. And unfortunately, there's not a great deal you can do about the amount of rent you pay at the moment. But there are ways you can save money now and, in the future, to make those rent payments more affordable. In this article, we'll suggest some ways to cut costs and save money. And every little help. Especially if you have an expensive rent to find every month. Or paying the rent leaves you with little disposable income.
So, here's our top 5 money saving tips for renters.
Before you move into your new rental
Choosing the best rental at the right price can save you money in the long run. Before signing your next tenancy agreement, here are a few things to consider:
1. Choose the right location
OK, that's pretty obvious but bear with me. Think beyond the desirability of the neighbourhood. Look at transport links. Is the rental close to rail or bus routes? Cutting down on transport costs is one way you can save money every day. Even better, is the property close enough to your work or college that you can walk or cycle?
But do weigh up the transport costs against the rent. For example, if you work in a city centre renting a place near work will remove transport costs completely. On the face of it, this will save you money. However, you may find renting a place in the suburbs is cheaper even when you add in the cost of transport to work every day. So, although the location is important to try to think of other costs before making your final decision.
2. Take your time
It's always tempting to snatch the keys to the first rental you see. But try to take your time. View a number of properties before deciding which is right for you. Yes, there's a risk you may miss out. But if you see two or three properties you really like you can make your final decision purely on cost. You can guarantee if you choose the first property you see a superior one at a lower rent will crop up the next day. And, of course, all tenants can save money by not paying banned fees.
Once you've moved into the new place you need to look at saving money on your regular expenses. Here are some money hacks to save some cash and make that monthly rent payment a little easier to find.
3. Find a roommate
Full disclosure here. Finding a roommate to share the rent isn't always possible. Not because there aren't people out there looking to share. But moving in a roommate is sub-letting. And some landlords won’t allow this. However, if there are no such restrictions in your tenancy agreement finding a roommate is a great way to make the rent more affordable. You're effectively cutting your costs by half. This is why more and more young professionals, in particular, are doing this. If you do go down this route make sure you do your due diligence before your roommate moves in. The last thing you need is for someone to come in and cause problems.
4. Cancel those subscriptions
This won't be popular. But do you really need Sky? And what about Netflix? And those music streaming subscriptions? The gym you go to every couple of months - if you have the time? If you look at your regular outgoings, I guarantee there are things you pay for every month you hardly use. Or simply don't need. Be ruthless. Cut back. There's only so much TV you can watch anyway. And who needs the gym? Run outdoors or come up with your own home exercise regime. You'll feel better and save pounds.
5. Food prep really saves
Food prep is a hot topic. If you haven't heard of it it's a pretty simple idea. You prepare all your meals a week or even a month in advance. The key is buying ingredients in bulk and preparing two or three meals at a time instead of just one. Instead of preparing one portion of chicken curry to do four. Put one in the fridge and three in the freezer. You’ll find you have slashed the cost of each meal.
Repeat this for a number of dishes and you'll have food prepared for weeks in advance. The difference this makes to your grocery shopping bill is incredible. If you're not convinced or are struggling for ideas google 'food prep' and check out Pinterest.
Bonus money hacks
Here are a few more quickfire money saving tips for tenants:
When possible always walk instead of driving or taking public transport.
Do your grocery shopping online. This way special offers and impulse buys won’t distract you.
Forget the latte. Vow never again to go into a high street coffee shop. Take a flask instead.
Don't leave the heating on when you're not at home. Sounds obvious but people often forget.
Finally, without wishing to sound like your parents - always turn the lights off when you leave a room. It only saves pennies but it all adds up.
Tenants can find their ideal property faster with MakeUrMove the online letting platform bringing landlords and tenants together.