For those of you that rent an apartment, you may look at this as a fixed cost. Meaning, it is what it is and there is no way that you can save in this area. Sure, there are ways that you can impact this cost before you actually move in to a place (shop around for specials, get a roommate, ensure you’re getting the best deal by comparing apartments), but once you’re there, you simply write the check out each month and forget about it.
But I wanted to go into a few areas that you may want to consider that might allow you to save money on rent where you are currently living. And I’d like to think that these are, if not completely original, at least some ideas that are not thought of very often when it comes to trying to save on rent.
I have not lived in an apartment for many years. But back when I did, I know that these ideas worked for me, and although I can’t remember the actual dollar amount of savings, I do remember that every little bit helped.
I think the first idea that comes into people’s minds when they try to save on rent is that they have to move to do it. This is probably true in a lot of cases. But I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes, staying where you currently live is also an option for saving money. Or at least, not spending any more. I lived in my last apartment for a little over four years. It was a one-bedroom and when I first moved in, my monthly rent was $395. When I moved out four year later, guess what my monthly rent was? Yep, $395!
They never once bumped my rent up.
At first, I think it was simply by omission. I would hear that rent was going up, but I just continued to send my same $395 in, and they never said anything. After a few years, this property manager finally called me to alert me of a rent increase. Well, a little sweet talking on my part, and before you know it, I stayed at my $395. Will this exact scenario work for you? Maybe, maybe not. However, the next time your complex tries to hit you with another increase, you may want to offer to sign another lease if they keep you at your current rate (or even try for a lower rate or some freebies thrown in like free cable for a couple months). With the occupancy rates at most complexes today, I would imagine they’d jump at the chance.
Keep in mind, this works for people renting a condo from an owner as well (as opposed to an apartment complex). When your lease is up, don’t be shy and be sure to even ask for a lower rent than you were paying. Especially in this economy, no rental owner wants to risk having a vacant apartment and they want to avoid paying the fees associated with hiring a real estate agent to find a new tenant. A dependable, consistent tenant is an owner’s dream. This strategy even works in a bustling, high-demand city.
Provide a Service
The last apartment complex that I lived in was located in a pretty heavily Hispanic populated area. Approximately 75% of the tenants in my complex were Hispanic. I happen to be in fluent in Spanish. One day at the rental office, I saw the property manager struggling to communicate with one of their Hispanic tenants. Well, I jumped right in and helped out. After that little exchange, I developed a relationship with this manager so that whenever she needed help translating for one of her tenants, I would pop by the office and help out. Each one of these visits gave me a small discount on my monthly rent.
One thing I always remember about living in an apartment was that the property manager was almost always too busy to talk to you and the maintenance “guy” was always overwhelmed with work. This one I never tried personally, but why not ask the property manager if they need any help? I am just talking about running errands, delivering documents and things of that nature. I’d imagine they could find something for you and it would probably translate into a discount on your rent if you help out consistently. Also, if you are of the DIY persuasion, I’d be willing to say your maintenance “guy”’ would love an extra set of hands. For insurance purposes you probably could not do any actual repairs, but I bet this maintenance person would love someone to retrieve tools for him, help him move things, and so on. Again, you could probably work this into getting a little knocked off of your monthly rent check.
Thinking Outside the Box
When thinking about your monthly rent or any other expense in your life that you consider to be fixed (or something that you cannot save money on), you need to start thinking outside of the box. Get creative, dream up some crazy stuff and try it out. You might be surprised at your results.
Do you have a story of how you saved on your monthly rent? Or any other “fixed” expense in your life? Share it with our readers below…