First, just why has rent increased so much over the last few years?
It hasn’t increased dramatically in all markets, but in many areas, renters are feeling the squeeze and the reason is simple. It all comes down to supply and demand. The demand is greater than the supply of housing, so rents have increased and to deal with it, you might need to get creative. Here are some ideas.
1) Rent A Room For Extra Money
One simple way to make a few extra dollars is to rent out a room. If you have a 3 bedroom home but are only using two of the bedrooms, why not make some extra money and rent one out? Just how much you can make for such an arrangement will vary from location to location. In many areas of the country, you can make an easy 500 to 900 dollars a month. This generally includes all bills paid, so take those added costs into account.
If you choose to go this route, do use caution about who you allow into your home. Ask for references and go to the expense of doing a background check. Your safety is more important than saving a few dollars by just accepting anyone.
2) Downsize To A Smaller Place
What if you have some extra room but you do not want to rent it out? Downsizing and getting rid of that extra space might be the next best solution.
Downsizing to a smaller place could save you hundreds of dollars in rent and having a smaller space will also save you money in related expenses. Utilities will be cheaper, maintenance costs will be less and you might even save some cash on renters insurance. Do the number crunching and see if the cost of moving is worth the potential rent savings.
3) Control Related Costs
Speaking of related expenses, you can also try to keep your current place and cut your related costs. If your utility companies are deregulated, this could be as simple as looking for a company with a better rate. Not deregulated? Look into ways to save energy like running the washing machine on cold and adjusting the thermostat smartly.
If you pay for services like house cleaning and lawn care, consider shopping around for a better rate. In a rough economy, many companies are looking for work and may offer you a great introductory rate to earn your business. Just watch out for future price hikes.
4) Combine Households
If your rent costs have reached a critical place, you probably have friends or relatives that are in the same boat. Combining households could effectively cut your rent payment and utilities in half.
Obviously, this is an extreme step but if you are in dire times, sharing a home is much better than not having one at all. Just be careful who you pick to live with and make sure that all parties set down some ground rules that go far beyond who is paying for what. Cleaning duties, rights to usage of common areas and guest privileges need to be discussed, among other things of course.
If you go this route, leave no detail unspoken and get it all in writing. Even if you choose to live with a very close friend or relative, getting it in writing is key.
5) Get A Side Gig
There is no shortage of work at the moment. In fact, nearly every large company is hiring in some form or another and they are paying more than ever.
Even working one part time 5 hour shift could be the answer to your money problems. That would be 20 hours of part time work a month and given the abundance of part time jobs paying $15 an hour or more, that could be the $300 that you need for rent.
If shift work is not your thing, there are still plenty of opportunities out there. Drive for Uber or Lyft, resell items from Craigslist or start your own side business. Possibilities are endless for those willing to get creative.
6) Change Cities
Lastly, consider changing cities entirely. Even in areas that are hot, there may be neighboring cities where rent prices have not blown up as tremendously. Just be sure to weigh the rent savings against the possible extra driving that you might have to do.
You can also take a radical approach and move to another state altogether. Not every region in the country has seen explosive changes in rent prices and if you work remote or would consider changing jobs, this might be a viable option to save on the money you need to pay rent and other bills.
It could be the best decision you ever made. Sometimes extreme situations force you to make moves that benefit you more than you can ever imagine.