Do you click on money-saving real estate articles only to find that everything is geared toward homeowners? This time, dear renter, your clicking has paid off, as every single tip in this article is especially for you.
Aside from choosing the right renters insurance company (refer to our list of best renters insurance companies to help you find the right policy for you), there are many ways to save money when renting. From cutting down on heating costs to protecting your security deposit, check out these top money-saving tips to help you lower your expenses as a tenant.
8 Tips to Help Renters Save Money
Insulate Your Windows
We’re headed into chilly weather, and with that comes the challenge of staying warm in a rental unit which may be poorly insulated. However, the cost of a window insulation kit is very affordable. Just look at this two-pack from Home Depot for less than $7 that promises to “keep warm air in and cold drafts out.”
But if you don’t want to spend $3.50 per window, you might try this trick which requires nothing more than bubble wrap and water.
Create a Container Garden
Don’t let your apartment dwelling status keep you from realizing your dreams of urban farming. Many foods can be grown in containers and not just Pinterest-worthy ceramic vessels: You can use any food-grade bucket to grow edibles.
And those polyethylene dishpans they sell at Dollar Tree? Also food grade! This Better Homes & Gardens article spells out the specifics of container gardening and details which vegetables grow best in this manner. So make room on your balcony and save some money on your produce!
Cover Ugly Countertops With Contact Paper
You can’t usually make permanent decor changes when you’re a renter, but there are a number of temporary hacks that can help align your aesthetic with the reality of living in someone else’s property. This decor-savvy tenant achieved impressive results with nothing more than a roll of marble printed contact paper to cover her ugly green bathroom counters. And the best part is that it was easy to peel off when it was time to move.
Not every housing market allows you to be picky, but for those who can choose a specific rental unit, keep these three things in mind:
- Prioritize rentals that are within walking distance of public transportation.
- Choose a center unit. By having neighbors to the sides, above and below, you’ll lower your heating and cooling costs.
- Avoid basement apartments: They have a higher incidence of mold and dampness issues.
Switch to LED Bulbs
The price of LED bulbs has dropped drastically in recent years, and many local utility companies offer rebates or discounts for purchasing new LED lighting. This website even has an energy savings calculator to help tally “the real value of switching to energy-efficient bulbs.”
Air Dry Your Laundry
You may be banned from setting up a clothesline in a public area, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use an indoor clothes rack. I’m a fan of the sturdy $14.99 Ikea Frost rack, which folds away into almost nothing. But if you live in one of the 19 states or multiple communities with ‘Right to Dry’ legislation, you might even be able to set up a full-size clothesline.
Protect Your Deposit
Make sure to do a walk-through before you rent any property, and make note of any existing damage. Note that information on your lease and also document it with your camera. It’s always a good idea to communicate with your landlord about any issues that arise and keep a log of that communication so you can refer to it if there are any questions when you move out. You probably won’t need all this, but you’ll never regret being thorough.
Make Yourself Useful
If you’re handy and have a good relationship with your landlord, you might be able to do upkeep in exchange for a break in the rent. Whether you have handy-person skills or are blessed with a green thumb, it’s worth exploring in the name of saving some money.
Being a renter doesn’t mean that there aren’t tricks to lower your expenses. The property may not belong to you, but there are still multiple ways to save money as a tenant.