Where People Are Cutting Back To Afford Rent

Single parent struggling with debt.
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Rent costs are on the rise across the United States. Key findings in a GOBankingRates rent survey reveal that 52% of American renters are seeing their rent increase

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In order to combat the rising cost of rent, current renters are budgeting for the extra expense. Here’s where people are cutting back financially to afford rent.

Rent Increasing? Two Popular Ways To Budget

Rather than move or seek out roommates, 18% of renters plan to work a side hustle or another job for extra income. Meanwhile, 19% of renters will cut back on discretionary spending. 

Cutting back on discretionary spending is an overall good budgeting practice, especially if you need to set aside a little more money for rent each month. Rachel Stults, managing editor at Realtor.com, recommends starting by taking a look at your daily habits. Ask yourself questions like these to see where you can curb costs.

  • Daily coffee. Instead of paying $6 each day for a pumpkin spice latte, Stults said to consider making coffee at home. 
  • Takeout. Are you ordering takeout multiple times a week? Utilize a budget-friendly cooking blog or YouTube channel to cook more meals in and even duplicate some of your favorite orders out for less.
  • Streaming services. Do you subscribe to several streaming services for TV, music and movies? See which ones you can unsubscribe from or opt for a free or slightly less expensive version with ads. 
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“Look at where you can realistically cut back without making yourself miserable. You’ll be surprised at how much the little things add up,” Stults said.

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More Strategies When Rent Increases

If your rent increase is significant and cutting back on discretionary expenses or working a side gig isn’t enough to break even, try these approaches to save money.

Try To Negotiate

Stults said renters should ask if there’s any wiggle room on the monthly rent. They might have even more success if they inquire about incentives, such as six weeks’ free rent or three months’ of free parking.

“Landlords typically don’t want to lower the market value of their properties, but might be more inclined to offer one-time concessions–which brings the cost of your rent down overall,” Stults said.

Suggest a Longer Lease Term

Not planning on moving anytime soon? Now might be the perfect time to revisit your lease and its terms. If you have a 12-month lease, consider stretching out the terms for longer periods of time like 18 months or even 24 months.

Many landlords may be willing to give renters a financial break if they sign for a longer lease term. This is especially true of current renters who are great tenants as it keeps landlords from dealing with frequent turnover in their properties.

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Pay Rent With a Cash-Back Credit Card

This option may or may not work for a renter, but it is worth exploring to learn more. 

Renters may be able to save money on rent by paying with a credit card that allows them to earn either cash back or rewards converted to usable benefits. 

Be careful when considering this option. “Some rental payment systems will charge an additional fee for paying with a credit card, so you’ll want to read the fine print,” Stults said. “You’ll also have to commit to paying off your credit card balance in full every month, otherwise you’ll likely be charged interest — and this defeats the purpose.”

Ask If the Rent Increase Can Be Delayed

If your rent is significantly increasing, but you have a salary increase or raise coming up that will help cover it, Stults said it’s worth asking your property manager or landlord if they’d consider delaying it by a few months or even exploring the possibility of getting on some sort of payment plan.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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