Sometimes, renting ain’t easy. From persnickety landlords to nosy neighbors, you can run into a number of issues between signing your lease and hightailing it 12 months later to the next (and hopefully better) place to call home.
Not all renter woes come with simple solutions, but you can take action to ease some headaches. If any of these problems crop up during your lease, use our tips to solve them — and maybe even save yourself some money while you’re at it.
1. Start with the basics and insure your stuff
Lest you come home and find a turkey has smashed through your patio window — which, yes, is a thing that actually happened to a client of Sophia Bera, a financial planner in Minneapolis — protect yourself (and your stuff) with renter’s insurance.
Renter’s insurance is extremely affordable, costing about $10 to $30 per month. So the next time something out of your control damages your possessions, you’ll already have that money headache solved.
Even if you don’t have wild turkeys to worry about, there’s still that upstairs neighbor who somehow manages to flood their bathroom, sending water streaming down your walls every few months. Better to be prepared than left footing the bill for replacing your towels, toiletries, and bathroom accessories.
2. Speak up!
Dying to rent a particular apartment but not crazy about the expensive lease? Speak up and ask about options to lower the cost.
Will rent go down if you agree to stay longer? Can the landlord waive any fees?
You won’t know unless you start a discussion and ask about what’s available.
You can also prevent a money headache or two by ensuring you understand the lease before you sign it. Knowing, and especially following, all the rules in the lease will save you in fees or other costs associated with not complying.
3. Find more space (without paying for it)
Sometimes there’s just not enough space for your things. Before you go and splurge on an expensive garage unit in addition to your monthly rent, solve this problem and save some cash by either getting creative with your space or embracing your inner minimalist.
When you start organizing what you have, it becomes easier to track and manage. This in itself might save you money, even if you do have room for all your clutter.
When you can easily find what you need, you won’t constantly be going to the store to buy more of what you already had (and just didn’t know where to find it).
If you’re ready to say goodbye to clutter once and for all, you’ll save money by needing less space to keep your stuff in. Think less square footage, less monthly rent. Minimalism might not be right for everyone, but there are other positive benefits beyond just saving money to consider before dismissing the idea entirely.
Plus, minimalists have a slim-to-none chance of seeing their things picked over on an episode of Storage Wars after they failed to pay the monthly fee on their unit.
4. Stop “throwing money away”
Is your main motivation for renting that you can’t afford a home? You might feel like you’re throwing your money away each month on rent — but it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can make a change right now to solve this renter money headache. Create a financial plan with action steps you can follow to save up for a down payment on a home.
Start by cutting costs and eliminating expenses, and then evaluate how you can earn more money. (Good places to start: negotiate for a raise at your current position or establish a side gig to boost your income.)
It takes time and dedication to solve this money woe, but with a little effort, you can reach your homeownership goal.
What renter money headaches have you encountered (or solved)? Share your lessons learned in the comments!