The common-known rule of renting is that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on rent. However, in places such as Sydney and Melbourne, that can be particularly difficult to stick to. Luckily, some simple frugal tips can help you reduce your current renting costs.
Choose your location carefully
Location is often one of the biggest factors in determining rental prices. So it’s important to choose carefully. There are three main considerations to make when deciding on a location:
- The distance to your work or university
- The distance to public transport routes
- Acceptable daily route time
Understanding the trade-off between proximity to work, rental costs and transport costs and time can be tricky, but here some things to ask yourself when considering a property:
- How much could I save by living a couple of stops further down a train or bus line?
- What’s the dollar-amount trade-off between cheaper rental costs and higher public transport costs? For example, if a studio which is walking distance to your work is $300 a week, and the next best alternative is $200 but would incur transport costs of $75 a week, then the inner city rental is only $25 more expensive in real terms.
Opt for a long-term lease
Here at Snug, we believe that long-term leases with increased renter’s rights based on the term of the lease is the future of renting. Long-term leases provide more security and often work out to be cheaper. For leases of 1-2 years or more, renters should know there’s no harm in asking for slightly cheaper rent, as long-term contracts save the property manager from the often high costs of renter churn.
Share your rental costs with others
There’s a good chance that at some point you’ll have spent some time in a share-house. Maybe you loved it, maybe you couldn’t wait for that pay rise so that you could get your own place. Either way, if you’re single, then sharing a property with one or two others significantly reduces your costs and means you can afford nicer areas or have some more money left over to spend on other living costs or to just save. Not to mention, utilities and subscription services become a much less significant cost when split between 2 or 3 people.
Create a budget
I get it, budgets can be kind of scary. They inherently try to limit your spending and it can often be overwhelming to see exactly how much money you’re actually spending on eating lunches out when you’re at the office (I’m fairly sure I’m single-handedly supporting Sydney’s entire ramen industry at this point). However, budgets don’t need to be a complete killjoy - try tracking your expenses over the course of a month and spend some time sifting through those that you could do without. Creating a budget is essential, especially if you have some specific financial goals to achieve.
Save on utilities
It’s far too easy for utility bills to start creeping up and costing you an arm and a leg, yet can easily be managed with a little investment and time. Energy and water-efficient fixtures such as eco light bulbs, water-restricting showerheads and efficient whitegoods can cost a bit of money but can save you plenty in the long run. Perhaps consider talking to your landlord about splitting the cost as they will benefit from better appliances too.
Alternatively, it really comes down to the simple stuff that many seem to forget - try not to have super long showers, don’t leave the tap on when you brush your teeth and only turn the heater on after you’ve rugged-up.
Buy second hand and DIY
If you’re renting an unfurnished property or need to fill the space, buying second hand is a great option. You can find some absolute gems at local garage sales, antique stores and on gumtree/eBay/facebook marketplace. Some items may require a little TLC but often come at a noticeably cheaper price as a result. There’s plenty of resources online to guide you through DIY interior design and repairing furniture (YouTube tutorials are a great place to start).