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7 ways to save on rent without getting a housemate

By George Hadgelias

Sharing a house is a lot of fun, but there will likely come a day when you’ll want to go it alone. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’ll necessarily need to earn a whole lot more cash. 

Here are a few ways to make solo living work, while saving enough cash to still do the things that you love.

1. Be a professional house sitter

If you’re keen on living alone but don’t want to fork out for an expensive apartment all to yourself, then consider house sitting.

There are plenty of reputable house sitting websites you can apply for, and once you’ve signed up, you can house-hop and not have to pay rent for months at a time.

You may have to take care of pets and do some minor maintenance, but, all things considered, it’s an excellent way to save money and experience living in a variety of different settings.

2. Rent a studio

Studio apartments generally have a kitchen, lounge room and bedroom in a single room.

Whilst some couples may be able to live in studio apartments, they are generally designed for a single occupant.

The great thing about studios is that the rent is much cheaper than other single-bedroom apartments, and they are generally located in central areas, which means you get to live in a trendy location, without paying the hefty rent that usually goes with it.

3. Commit to a longer lease

If you find the perfect little flat and you can see yourself living there for a while, it might be worth negotiating a 24-month lease with the landlord, in return for a slight reduction in rent.

Finding suitable tenants can be an arduous process for landlords. It takes time and costs them money, as vacancies mean lost rent. So committing to a two-year lease could encourage them to knock $10 off your weekly expenditure.

4. Wait it out

There are times of year when rents tend to increase and flats become harder to find.

The beginning of the year, for example, is often a difficult time, as it’s when students start university and relocate to different cities. This means the rental market is usually in a frenzy from January to March.

If you have a bit of leeway, pick quieter times of the year to look for a flat; you’ll have more choice, and, if you’re the only person applying to live in a vacant apartment, you’ll have a lot more bargaining power than those competing with a dozen other people.

5. Live in the suburbs

Generally speaking, the further away from the centre of the city you get, the cheaper the rents will be. Think about your lifestyle, travel habits and social life. And then choose a cost-effective suburb that allows you to maintain as much as your current way of life as possible.

Don’t rule out any suburbs until you’ve thoroughly researched them, either. The housing market is constantly changing and suburbs are being transformed with new builds. It might pay to revisit suburbs you ruled out a few years ago to see if they now fit your requirements.

6. Take advantage of any extras

When comparing different apartments, make sure to factor building amenities into your calculations, too.

You could save money on a gym membership by using the gym in your apartment complex, or on venue hire for your next party, if your apartment building comes with a cool rooftop terrace.

An apartment with a car park presents another great saving, too, eliminating the need for costly permits or street parking. Likewise, close proximity to a cheap supermarket could save you heaps on your weekly grocery bill.

7. Compromise

Remember: Signing a tenancy agreement doesn’t lock you into an apartment forever, and building some savings in your 20s is always advisable. After all, you can always live in a swish pad once you’ve made it.

So, consider looking at older flats, rather than state-of-the-art, inner-city condos. They’re a lot cheaper, and some are quite charming, too.

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