Rising UK house prices mean that an increasingly large portion of the population are renting property, rather than buying. Whether you’re a student looking to find somewhere affordable to rent, or you just want to save money renting the family home, below are nine tips to help you tighten the purse strings and save some cash.
We should all be more mindful of what we spend, and look for simple ways to save money each and every month.
1 – Consider location carefully
Some areas are simply more appealing than others, and these areas will usually prove the most expensive. Even looking a few hundred yards away from these streets could save you a decent amount of money on your monthly rent. Don’t be afraid to expand your search beyond your most desirable road.
With that said, you should also consider the proximity of your flat or house to your school or job. If you have to travel miles to get to work, have no car, and there is no easy public transport link, it could end up costing you more money in transport than you save in rent. Take your time to consider all locations and determine which will give you the best savings overall.
2 – Consider a longer commute
If you’re willing and able to travel, you could find an absolute bargain out of town. A lot of people want direct links to towns and cities, immediate access to amenities like schools and other services. If you don’t need access to a school, look at properties that are further. Be prepared to commute in from a longer distance, especially if you have your own car or your work is located next to a train station, and you could really grab a property bargain.
3 – Consider a flat or house share
One of the most obvious ways of reducing your rent is to share the cost with somebody else. If you’re a student, look at student shares. Otherwise, consider asking friends in a similar situation to you, to rent with you. Alternatively, you can advertise for other tenants to share the rent. Bear in mind that, legally, every potential tenant must be checked by the landlord before they can move in, so don’t just assume that it will be OK. Check with the landlord or agent, first, but if you have an interested party-ready, this can help negotiations go more smoothly.
4 – Negotiate a shorter tenancy, if possible
This one is specifically for students. Most students do not need their accommodation during the summer months, but if you take accommodation on a 12 month tenancy, you may still have to pay for months where the property remains unused.
Consider asking the landlord for a shorter tenancy, to avoid paying rent in summer, or even ask if they will offer reduced rent during the months you won’t be living there. Not all landlords will agree, but you don’t know until you ask, and some will work with you to find ways to save on property.
5 – Negotiate a longer tenancy, if you’re not a student
If you’re not a student, however, you should consider a longer tenancy. Most landlords want long term tenants. It avoids tenancy void and it means that they are guaranteed rental income for longer. Use this to your advantage. Offer to take a 2 year fixed tenancy, and negotiate on the price of rent. Even if you only get a small reduction on your monthly rent, small savings soon add up when combined.
6 – Take advantage of freebies and hand-me-downs
Furnished property costs more to rent than unfurnished or part-furnished, but it could save you money compared to having to buy washing machines, sofas, TV cabinets, and beds.
On the other hand, if you have a good network of friends and family that have freebies, or items of furniture that they can lend you, don’t be afraid to take advantage of this.
Even if a settee doesn’t fit with your decor, you can always invest in a more appropriately coloured throw and use this to ensure that your furniture matches your design.
Also check local Facebook groups. A lot of people give away reasonable quality items to anyone willing to come and pick them up. Grovelling to a friend to use their estate car, or even paying a man and van service for an hour, will probably work out cheaper than buying a brand new upright fridge freezer.
7 – Shop around for the best utility deals
When you do move in, you should try and avoid properties that have inclusive bills, because there are some excellent savings to be had by shopping around for new electricity and gas contracts. Similarly, you should keep on top of your phone, broadband, and other bills. Again, you might only save £10 here and there, but if you can make 5 of these savings, you’ve already reduced your monthly outgoings by £50, and these savings will soon add up.
8 – Save money on energy
As well as saving money by getting better energy contracts, you should look for ways to reduce the actual amount of energy you use. Make sure the lights are turned off when they’re not being used. Only use the washing machine at night, when electricity is typically cheaper. Whilst you should obviously ensure that you always have adequate heating, even turning it down 1 or 2 degrees, or having it turn on an hour later can save you a lot of money.
Check your phone contract and make the most of free minutes when they’re on offer too.
9 – Give up the takeaway meals – cook and eat at home
Avoid the temptation to live on takeaways, and prepare and eat food at home because it is a lot cheaper than eating out. If possible, prepare lunch for the next day and take it into work or university. Finally, look for ways to safely use food leftovers to prepare more dishes.
So, there you have 9 ways to save money when renting a domestic property. I hope you find them useful!