Real Estate Market

How to offset the rising cost of rent

(1/6/2012) Erate Exclusive - It's a landlord's market in housing's rental sector and that means you'll pay through the nose to rent a home, if you don't know where you can cut costs.

Because it's tough to negotiate flat out for a lower rent, one of the best ways to cut rental costs is with a long term rental contract instead of a month-to-month deal. That's a lot like buying a home with a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) instead of an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).

With the longer rental term and a FRM you can budget for a fixed housing cost each month, for a given term. Move in with a month-to-month rental contract and, in this market, you can expect your rental costs to rise over the short term.

However, your rental contract isn't the only way to save some money on housing costs.

According to, you can use some of the same lifestyle adjustments home owners use and save more than $360 a month, or $4,400 a year.

Here's how.

Dump cable. As a renter you pay, on average, $100 per month for cable television, but how many shows do you really watch when they are broadcast new? Consider watching shows for free on network websites, subscribe to Hulu Plus, Netflix or other internet video sites and connect your computer to your television. The average savings is $92 per month, says

Space heat. Energy bills run, on average, $183 per month. Turn your thermostat to 62 degrees and use an energy efficient space heater only in the room you are using. That will save you about $17 a month.

Cut the phone cord. Unless you work at home, do you really need that land line? Smart phones are making landlines obsolete. Eliminate your landline and save an average $35 a month. If you live in an area prone to disasters and need to keep a land line for emergencies, reduce the services to bare minimum local calls.

Illuminate your savings. If you have six lamps in your home burning old incandescent bulbs and replace them all with Energy Star qualified light bulbs you can save about $3 a month. That's not a lot, but it is a savings.

Chill out in the laundry. Do your laundry in cold water, rather than hot and save about $6 per month.

Work out in your pad. Skip the gym membership. Rent where there is an exercise room with or without equipment. Get a stationery bike stand for your bike. Don't disturb the neighbors, but expect to save $65 a month working out at home.

Eat in. Your kitchen is included in the rent, even if you don't use it. Order in. says the average American eats out 6 times per month, spending an average of $172. So eat out just once a month and save about $144 a month.

Pull the Plug. Unplug appliances and electronics when you are not using them. Unplugging one fax machine, one computer monitor, and one television can save an average $6 a month.

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