Are you finding it more and more difficult to save money as time passes? Does it seem impossible to plan your budget wisely?
I personally can’t blame you unless you have a raging urge to shop online like crazy. Not to mention that the Philippines has experienced terrible inflation late last year.
But now that everything’s back on track, we can move on and use that incident as a lesson to better ourselves in terms of our spending habits.
So, here are six ways for renters to save money wisely.
1. Be a vigilant and informed renter
Whether you’re a first-time or long-time condo renter, it is a given that you must do proper research.
At some point, you might be tempted to grab the first offer you get. That may become your biggest mistake. Especially if you haven’t thought things through.
Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to search for the right apartment and always remember not to rush yourself.
Here are a couple of things to consider: Is the condo near where your work or school is located? How far is the place from public transportation?
Once you’ve gotten past the research stage and are ready to sign the lease, you must read it carefully. Make sure that the contract is free of suspicious payment details.
Some landlords may even write down a higher rent payment than the one you agreed upon. Also, get a soft copy of the lease besides the hard copy that you will be signing.
We live in an age where everything is turning digital after all.
On the other hand, if you happen to be a long-time condo renter and you’ve been living in the same place for quite some time, you can negotiate rent payment terms with the landlord.
More often than not, your rent will increase in the lease renewal. And there are valid reasons for the landlord doing that, like the median rental price going up or new applications for the condo coming in.
But don’t be afraid to negotiate with them about this issue and reach to an agreement where you’ll both be happy.
2. Know what you want vs what you need
Budgeting wisely will always come in handy. And the number one factor that comes to play with that is knowing the difference between what you want and what you need.
For example, you’ve been pining for this cool LED TV for a long time. But with the amount of savings you have, you either have to choose between paying your bills within the given deadline or purchasing that TV.
Naturally, a practical person would choose to pay the bills. But believe it or not, there are people that will insist on getting the TV. And if you are part of the latter group, I’m here to tell you that’s a bad decision.
Of course, treating yourself once in a while isn’t wrong. So instead of splurging to the max with all the luxury items you desire, try utilizing the 50/30/20 rule.
50% of your earnings will go to fixed expenses like housing, utilities, insurance etc. 30% will go to your savings or your emergency fund. Then the 20% will go to variable expenses such as groceries, gas, hobbies or entertainment, and so on.
Another tip I can provide, especially for first-time renters, is to gradually furnish your condo and consider getting second-hand stuff.
It doesn’t hurt to go to IKEA, H&M Furniture, or SM to buy brand new appliances. But if you’re really trying to save money, it’s best to widen your choices.
3. Stay mindful of energy consumption
I have never encountered or met a person who hasn’t complained about their electricity or water bill at least once, especially in this country where both necessities are mostly monopolized.
Which is why you have to pay more attention with how you’re using them.
Do you always have the lights on in a room where you’re not present? Do you keep your chargers plugged to the sockets when you’re not using it? How about accidentally leaving the electric fan on at home when you go to work?
If you’ve said yes to at least one of these questions, it’s time for a slight change in your routine.
Assure that you turn on lights that you only need. Double check your apartment to see if there are fans or even ACs (you can buy the ones that have timers if you’re forgetful) that are still running. And get those chargers out of the sockets when you won’t even use them until later!
Also make sure that you turn the knobs on your sinks and showers right. So, that you don’t waste water. If you have a main valve for the water, turn it off when you go out.
Bonus tip: stop using cable. I urge you to spend your free time doing something more productive instead of spending hours watching TV, especially if you have a limited budget.
4. Cook at home
This is a horrendous tip if you hate the idea of preparing your own food. I know, I’ve been there. But if you’re tight on money, you have to do it.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that you will save more of your expenses by cooking your meals at home as opposed to eating out all the time. And yes, fast food deliveries count.
Go to the nearest weekend farmer’s market (or grocery on a weekday) and check out quality ingredients to cook. The best part about this is that you can make a batch of your own “baon” when you go to school or work.
If you don’t like eating the same thing twice in a row (like me, don’t worry, I got you), you can cook a batch of your “ulam” of choice or two and freeze it. You’ll have a selection and you can alternate between a few meals.
5. Maintain a civil relationship with your landlord
You can correlate this particular tip to tip number one. Because in order to have a pleasant lease renewal negotiation, you should have a decent relationship with your landlord.
You don’t have to be the best of friends at all. Just have amicable discussions and see eye to eye when and where it’s needed. Be a good resident.
Plus, you can ask them to change or fix something in your apartment when it’s necessary. In return, you can schedule a fixed payment date for your rent.
Showing consistency and responsibility is great in any situation, especially with this one. And in the long run, the landlord will value you as a tenant.
6. Get a roommate
If all else fails, you can get a roommate. Applicable to students or working guys and gals, of course.
It’s a given that bigger spaces will be more expensive. So, should you desire a bigger apartment but can’t afford it, taking in a roommate to split the costs would be a great decision.
Almost everything will be shared from the rent to communal appliances. And this will certainly save you plenty of money.
Your roommate doesn’t have to be a complete stranger either. They can be your best friend or colleague.
However, if you’re not comfortable sharing a space with anyone, you can always just rent a smaller condo. Balance what you need versus what you want and you’ll be good to go!
What do you think of these tips?
Have you ever tried any of them? If not, give it a go and hopefully it will work out in your favor.
I am, by no means, an expert in finance. But I personally do my best to save money as much as I can. So, I actually use some of these tips in my own life.
Here’s to becoming wiser with your spending habits and walking to a better and mindful path!