God knows I love my son more than almost anything or anyone else in the world (he is running a close race with my husband and wine). But part of loving your kid is the bittersweet moment he comes home from college and tells you he’s moving out.
All my fond memories of single, independent living come flooding back — from the parties I used to have to the “charming” thrift store decor to friends coming over any time for hours, sometimes days, on end. And inevitably, the cringe worthy memories start coming through too. The tightening bank account, Top Ramen meals, the not-so-charming thrift store decor…..all so I could pay the rent at the first of the month. Yes, paying rent is an often frightening reality of life that can’t be avoided.
Here are some tips for getting and staying in your own place!
- Get paid for your opinions. Taking surveys online is easy and you can earn a few bucks every day just answering questions while you watch TV. It really is that easy. I checked out a few just to see if they were legitimate and so far my favorite was InboxDollars.com. Imagine watching TV earning $2-5 per day – that’s like $60 a month!
- Rent out a room. AirBnB can help subsidize your rent payment. Be Careful! Read your lease and check with your city about these short term solutions. If the paperwork checks out, it may be a good way to give a student or traveler the quick stopover they need while filling in your budget.
- Find a roommate. You can always ask around or go to your personal network first but paid services like Roomi, Roomster, and Roommates.com help you find and screen potential roommates online and can help you find a match with a little professional help. (I have not used these services – do your research and due diligence first).
- Register your apartment with one of the location scouting companies in your area. Check sites like Set Scouter or Google location scouting companies to see if you qualify. Quick note, if you rent your property for less than 15 days, that income may even be tax free! Contact us for more info.
- Lower Expenses. A little elbow grease can go a long way. Try to negotiate with your landlord to lower the rent if you mow the lawn or clean the pool. See if you qualify for any utility subsidies. Maybe by taking on the trash or water bill yourself, you can actually get a lower rate than your landlord does. This can be especially helpful for young renters in their first apartment.
- Charitable Grants. Lots of charitable organizations like the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities offer help in hardship situations. Modest Needs helps individuals who have a one time emergency get charitable grants as well.
- Housing Assistance. In dire shape and possibly looking at homelessness? This is an unfortunate fact of life for many good people who live in expensive cities like Los Angeles. Look up 211.org – they will walk you through the community resources available to you to get you on your feet. Never be afraid to ask for help.
Rent and utilities should never be more than 33% of your income. Ideally, your rent should be at or less than 25% of your income. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford before you get into a rental.
We’ll chat again soon –