Rent prices have soared to some disturbingly high levels in recent years, particularly in the cities around the country. Buying a house is more difficult than ever, so it’s just the icing on the cake that rent has become such a terrifically difficult expense to manage.
If you’re struggling to pay the rent and your bills, as well as saving up for a house, car, holiday or literally anything else, try these suggestions to see if you can make the prices a little more bearable.
Location, location, location
Rent, naturally, is going to be higher in urban areas than in more rural locations. Take this into consideration when finding a place to rent. You will need to easily access your workplace of course, but if at all possible, rent out a place just outside the expensive urban centre, but still close enough to work that you can cycle. This will cut down on rent prices, and the cycling will cut down on the steep expenses of running a car and keep you fit. Win-win-win.
This is a nice little rule of thumb for splitting your income between your needs, your wants and your savings. 50% of your wages should go to mandatory bills, such as rent, electricity, groceries, etc. 30% of your wages can be earmarked for wants; that is, stuff you don’t need as such, but help to keep life interesting. This includes money for weekend drinks or the cinema, and so on. The last 20% of your wages should go into your savings account.
Depending on your personal situation, this breakup of wages may be a little uneven, so adjust it appropriately. You may need to take 5% of fun money to help pay your bills (don’t do it the other way). But roughly speaking, this is how your wages should be split, so rent a place that fits well within 50 per cent of your wages, leaving, of course, sufficient room for bills like food, transport, utilities and healthcare.
Renting an unfurnished house or apartment should work out cheaper, and there are many ways to furnish the place cheaply yourself. Check with family and friends to see what unused furnishings they have lying around.
Failing that, log onto www.freecycle.org to avail of free furniture in your local area. Simply enter your location, and the site directs you to people in that area giving away free, unused furniture. Some of it might well be quite horrible, but there are some gems in there, all for free.