If you’re trying to live on minimum wage, then you already know it isn’t easy to make ends meet. In fact, it might seem almost impossible. That’s especially true when it comes to paying your rent. So, it makes sense that you have been wondering how to afford an apartment on minimum wage. Check out these tips to make it easier for you.
How to Afford an Apartment on Minimum Wage
If you’re living on a minimum wage salary then you need all the help you can get to make ends meet. The good news is that the minimum wage is on the rise in a lot of states.
Even so, it can still be difficult to pay rent and as you know, apartments aren’t cheap.
Housing is one of the biggest expenses you have.
These tips will help make it easier for minimum wage workers to afford apartments.
1. Move to a Low-Cost Area
One great way to save money on your rent is to move to a low-cost area.
Luckily, the internet makes this easier than ever before.
Sites like Rentcomparison.com let you compare rental prices in different areas.
Just enter your zip code or address and you will see how much places cost in other cities.
Check out the median apartment price for the city you want to move to and consider this when deciding where to sign a lease.
A rule of thumb is that it is usually less expensive to rent in smaller towns and rural areas.
2. Double Up
A roommate is not always the best option.
It’s not easy to live with someone else especially if they are a stranger.
Sometimes even friends can be annoying if you’re living with them.
Even so, one of the easiest ways to make the rent is to share it with someone else.
So, if you can handle a roommate consider it at least until your income increases.
3. Share Utilities
You can save even more money on your rent by splitting utilities with your roommates.
This includes water, electricity, and gas bills.
For example, if you live in an apartment with a roommate, you will cut your living expenses in half.
This will make a huge difference in your bottom line.
If your apartment is costing you $700 dollars and your utilities another $300 a month, you can go from having to pay $1,000 dollars which would be very difficult on minimum wage to paying $500 which is much more doable.
If you get a second roommate you’ll be in even better financial shape.
Just make sure your roommates have the same lifestyle as you do. That way you’ll all get along much easier.
4. Get Your Bills Straightened Out Before You Move In
Sometimes, people who live on minimum wage have trouble paying bills because they run out of money by the time the end of the month rolls around.
It makes sense to find out what your bills are going to be before you move into an apartment.
Ask the landlord about typical utility bills and the like.
If you don’t have a bank account, try to open one before you move so you can set up automatic payments for your bills.
5. Cut Back on Entertainment Expenses
Another smart way to save money is to cut back on expenses that don’t really matter all that much.
This means watching movies at home and eating out less.
One easy thing you can cut back on is entertainment expenses.
Do you really need cable TV?
Do you need the premium movie channels?
If not, it’s time to cancel them.
This also means staying home more and going out a lot less.
6. Buy Only the Groceries You Really Need
Another expense that might be costing you more than it needs to is groceries.
Sometimes, you might buy too much food and this can end up costing you more money than you need to spend on groceries.
To avoid this, take a look at how much food your family will need for the week (or month) and then buy only that amount.
Make a list before you go to the store and stick to it.
Meal planning helps with reducing food costs as well.
7. Find a Resident Discount
It’s also wise to take advantage of any resident discounts that your apartment complex or building might offer.
For example, if there is a gym in the building, ask if they offer student/resident discounts on their memberships.
Or, if your complex has a pool or rec room, see if you can get a discount on memberships or fees for using them.
Also, look for move-in specials. This can get you a free month’s rent or even allow you to move in without a deposit.
8. Pay Your Rent Early When You Can
Another thing you can do is pay your rent early when you are able to do so.
If you have some extra money sitting in your bank account, pay your rent early instead of using that for other things that you might not really need.
If you get paid on the first or 15th, don’t wait until the end of the month to pay your rent.
Or if you get paid twice a month, take half of your rent out of one check and the other half out of the other.
If you get paid weekly, do the same thing, so you aren’t stuck trying to come up with the whole monthly rent payment at the end of the month.
9. Use Your Extra Money Wisely
The most important things to remember when trying to live on minimum wage are keeping an eye on your finances and using any extra money you have wisely.
If you manage to save some money every month, try to put that money aside in a savings account.
If you do this for a while, you may be able to use your extra savings as a down payment on a house one day!
If you get a tax refund or money for your birthday or even a bonus at work, put it into savings instead of spending.
That way you’ll have a little cushion to pay your rent if you are short one month.
10. Save Up Money Before You Move Out on Your Own
One thing you will need when you move out on your own is a little bit of money saved up.
Moving into an apartment on minimum wage can be tough, especially if you don’t have many other sources of income.
So, try to use any extra money you have to save up for your first few months’ rent and deposit.
The more money you can save before you move into an apartment the better.
You’ll have a lot of expenses upfront such as deposits for your utilities, a deposit for your apartment, and you’ll usually have to pay both the first and last month’s rent.
Plus you might have moving expenses.
11. Get a Second Job
If you have any extra time on your hands, try to get a second job.
Working more than one job isn’t always easy, but it will be a lot easier than living on minimum wage without any other income.
12. Start a Side Business
One thing that might be helpful to you when living on minimum wage is having a side business.
Having a side business won’t make you rich, but it can help you make some extra money to cover any expenses you might not have expected.
You could make enough to pay all of your rent.
In addition, having a side business may also help build your resume, and that may lead to better job opportunities in the future.
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13. Live in the Inexpensive Part of Town
Finally, one other thing you can do when living on minimum wage is live in an inexpensive part of town.
Just make sure the area is safe and has good public transportation access if you don’t have a car.
The most important thing when living on minimum wage is to be careful with your money and use every opportunity you have to make more of it.
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To Sum it All Up:
Living on minimum wage isn’t easy and paying for an apartment makes it just that much more difficult. If you’re having trouble affording your rent, consider getting a roommate or two. Downsize to a smaller place such as a one-bedroom apartment or a studio apartment.