7 Best Tips to Keep Housing Costs as Low as Possible

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The mortgage (or rent) can take at least 30% of your income every month–the largest chunk among all household expenses–and that does not include other housing expenses like maintenance and utilities. Unfortunately, this leads to less cash flow for other important things, like recreation and education.

However, it’s not impossible to reduce your housing expenses as low as they can go. Here’s how:

For homeowners:

1. Refinance your mortgage

If you want to lower the monthly payments on your mortgage, you can consider refinancing. For example, refinance your Rio Grande Valley house to a different type of loan or one with a lower interest rate. In this way, you can have less trouble paying your mortgage and save more money in the long run.

2. Buy a smaller house

Do you really need a five-bedroom home for a three-person family? How about that sunroom that you rarely use? Or the “home office” that nobody goes into?

If you have more living space than you can use, consider selling your current house for a smaller, less expensive one. Aside from saving money in utilities and mortgage, a smaller house is easier to maintain.

3. Move away from the city

If you’re in the position to buy a new house, why not get one that is farther from the city? In more rural areas or suburbs, housing tends to be lower compared to the city. Not only are you paying less in mortgage fees, but you can also give your family a quieter and safer place to live.

4. Employ money-saving tactics for bills

Utilities and maintenance bills are two of the highest expenses in the house. Fortunately, you can keep that money in your pocket by doing DIY repairs and using utility-saving tips, such as insulating your home to reduce heating and cooling losses, as well as getting water-efficient toilets and showerheads.

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For renters:

1. Find a roommate

If you have a spare room, consider getting a roommate. You may need to sacrifice a little bit of your comfort and privacy, but splitting the rent with someone else can save you tons of money every month.

2. Look for a more affordable place

Cheaper rental properties tend to have their disadvantages, but not all cheap places are like what you see on TV (e.g. dismal and dingy). The key is to shop around for a more affordable place. Weigh the pros and cons of each promising property you find. If the cons are things you can live with, such as a smaller bedroom or a faucet that needs repairing, move into it to reduce your rental expenses.

3. Negotiate your rent

Talk to your landlord about reducing your rent (or sparing you from an increase). If you are a generally good tenant who causes no trouble and pays their rent on time, they may give you a discount.

Conclusion

People spend the majority of their income on housing, and that’s just the way it is. However, if you want to keep your housing expenses as low as possible, these tips are the first ideas you can consider.

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