Congratulations, you’re ready to move! However, you are now tasked with finding an apartment you love within your budget! That’s where things can get a bit tricky if you don’t know how to properly find an affordable apartment!

What is Your Budget for Rent?In order to understand how much money you can spend on apartment costs, you need to understand your finances. The best way to do this is to make a budget plan that takes your post-tax income and shows what bills need to be paid, how much you can spend on rent, and then what cash is leftover to save.

A good rule of thumb to follow for rent is making sure that the cost of your rent does not exceed 30% of your post-tax income. Even though a majority of people pay more than that, this is what is best if you want to optimize your finances!

Another important note is that landlords sometimes have income requirements based on your leasing situation. This typically means you will need to make at least three times the amount of your rental! If you are looking at an apartment that’s $1,000 then you should at least be making $3,000 a month. If you don’t make enough income but everything else on your application checks out then you may be required to have a guarantor to be fully approved. A guarantor is defined as a, “person, organization, or thing that guarantees something” according to the oxford dictionary. This just means that they will guarantee to pay rent if you don’t make a payment.

Saving Money on Rent, is it Possible?Yes! It is possible to save money on rent if it is done the right way. You will definitely need to learn how to save money a rent especially if you live in major cities AND have a tight budget!

Use Airbnb on Your Apartment HuntWhile Airbnb may not be the first resource that comes to mind, it actually is an underutilized one! If you search on airbnb for long-term time frames, you can find people that are willing to rent to you for weeks and even months. These places can go for as low as $20 a night which equates to about $600 in rent for a place!

Get Someone to Live with YouA classic way to cut on rent price is to room with someone! The best way to do this is by firsting talking to family and friends and seeing if they are looking for a roommate or know anyone that they can vouch for that needs a roommate. If that has no leads then you can use social media platforms like Facebook to join roommate groups. Make sure to protect yourself by getting a background check and credit check on your future roomie! You should also do the same for them.

Live Rent-Free by Working or Being a StudentNow this may seem too good to be true, but there actually are ways that you can live rent free!
If you decide to live rent-free by home-sharing then you essentially become a nanny for the family that gives you a place to stay whether at their house or wherever they decide. You move into an intergenerational household and help out!

If you are still a student then you can become a Resident Assistant. This means that you live rent-free in order to help out fellow classmates.

The last way you can try to live rent-free is by working at a hotel or even ranch. You can offer to work on the property if you can live for free!

Become an Airbnb HostIf you want to host people at your apartment you can make hundreds of dollars a month. However, it is important to note that you need to make sure that it is allowed in your lease, and that you do not require any city permits to host!

Move to a Less Crowded AreaYou can calculate your costs to commute and how that relates to you living situation. If you need to work in Manhattan but can’t afford New York City prices then looking at neighboring states like Pennsylvania or New Jersey gives you more options to look at for way more affordable prices. Even though commuting costs may be more, in the grand scheme of things you save money because of what you are saving on rent!

Overall, finding an affordable apartment is hard but not unattainable. It takes patience and skill but when you find that gem it is all worth it!