Housing Costs Are Up 8% Since a Year Ago. Here's How to Save on Rent

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  • Homes are expensive for both buyers and renters these days.
  • You can save on rent by settling for less space and fewer amenities.

There are options you can explore so rent doesn't bust your budget.

There's a reason so many people have been struggling to buy a home these days. Not only are mortgage rates elevated, but home prices are up, too.

But it's not just home buyers who are having a difficult time finding a place to live. The cost of rent is up, and it's putting many people in a tough spot.

In February, shelter costs were up 8.1% on an annual basis, according to that month's Consumer Price Index Summary. And given that inflation is making everything from food to utilities to transportation cost more, you may not be able to afford to pay a premium for a rental.

The good news, though, is that with a little strategy, you can find ways to save on rent. Here are a few to look at if the cost of housing in your area is beyond your budget.

1. Get a smaller space

Studio apartments seem to have a bad reputation, but in reality, living in one isn't so bad if you're solo. And not all studios have you in a situation where your bed is pressed up against your fridge. Some studios have a kitchen off to the side or in an alcove.

It pays to look at studios or smaller units if money is tight and the cost of rent seems astronomical to you. You don't have to live in a cramped space forever -- just until your financial options open up.

2. Give up some perks

You might prefer to rent a home that comes with upgraded appliances and other nice features. But if giving some of those up allows you to save hundreds of dollars a month on rent, then it may be worth making some sacrifices.

Similarly, if you're renting in an apartment building, you might prefer having access to an elevator so you don't have to haul your groceries up three flights of stairs. But moving to a walk-up could shave a lot of money off of your rent, so it may be worth it to forgo the elevator for a year. (And besides, all of that stair-climbing is apt to get you into great shape.)

3. Be willing to live in a less-convenient part of town

Your preference may be to rent a home that puts you close to things like restaurants, coffee shops, and public transportation. But if moving further away from these amenities makes your rent cheaper, then that's something to think about.

That said, one thing you don't want to do in the course of saving money on rent is compromise on safety. Moving to a corner of town where crime rates are higher isn't necessarily your best choice, because the last thing you want is to feel anxious every time you end up working late or coming home after dark.

It's unfortunate that shelter costs are up so much. But at a time when the price of everything is up, that makes sense. If you're willing to make some compromises on the rental front, you might manage to keep your costs down. And that way, you can work on shoring up your savings account balance so you're able to move to a more desirable rental in time.

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