Want to know a really effective way to save a bunch of money? Lower your rent.

It’s a pretty big chunk of your living expenses that you pay every month. Any savings can go a long way, as opposed to saving a few cents or dollars cutting back on smaller things. 

Where we live, a no-frills studio in downtown is easily over $1000 per month. Just $100 less a month equates to $12,000 a year that could be going into your pocket.

There are many ways to save money around the house, but the ways to save on rent we share here can bring substantial recurring benefits. 

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smart ways to save on rent condo apartment



  • Check local ads & Craigslist to see if you are overpaying for your area.
  • Decide if there are any amenities you would give up in exchange for a break on the rent.
  • Remember: the bigger a change you’re willing to make, the more you could save.

From a landlord’s perspective

Before you get suspicious of the motives of some landlords sharing tips to help tenants save money on rent, hear us out for a second.

Managing a property and the people who live in it is NOT an easy job. Yes, the extra monthly income is a great perk, but what landlords care waayyy more about (or at least the smart ones do), is keeping that income as passive as possible.

They’re in search for a happy medium between getting a decent price for their place and not having problematic or needy tenants. So if that takes some negotiation on the financial end, they’re willing to do it.

Below are solid tactics that tenants can use to lower their rent and we’ll explain why from our viewpoint.

1. Choose your location wisely

Where you live matters a lot. Places that tend to have pricier rents are:

Close to an urban center. Landlords know that people are willing to pay the price for convenience and being in the center of the action.

Near a college campus. College students are willing to dish out more, because either they have parents who pay or they round up a bunch of roommates. Either way, landlords in this area tend to charge higher prices, especially when school’s about to be back in session.

Around military bases. Because those who work in the military tend to get housing subsidy, they are able to afford a higher rent. Some landlords are happy to accommodate.

Consider looking for a place further outside these areas. You’ll tend to get more space and quiet, in addition to extra savings.

save on rent - apartment or condo

2. Downsize to a condo or room

Renting a single family home might feel nice & spacious, but that extra space could be costing you, especially if you’re not using it. Besides, living in a smaller footprint means you have way less to clean & take care of, which is a definite plus.

Staying in a cheaper apartment or condo can be a double whammy in savings. First, a lower rent if you’re moving into a smaller space, and possibly in utility bills since the building may already cover your water or electricity.

For further savings, try renting a room only and sharing common living areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

The less physical maintenance of a space for the landlord, the less expenses they’ll be passing onto you through rent.

3. Check what’s included in your rent

It’s important to check the amenities of your place, since it could be saving you costs in other areas of your budget.

For a home, this might be a pool, which could be saving you on your gym membership.

Or in a condo, the building might already cover your water and electric, cutting down an out-of-pocket expense.

4. Give up amenities you don’t need

Don’t pay extra for the things you know you won’t be using if you don’t have to.

Either look for places that don’t come with these extra frills, or try to get a discount for opting out of it.

For example, if you don’t need your parking space, ask the landlord if you can get a rent reduction by giving it up. Help make the decision easier for the landlord by finding someone else willing to take the space and walking away with a cheaper rent as your finder’s fee.

This actually happened with Aunty Chang’s first tenant, who didn’t have a car, so Aunty Chang found another person in the building who said yes immediately to the parking space.


Ask your landlord if this is viable first before you go hunting for a taker. That way, you’re not wasting efforts and giving someone else false hopes if your landlord wasn’t even agreeable to this from the beginning.

save on rent - get roommates

5. Get a roommate

An extra body could easily slash your rent in half.

Having a roommate to share the burden of rent is one effective way to take some of the sting out of your housing costs, but you gotta be smart about it.

Obviously, pick someone you can count on to put up their share and who’s generally responsible. Also, make sure that their personality and lifestyle jive with you, so that you aren’t miserable in your own place.

And be on the up-and-up with your landlord about your new roomie. Trying to sneak in a roommate behind your landlord’s back can bite you in the you-know-where. Taking in someone without your landlord’s permission is likely a violation of the lease or rental agreement, which could be grounds for eviction.

Plus, having the roommate listed on the rental agreement gives them more reason to be careful about damages to the rental or incurring fines for bad tenant behavior.


If one of your roommates needs to move out, see if you can find someone to take his/her place. Chances are, the landlord will be happy to accept the new tenant, as long as you keep them in the loop and make the transition as seamless as possible.

6. Barter goods or services

Offer the landlord something they might want in exchange for lower rent.

Maybe you’re a handyman that could fix some things around the house for lower rent.

Or you can take care of the lawn instead of the landlord charging for professional lawn services.

Perhaps you work somewhere that you could help get the landlord a discount at, like for gardening supplies if the landlord is an avid grower as an example.

7. Agree to a longer lease period

If you’ve been a good, paying tenant, you have an advantage when it comes to lease renewal time.

Landlords definitely want to keep proven tenants, whereas searching for a new tenant will cost the landlord time and money.

See if your landlord is willing to cut you a small break for agreeing to stay for a longer period.

To help you with your ask, find a listing for a comparable rental nearby or, better yet, in the same building. Make sure it’s for similar square footage and quality.

Let the landlord know that you are considering this other place, but would rather save on the hassle of moving if they can match the price. If they give you what you want, great!

If not, you may still make out ahead with a longer lease as it will guarantee you no rent increase for that longer duration. Or, if that not enough to compel you to stay, you might just want to consider that other place you found.

save on rent - homes covered in snow

8. Keep an eye out for rental dry spells

Certain times of the year are harder for landlords to find tenants. One of those times is during the holidays, since most people don’t want to interrupt the festivities or schlep their stuff in the cold.

Landlords hate leaving their places vacant for too long, so they might be willing to drop the price a little to get a renter in. 

As this is also a highly inconvenient time in your schedule, consider waiting a little in the new year before taking on something like this. If you get your timing right by being the first one to bite after a long drought of nothing, the landlord will be more apt to lower the rent to get someone into their place.

Keep an eye on local and Craigslist ads to find which places on the market keep getting posted week after week. Those are your target listings where you’re likely to find a landlord willing to talk a lower rent.

Papa Chang is going through this right now with his parents’ place, which they’ve dropped $200.

9. Be the tenant your landlord doesn’t want to ever go

Landlords will recognize when they’ve got a stellar tenant. And they’ll try hard to make them stay as long as possible.

First, pay the rent. The landlord will like you if you are responsible with your financial obligation.

Second, show that you care. You don’t need to become your landlord’s new BFF, but show that you respect the place and the landlord by responding to or bringing things up to them in a timely manner.

Since the decision to raise rent is in the landlord’s hands, doing things that leave them with a good impression can only help your cause.

Mama Chang’s been blessed that her first and only tenant makes landlord life so easy for her. She’s kept his rent way below market value to keep him around. It’s succeeded for 9 years (and counting). He even told her he tried looking for places just to see what’s out there but that everything else is way more expensive so he’s probably going to stay. Exactly what she wanted.

save on rent - college student in moving back home

10. Move in with family

For a long time, American culture has made moving home synonymous with being a deadbeat, but things are a lot different than they were before.

Moving in with family can help ease the money burden for both parties involved and really give you a huge advantage.

Take us (Mama and Aunty Chang) for example. We lived with our parents until we got married and it was honestly one of the best financial choices we ever made. We had no problem saving for a good portion of our down payment, which helped make it possible for us to land a home as quickly as we did (thanks Grandma & Grandpa Chang!).

Here’s why It was such a no-brainer for us:
#1) Where we live, cost of living is crazy high.
For a 1-bedroom dig, we can expect to pay $1100+ a month in rent, which translates to about $13,000+ in a year. That ain’t chump change.

#2) We grew up in a culture where it’s okay (and even expected) to continue living with parents.
In Asian culture, adult children are expected to care for parents in their old age.

And in Hawaii, high cost of living means a huge portion of the population lives in multi-generational homes so it’s pretty commonplace.

We’ll admit that growing up with this mindset and in this environment does make it loads easier to stay with parents.

But if you’re on the fence about this, read our post about moving back home to help you decide if it’s the right decision for you and tips on how to go about making this transition.


Rent is a pricey necessity of life. Lower your rent to bank more of your hard-earned cash by trying one of the strategies above to save on rent.


  • Check local ads & Craigslist to see if you are overpaying for your area.
  • Decide if there are any amenities you would give up in exchange for a break on the rent.
  • Remember: the bigger a change you’re willing to make, the huger your savings.



stacy trinh aka aunty chang headshot


STACY, aka AUNTY CHANG, is a personal finance blogger set on a mission to show people that there's more to money than just the numbers. With two rental properties and a six-figure 401k by her 30's, she's on track to retire early without sacrificing work-life balance to get there. She wants to teach others how to identify their goals and use money to make them happen. Dual income, no kids, based in Hawaii.

Hangs out on Keeping Up with the Changs: Facebook | Twitter