If you’re paying more than $1,200 a month in rent by yourself, that means two things:
- It stinks to pay that much rent, and
- You’ve clearly got some income. Not everyone can afford that kind of rent.
So you’re making money and living in a decent place. You’ve finally got a little cushion in your bank account. You’ve achieved a certain level of financial stability.
What should you do next? Well, we have six suggestions for you:
1. Give Your Credit a Boost to Save Money on Future Big Purchases
You’re doing pretty good. You’ve got a decent place to live, you make your rent payments — you’re not overly concerned with your credit score. In fact, you might not think much about it at all.
But what happens when you want to buy a house? Or a car? Even a five-point difference in your credit score could make a huge difference. That’s why it’s important to keep tabs on your credit score, which you can do for free through Credit Sesame.
Take the example of JP Clayton, a Florida software consultant who bought his first home with his wife, Ashley. When they finally found the home they wanted, JP’s credit score had dipped five points below where it needed to be to lock in the 3.75% interest rate they’d budgeted for.
They had to settle for a 4% interest rate, costing them $15,000 over the life of their 30-year loan.
If you want to make sure your credit score is in tip-top shape, Credit Sesame will help. Just sign up for an account — it takes 90 seconds — and Credit Sesame will outline exactly what you need to do to give your credit a boost
2. Protect Everything in Your Apartment For as Little as $5/Month
While you’re renting, you’ll want to make sure you’re protecting your belongings. You don’t know what your neighbor’s up to over there or how weird the weather could get today, so make sure you’re covered.
The average person in the U.S. is paying $187 per year for renters insurance, but with Lemonade, you could pay as little as $5 a month, less than half the average rate.
And just because you’re only paying $5 doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. In fact, Lemonade pays out 30% of its claims instantly. It even holds the world record for paying a claim in only three seconds!
Even better? No phone calls. No lengthy sign-up process. Nothing. It takes just 10 minutes to get started.
3. If You Can’t Lower Your Rent, Cut Your Credit Card Bill
If you’re like most of us, two of your biggest financial burdens are rent and credit card debt. High credit card bills make it that much harder to pay the rent every month.
One problem: Your credit card companies are getting rich by ripping you off with insane rates. However, a company called Fiona could lower your monthly payment.
Here’s how it works: Fiona will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster.
If you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
Spending less on interest helps alleviate the burden of rent.
4. Invest Like a Hedge Fund (You Can Start with $500)
We know you’ve got rent to pay, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be planning for your future. You can get started investing now, even if you’re only contributing a little bit each month.
An app called Titan lets you get in on hedge-fund-style investing, even if you don’t have a spare quarter-million dollars. All you need is $500.
Titan is a simple, user-friendly investment app that mirrors the financial moves of top hedge funds. It invests money in top stocks, based on what all those hedge funds have been buying — because it knows those are best set up for growth.
All three of Titan’s co-founders are former hedge fund guys who are now heavily invested in their Titan portfolios — the same stocks they’d invest your money in. It takes just a few minutes to launch your investing portfolio.
The company earns a 1% annual fee on what you invest.
5. Even Renters Can Easily Start Saving
Even if you’re able to come up with the rent month after month after month, sometimes it’s hard to find money to stash into a savings account.
But the thing is, you probably have more money to put toward savings than you realize. An app called Digit looks at your budget and automatically finds money you can tuck away.
Personal finance editor Matt Wiley used it to save $1,857 in a year without even thinking about it. “It feels weird saying I saved, because I really didn’t do anything,” he says.
Digit looks at your spending patterns and tells you exactly how much you can spare. It knows when to save and when to slow down so your funds don’t get too low. Have rent due soon? It’ll go easy on you. Just got paid? Sweet, let’s tuck some of that away.
To start, download Digit and connect your checking account. From there, it’ll get to work. Your first 30 days are free, then it’s $5 a month. Not bad, considering how much it’ll help you save.
Who knows — you could even start saving for a down payment on a home someday.
6. Save up to $865 a Year on Car Insurance
It may be difficult to negotiate rent, but you can negotiate some of your other monthly bills — like car insurance. When was the last time you shopped around for that? Was it more than six months ago?
If so, you’re probably overpaying, and possibly by hundreds of dollars. Yep. Experts say you should compare rates twice a year to get the best deal.
Twice a year? Yeah, we don’t want to do that either.
A service called Gabi does all the shopping for you to find cheaper insurance — with the same coverage and deductibles you already have. And it saves customers an average of $865 a year.
You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s license, and it will start looking for cheaper coverage.
Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings. No more shopping.
Mike Brassfield (email@example.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He doesn’t pay rent but he has a mortgage, and it’s huge.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
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