Today’s guest post come from Kate Wilson. Kate is a Digital wordsmith. Bona fide social media addict. Passionate about blogging, black coffee, bildungsroman novels, and most things that start with “b”.

This article is not specific to New York City. Some of the advice will pertain to individuals in more traditional markets and we know that cities like DC, San Francisco , and New York are anything but that.


Living in an apartment can be expensive. Rent, repairs, utility bills – they can creep up on you if you’re not careful. Luckily you can cut them down, without sacrificing your quality of life, by following the tips and tricks below.

Time your move

Most people move between May and September. So if you’re looking to have your pick of a wide range of apartments, hold off until this time. But if you’re willing to choose from a more limited pool of pads, it can be a better financial decision to move in the off-season. Since less people are looking for apartments, you’ll have greater opportunity to negotiate with your landlord.

Choose an apartment on a lower floor

While the upper-floor apartments have a nicer view (hey there, penthouse apartments), the apartments on the lower floor are easier on your bank account. Let’s be real, how much time are you planning on gazing out of your windows while pondering your life’s path, anyway?

Be on good terms with your landlord

This may not seem like a direct way to free up some cash, but it does pay to have a good relationship with your landlord. Dysfunctional shower? Getting a cat? Breaking your lease early? All of these situations can reach an easy, low-cost resolution if your landlord genuinely likes you. 

Negotiate your rent

Newbies usually make the mistake of negotiating their rent only when they initially sign their lease, but not at each lease renewal. When your lease is up for renewal, negotiation on any and all of the initial terms is fair game. 

Be smart about sprucing up your space

Another moment of real talk. You probably won’t be living in this apartment for long, maybe a year, maybe a few years, but the point is that you’re not there to stay.

Avoid making serious investments in the design and decoration of your apartment that you won’t be able to take with you when you go. Goodbye expensive paintjobs and shelving installations, hello wall decals and shelving units!

Invest in energy-saving appliances

Those energy-saving lightbulbs that everyone is always talking about are no joke. If you’re buying any sort of appliance that has an energy-saving option, definitely consider it. It may be more expensive than your standard appliance, but if you use it with any regularity it will definitely keep your electric bills down.

Plus – hey environment, I got you.

Report problems with your apartment ASAP

This begins on move-in day. You know how everyone always says, “Oh you should take pictures of the apartment before you even move in so you have proof of the apartment’s condition in case anything happens”? Yeah, you should actually do that.

Use the buddy system

Of course this one was going to be mentioned at some point, but look I saved it for last. I’ll be honest, there are few things sadder than kissing an entire paycheck goodbye to pay rent, utilities and cable. I’m all for the restorative nature of solitude and all, but there is no denying the perks that come with having a roommate.

Nicer apartment, more money to spend on shoes instead of shelling out to greedy utility companies, someone else’s food to eat (sorry past roomie’s, that was me), and the list goes on.

You don’t have to be a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge to save money on your apartment. All you need is some smarts, some know-how, and just the right amount of charm to win over the right people. Done, done and done.


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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.