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How to save money on housing costs

Get a handle on your housing budget

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With inflation at the highest level in 40 years, each of us is looking for ways to save money. Housing is a significant expense for most families, and finding ways to save on housing can be a big relief. Here are 10 tips that will save you money on housing costs.

These tips come from YouCanDealWithIt.com. This website is a public service of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and American Education Services.

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1. Rent a room

Key with house-shaped keychain in lock to doorway.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / marchmeena29

Downsizing to a smaller home will decrease housing expenses.

If you own your home, why not rent one of the rooms? A steady income from a rent check will help you cover monthly expenses or maybe even a big chunk of your mortgage. And if you are looking to save, those rent checks are a great way to build up an emergency fund and beyond.

To find a renter, try advertising in your area. And you may want to spread the word through family and friends that you are looking for a renter. Your personal network may yield just the right rental candidate for the room in your home.

2. Make the move to a smaller home

The bigger a home, the more it costs to maintain it. Do you really need or use all the rooms in your house? If you can get by in a smaller living space, do so and your wallet will thank you. After all, when it comes to living cheaply, small is best. So, don’t be afraid to downsize to a smaller, more affordable space.

3. Move away from the city

Homes usually cost more in metropolitan areas and less in suburbs and rural areas. If you like country and suburban living, you’ll pay less for housing. So move to a quieter living space and leave the big city living to others. But don’t forget about commuting costs. How often will you be heading into the city? Factor in these costs in your budget.

4. Get a bigger insurance deductible

A deductible is the amount you pay before an insurance company begins to pay on a claim. Opting for a larger home insurance deductible will lower your insurance premium. But if you ever file an insurance claim, you’ll pay more because of the higher deductible. So be prepared and set aside your deductible amount in an emergency fund. This way, the money will be there if you need it.

5. Get a roommate

Person holding moving box while going up flight of stairs.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Anchiy

Splitting rent and utilities with a roommate will lower housing costs.

If you’re a renter, share a home with a roommate instead of getting your own place. You’ll split rent and utilities, lower your housing costs, and have plenty of company to boot.

Need help finding a roommate? Diggz and Roommates.com are sites that allow you to search for roommates in your area. When choosing a roommate service, be sure to do some research on the company. Does the company have a clean track record? You want to trust the company leading you to your next roommate.

6. Choose an affordable rental area

How much you pay for rent varies based on the age and location of the rental. Be sure to shop around for the most affordable unit with the amenities that you want. Many neighborhoods have lots of different options for renters. So take the time to really look around. An affordable unit may be smaller or a little farther from public transportation. So consider these things when you are checking out a lower-priced rental unit.

7. Save on electricity

These easy tips will help lower your electric bills. Turn off lights when you are not in a room, switch to low-energy light bulbs, unplug any appliance you are not using, and dry laundry on a clothesline or drying rack instead of using a dryer.

8. Trim heating costs

Person adjusting the in-home thermometer mounted on wall.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Andrew_Howe

Surprisingly, constantly adjusting your thermostat can potentially save you some big bucks.

Here are a few ways to cut back on heating costs.

Don’t keep your thermostat at the same temperature. You’ll want to turn down the thermostat by at least 10 degrees when you leave the house. It will save you on heating costs, and you can always turn the heat back up when you get home.

Weatherproof your doors and windows. Make sure your heating vents are free to circulate the heat throughout your home. Move any items that may be blocking the vents. Insulate your attic. Open your drapes in the morning to let the sun's warmth in and close your drapes at night to keep the heat inside your house.

9. Cut water costs

Save on water by conserving water use. Take short showers and don’t keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Only use your washing machine and dishwasher when you have enough for a full load and follow these other water-saving tips.

10. Trim back cable and Internet costs

Drop cable and sign up for streaming services instead. A streaming service or two may be all you need and it’s much less expensive than cable. If you want to keep your cable, only pay for the premium channels you use. Bundling cable and Internet services with the same company will save you money. Look for bundled deals and don’t be afraid to negotiate and comparison shop for the best deal.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.