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Become a money savvy tenant


Kate Wick

By Kate Wick

3 min read

Australians all around the country are increasingly feeling the pinch in their pockets. As a result, your savings account might be looking increasingly sparse as the cost of living down under steadily climbs. 

As David Jacobs, Dilhan Perera and Thomas Williams wrote in a Reserve Bank of Australia bulletin for this year's March quarter:

"The cost of living is a source of significant concern for households. This is likely to reflect concerns about both the level of prices and the rate of inflation."

Indeed, National Australia Bank's Consumer Anxiety Index rated it as the biggest concern for consumers over the March quarter. The cost of living even ranking higher than health and government policy. 

No doubt, those who have recently flown the coop have felt this more than anyone else. Living away from home for the first time is hard enough without having to juggle your finances. These tips, however, should help you stay afloat and keep your savings account in order while you continue your renting adventure. 

Be savvy with living costs

The most basic way to save money while renting is of course to be careful with how you spend it. True, some costs are unavoidable – power and water are pretty essential. And unfortunately, the price of electricity continues to rise, increasing by 102.5 percent over the past 10 years until 2012, according to the latest Energy Supply Association of Australia report.

But you can limit how much you spend on these utilities. Most landlords will cover the service charges for water but make sure you check this on your rental agreement before you sign. You will have to cover all electricity costs so be vigilant with turning off appliances such as televisions, lights and kitchen technology at the wall. Leaving these on all day and night may not seem like much, but it can make a huge dent when the bills come in. 

Limit your expenses in other ways, too. With petrol prices rising higher, start using public transport or cycling more. When it comes to food, shop around for the cheapest prices – you could even have the whole flat pitch in for some communal food that everyone will use, such as vegetables, dairy products and spices.

Get a joint account

Speaking of pitching in, while you're all living under the same roof, you're all in it together. If you have a stable living situation where no one's going to leave anytime soon, try opening up a joint account for the whole flat. This can make the process of paying off all of your various weekly expenses much faster and less complicated.

Money for rent, groceries, bills and miscellaneous expenses can all get deposited straight in from the various flatmates' accounts. From here, you can set up automatic payments to take care of bills and the rent, which means less late penalties. Some utility providers may even offer an early-bird or on-time payment discount, so use this to your advantage!

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