As we settle into a lockdown-less 2022, it can be easy to forget that the new year has not brought relief for everyone. Rent stress is a burden for many Aussies.
While most Australians have returned back to their stable full-time jobs, uncertainty about borders, prolonged mounting debts and skyrocketing rental prices continue to plague those who were hit hardest by the pandemic.
As a result, many Aussies have started the new year with existing financial stresses. In many cases, this includes dealing with pressures associated with renting a property. In order to start the year off fresh, here are a few ways to alleviate some of this rent stress.
1. Consider finding a roommate
If your rent is too exorbitant to face on your own and you have a spare room, check with your property manager if they would allow another person to come onto the rental agreement with you. If they agree, it will be super beneficial for you to have someone else to help cover the cost of rent.
To help find a person that fits the bill, think about tapping into your close circle of friends or family to see if they know anyone they would recommend.
Alternatively, you can post an ad on a social media group or page specific to finding roommates in your area.
A word of caution: make sure to do your homework on the potential roommate. Ask them the right questions during the interview process to guarantee they don’t have any red flags. Questions should cover whether they’re employed, if their references check out and your expectations of how you’ll share and live together.
2. Find a more affordable location
While it might be dreamy to live in the inner city or in a luxurious suburb, the reality is if you can’t afford it, there’s no point in putting yourself at risk of rent stress.
Instead, look at some of the less-expensive surrounding areas to see if there is a suburb you like that better suits your budget and financial needs. You never know, you might be able to afford a property much bigger than the one you’re currently in. Or snag yourself a spacious townhouse instead of a cardboard box sized apartment.
Platforms like Sorted Services can help you find and apply for available properties.
3. Revise your budget and set goals
To ensure your rental payments are a priority, it could be time to revise your current budget.
A budget provides you with a clear picture of where your cash is going. It also shows you how much money you need to put aside each pay check for your monthly obligations, including rent and household bills.
This is also a great opportunity to be critical about any unnecessary spending. While a $10 monthly subscription to a streaming service might seem harmless, it can add up over time.
It can also be a good idea to try to set some financial goals. This might include saving money for future home ownership, or being able to pay for up to six months of rent in advance. The right goals will encourage you to maintain healthy financial fitness.
Rent stress can be debilitating, so it’s important to consider options to help if you find yourself struggling.
You can always go to your property manager and discuss if a payment plan is an option to help you pull the funds together on time. Or if your situation is more extreme, the state government or not-for-profit organisations, such as Launch Housing in Victoria and the Red Cross nationwide can offer rent relief grants.