There are several ways to lower your housing costs — and free up more cash for other things.
- New data reveals that Americans spend more on housing than any other bill.
- Whether you rent a home or own one, there are ways to cut that expense if it’s getting to be too much.
The average American spends $5,111 a month, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But whether you own a home or rent one, chances are, housing is your greatest monthly expense.
The average American spends $1,784 a month on housing, making up almost 35% of total spending. But that’s not what the typical American spends on a rent or mortgage payment alone. Rather, that $1,784 includes utilities and other types of household maintenance.
Either way, if your housing expenses are eating up too much of your income, there are steps you can take to lower them. Here are a few worth considering if money has gotten tight.
1. Get a roommate
Rent costs have been rising over the past year, and if yours has gotten too expensive, splitting that expense with a roommate could buy you a lot more financial flexibility. You might also be able to share other expenses with a roommate, like cable and internet service. Of course, you could always try negotiating with your landlord if your rent has spiked. But if that doesn’t work, a roommate may be your best bet.
2. Refinance your mortgage
If you own a home, refinancing could make your monthly mortgage payments more affordable. Although mortgage rates have been higher this year than last year, they’re still fairly competitive on a historical basis. If you’re able to lower the interest rate on your mortgage substantially, you might slash your monthly payments in the process.
3. Be mindful of water and electricity usage
The average American spends $347 a month on utility costs. But a few changes in your habits could result in lower bills.
For one thing, get into the habit of turning lights off when you leave the room and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use. That means shutting your laptop down at night rather than having it run while you’re sleeping. Taking shorter showers could also slash your water bills quite a bit, as could waiting until …….