In 2020, the temporary national eviction moratorium provided some relief to millions of struggling renters. But when it came to an end in October 2021, despite countless ongoing COVID-related income concerns, many were left worrying about what would happen next.
So, how many people are behind on rent? And what can you do about it if you’re one of them? While there’s no longer a moratorium preventing eviction proceedings, there are financial planning tips and national or state-based resources that can help.
With all the budgeting advice going around out there, it can start to feel like you’re listening to a broken record. But we’re all talking about it for a reason. Having your budget written or typed out somewhere and regularly revisiting it is essential to your financial health.
So, break out that budget and see if it can be updated or adjusted to help you get back on track. Is there anything that can be taken away to reduce your overall expenses, like canceling unused subscriptions? Can you save on groceries by following a budget-friendly meal plan?
Or is there anything that you’re overpaying for that could potentially be lowered?
Some of our most common bills can be negotiated. Auto insurance, renters’ insurance, and cell phone bills are a few examples. Call your providers and politely ask them if you’re eligible for any discounts. For example, if you’re working from home or driving fewer miles than you used to, you may be eligible for a usage-based discount on your insurance.
If you don’t have any luck negotiating discounts on your bills, consider switching providers to lock in cheaper rates. Experts recommend browsing your insurance options every six months, as rates fluctuate frequently, and you may get a better deal elsewhere.
Saving what you can is the easiest way to start getting caught up. When you run out of ways to move the needle this way, it’s time to turn to making more money and identifying potential external resources.
When you’re behind on your bills, there are two benefits of spending a day or two decluttering. One is that it can help you make a little extra income to move in the right direction, and the other is that decluttering can be emotionally cleansing and help reduce stress.
Old clothes that are still in good condition and unused toys, electronics, games, and more can be sold online to make a quick extra buck and help you get caught up.
Earning extra income might mean picking up extra hours at work, negotiating a raise, or spending some time on a side hustle outside of work hours. Uber Eats is always looking for delivery drivers, and Instacart needs shoppers and drivers, too.
Online tutoring is a side hustle that you can work into your schedule from the comfort of your own home, as are transcription, freelancing, and reselling. If you’re expecting a tax refund and haven’t filed yet, now would also be a good time to get a jump on your tax return.
Now, this option won’t work for everyone. It may be difficult if you have young children, limited space, or other restraints. As a renter, your lease may also explicitly state that you can’t sublet any unused space to additional renters.
But if you have the space and your landlord allows it, renting out an extra room can help significantly cut your portion of the housing expenses. If you decide to rent out some space, we recommend using a service like Airbnb that runs background checks on potential guests.
If the end of the rent moratorium has left you scrambling, there are several financial moves left to make. The steps listed above can help you move your money in the right direction. But what do you do when these steps aren’t enough?
Our last recommendation for getting and staying current on your rent bills is to take advantage of any available renter resources, including: