Whether you're a seasoned renter or just beginning your rental journey, creating and maintaining a budget is essential for financial peace of mind. Let's dive into the steps to create a rental budget and explore some tips to help you save money along the way. 

Creating a Rental Budget 

Determine Your Income 

The foundation of any budget begins with understanding your total amount of income. Keep track of all your revenue streams including your salary, freelance work and any supplementary earnings. Knowing exactly how much you bring in each month can empower you to set achievable financial objectives and distribute funds sensibly. 

List Your Expenses 

Next, craft a comprehensive list of your monthly expenses, such as rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, insurance, entertainment and any other regular activities. Knowing your largest payments is vital, as it can help pinpoint areas where you can potentially trim costs. 

Prioritize Your Expenses 

Once you've outlined your expenses, prioritize them based on their significance. Rent (likely your largest monthly expense) should take precedence, followed by essential utilities, including electricity and water. Then, you can allocate funds for groceries, transportation, your phone bill and any other monthly charges. This ensures that your budget caters to the most crucial elements first and is prepared to take on more minor costs going forward.  

Set a Realistic Budget 
Setting a realistic budget will help renters reach their goals faster and avoid overspending.

Now that you have a clear picture of your income and expenses, it's time to establish a realistic budget. Assign a specific portion of your income to each expense category, staying mindful of your financial boundaries. Remember to leave room for savings and unforeseen emergencies, as it is always wise to be prepared for unexpected costs—also, factor in items such as maintenance fees or pet expenses associated with your rental property. 

Automate Payments 

If you want to eliminate the burden of needing to remember your bills’ due dates, we advise setting up automatic payments. This guarantees payments to be made on time and alleviates the stress of late fees or missed payments altogether. If you live in an Avenue Living Communities building, don't overlook the auto-pay option for your rent, as all our residents have access to Zenbase (see Zenbase section below) and our PAD (Pre-authorized Debit) program. With PAD, you have the option to arrange automatic rent payments directly from your debit card to us. Setting this up is simple—just reach out to your property manager. 

Track Your Budget 

Once you have your budget, sticking to it requires diligence. We suggest regularly monitoring your spending to ensure alignment with your budget plan. Consider reassessing your allocations if you are consistently overspending in certain areas. The Canadian Government has several resources for you to utilize, like a budget planner, financial goal calculator, and so much more!   

To access those tools: CLICK HERE    

Open Communication with Your Building Management 

Maintaining open communication with your building management team is vital for managing expenses effectively. Engaging in dialogue may be wise if you encounter financial challenges or have concerns about specific costs, as they can direct you to the proper resources or offer alternative solutions. Additionally, if you are an Avenue Living Communities resident, you can reach out to our Customer Experience Centre with any inquiries.  

Opt for Renters’ Insurance 

Remember to include renters insurance in your budget, as it can safeguard your belongings against theft, fire and other unforeseen occurrences. Some lease agreements, such as those with Avenue Living Communities, require this insurance. This is put in place to protect your belongings and to safeguard yourself in an emergency. Renters insurance is often relatively affordable; even if this expense seems like a stretch at first, it can prove beneficial in the long term. 

Cut Costs in Your Budget 
Try to find ways to cut costs in your budget to not only save money, but to reach your goals.

To effectively manage your expenses and optimize your budget, try to find opportunities to reduce your monthly costs. For instance, you may decide to embrace cooking at home, utilizing utility-saving hacks or exploring budget-friendly alternatives to meet your needs. Even the smallest changes can lead to substantial savings over time to grow closer to achieving your financial goals more efficiently. Below are some tips to guide you in this journey: 

Embrace Move-In Specials 

Many rental properties entice new residents with move-in specials, such as discounted or waived rent. For instance, Avenue Living Communities offers several rental suites with a first-month discount!  

Explore our apartment rentals: HERE  

Tap into Community Resources 

One of the best ways to cut costs is to explore free or low-cost resources within your community. Public libraries or community centres can help you save on things you might not have previously considered. For instance, most libraries have access to Kanopy to access movies and television for free with only a library card! 

Consider Roommates 

Sharing your rental space with a roommate can significantly cut expenses. For instance, splitting rent and utility costs can decrease your biggest expense by half. So, if you can accommodate another person in your living situation, consider a roommate!  

See our blog on the benefits of having a roommate: HERE   

Unlock Zenbase Benefits 
If you are an Avenue Living Communities resident, you gain access to our partner Zenbase so you can split your rent and never worry about having to pay it in full again!

Renting with Avenue Living Communities grants you access to Zenbase, our valued partner offering automated rent payments. With Zenbase, you can enjoy the convenience of stress-free rent payments while building your credit. Using Zenbase will allow you to split your rent in half with two separate payments. Additionally, Zenbase will also report your rent payments to Equifax automatically, building your credit history in the process. This tool is a great way to take control of your finances and help you budget accordingly.   

For more information on this program: CLICK HERE   

Dine In More Often 

Another effective way to trim expenses from your budget is by cooking meals at home. Not only does this promote healthier eating habits, but it also saves a considerable amount of money compared to frequently dining out. We recommend making a grocery budget and exploring multiple stores to take advantage of the best available deals. And, as a plus, many of our properties are located near grocery stores, so you can pocket savings instead of taking those extra gas-guzzling trips!   

Leverage Vacancy Referrals 

Another way you can save on your rent is by taking advantage of renter’s discounts offered for filling vacancies or assisting property managers in resident recruitment. These opportunities can translate into discounts on your rent, helping you save even more money. If you choose to rent with Avenue Living Communities, you can access our Refer-A-Friend program and get $250 off your rent!  

For more information on our Refer-A-Friend program: CLICK HERE   

Reevaluate Entertainment Expenses 

If you are looking to make more room in your budget and have yet to consider switching your entertainment services, now is the perfect time. Every year, more and more Canadians are choosing to cancel their cable or streaming services altogether to save some cash. We suggest negotiating with your provider for a lower rate or consider downgrading your package to accommodate your budgetary constraints. Additionally, if you are an Avenue Living Communities resident, you can also take advantage of our partnership with TELUS, where you can get 25% off any TELUS Optik TV and internet. Alternatively, you can access movies and television shows for free through a local library.      

Energy-Efficiency Initiatives 

Other than rent, as one of your biggest expenses, utilities can also be a large component of your budget. To cut down on your utility bills, try these simple changes:  

- Opt for energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances  

- Turn off lights and electronic devices when not in use, as even standby modes consume energy 

- Set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature, utilizing layered clothing or fans for comfort without over-relying on HVAC systems to help reduce consumption  

- Ensure doors and windows are properly sealed to prevent heat loss in colder seasons and maintain coolness in warmer months 

These simple adjustments may seem minor, but they can collectively yield significant savings on your energy bills over time, promoting both financial stability and environmental responsibility. 

By implementing these strategies, you can navigate your rental budget with confidence and embrace a financially savvy lifestyle. At Avenue Living Communities, we're dedicated to supporting you every step of the way on your rental journey. Stay tuned for more insightful tips and resources to optimize your renting experience. 

by Avenue Living Communities