Stretch Your Dollar: Tips that may lower your rent

(WTNH)— It’s been the focus of political promises and slogans. The rent is just too high. According to a new study, millions of Americans cannot afford their rent.

We are stretching your dollar with tips that may help lower your bills.

Many of you rent and know all too well how hard it is to make ends meet each month. But the new year may be a great time to make some changes to bring those bills down.

Nearly half of renters can’t afford their rent. According to a Harvard report, almost 21 million people were considered burdened by the price of their rent in 2016. Meaning more than 30 percent of income is dedicated to housing and utilities.

Related: Consumer Watch: Rising rent

Some are in even worse shape. 25 percent of renters pay more than half of their income for housing.

Losing such a big chunk of your check can impact your savings and force tough spending decisions down the road. Like deciding whether to pay rent or pay for food.

There is some good news. An improving economy and rising paychecks have helped ease the burden for some renters. But, affluent renters, combined with high building and land costs, are driving the prices up.

You may be able to lower payments. Try to switch providers every year. Call your cable company to see if you can negotiate a lower rate. Or cut the cord and switch to a streaming service.

Consider getting a roommate. The new person could help you cut costs in half.

If you are a good renter, haggle with your landlord. Try to talk the company out of raising your rent when it comes time to renew.

If an appliance breaks, ask your landlord about getting credit on your next rent statement. Especially if you have to spend money while you wait for that appliance to get fixed.

Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to have a conversation. It just may help keep your costs down.

It’s also important to know your rights as renter.

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