How to Approach Your Landlord If You Can’t Pay Rent Next Month

If you’ve been out of work and can’t pay rent, the end of the federal moratorium on evictions is guaranteed to dredge up a ton of stress. But now’s not the time to bury your head in the sand.

By exercising your negotiation muscle, you may be able to strike a deal with your landlord that prevents the worst-case scenario: getting kicked out of your home.

Negotiating a Deal With Your Landlord If You Can’t Pay Rent

When you think you can’t pay rent for the upcoming month, it’s best to talk to your landlord sooner rather than later. Even if you’ve been letting late payment notices stack up, coming to a fair agreement with your landlord can help alleviate some of that financial stress.

Here’s what you should do.

First, Know Your Rights

Matt Koz, finance director for the Tenant Resource Center in Madison, Wisc., recommends that renters do their due diligence to research the eviction laws in their area and see if their city, county or state has a moratorium on eviction proceedings during the pandemic.

There may be an eviction moratorium in your local area that extends past the federal moratorium. For example, New York City’s rental eviction moratorium is in place through the end of August.

Being educated about the tenant laws in your state doesn’t just give peace of mind about whether or not your landlord can evict you during this crisis. It can also help you decide how to best proceed when reaching out to your landlord.

For example, Koz said there could be laws where you live that make it disadvantageous to pay partial rent, if you were thinking of suggesting that to your landlord.

“In some cases, it may be better not to offer terms and wait to see what recourse is available to you,” he said.

Approach Your Landlord with Empathy

You may just think of your landlord as a faceless entity that takes the biggest single chunk of your money every month. But a little kindness can go a long way.

“Lead with empathy,” advises Michael Thomas, an accredited financial counselor and faculty member at the University of Georgia. “It’s very easy to become self-absorbed when we’re experiencing a financial shock.”

He says taking the time out to ask how your landlord is doing and working to establish a relationship can make them more willing to work with you. Understanding where each person is coming from can lead to a resolution that’s best for both parties.

Provide Realistic Solutions

Offering up a solution to your situation can show your willingness to work with your landlord.

You might propose to make a partial payment with a promise to pay the remainder of the rent by a certain date. If you don’t know when you’d be able to make the remaining payment, Koz said it’s reasonable to make an agreement based upon a specific occurrence.

For example, you might ask if you can pay the remainder once your kids’ school starts and you can pick up more hours at work.

Instead of suggesting a partial payment, you could ask to skip paying for one month and spread that payment over the remainder of your lease if you think you’ll be able to pay the following month. Or you could negotiate for an overall reduction in rent given that you sign a new lease locking you in for a longer term.

Another option: Ask your landlord to apply your security deposit to the upcoming rent payment, agreeing to replace it at a later date. Or if you paid your last month’s rent upfront when you first signed your lease, you could ask to apply that money to next month’s rent.

Pro Tip

When trying to come up with a rent solution for the upcoming month, make sure you’re not creating a worse financial situation for yourself later on.

Something else you might consider is bartering. For example, you could agree to do landscape work for your landlord’s properties in exchange for a break on rent.

When trying to strike a deal, Thomas suggests coming up with at least three plausible solutions that work for your budget.

“Go with your best-case scenario first,” he said.

If your landlord won’t agree to that, ask for their input on mitigating the situation before presenting your other options.

Get Agreements in Writing

If you and your landlord are able to agree on an alternative plan for paying rent, make sure to get that deal in writing.

“If [your landlord] were to come back and say we didn’t agree to that, [you can say]: Actually we did and here’s proof,” said Pamela Capalad, a New York-based Certified Financial Planner and founder of Brunch and Budget.

Putting things in writing also helps eliminate misinterpretations of your agreement, she said.

However, when signing a lease addendum or other paperwork, don’t rush into a contract with terms you don’t understand.

“If you’re not sure what you’re signing, you can always try to contact a tenants rights organization or an attorney,” Koz said. “Whatever you sign is something that you’re held to. If you don’t meet the terms of that agreement, you’re back where you started.”

Remember, You’re Not Alone

You may experience shame over not paying rent or fear over potentially losing your home, but try not to let that lead you to making drastic decisions.

“The thing I would recommend, if you can avoid it, is to not take out loans to pay rent,” Capalad said.

It can be comforting to put things in perspective and realize you’re not the only one who can’t pay your rent right now, she said.

4 Additional Solutions If You Can’t Pay Rent

In the event that your landlord won’t budge on requiring you to pay your rent in full, it’s good to have a backup plan. Here are a few ideas.

1. Seek Housing Assistance

Look into local housing assistance or eviction prevention programs for emergency funding to help keep you in your home.

The United Way’s 211 network is a great way to connect to resources in your community. Other charities, like Modest Needs, may also be able to help. Your landlord may even know of housing assistance options in your area.

2. Bring In a Roommate

If you can find a good roommate, you can split housing expenses and lower your financial obligation. Just make sure you properly vet the potential roommate and your landlord approves of the new tenant.

Subleasing your place could be another route to take, provided your landlord allows it and you have somewhere else you can crash in the meantime.

3. Sell Something

Make some extra dough by selling unwanted items around your home. Put that money toward the rent.

You can even make sales while practicing social distancing. Check out these 14 websites for selling things online.

4. Get Another Gig

Get money for rent by landing a new job — or securing a second source of income.

Consider a side gig, like a food delivery driver or a pet sitter, where you’re paid based on how much work you take on. These jobs often pay faster than traditional jobs that run on a biweekly schedule.

Many retailers and restaurants are hiring to make up for a shortage of workers. Some are even offering sweet sign-on bonuses.

Now is also a great time to find a job where you can work remotely. There are several gigs that are perfect for doing virtually, like freelance writing. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s work-from-home job portal for new job opportunities posted every weekday.

Feeling overwhelmed? Create a budget that works for you with our budgeting bootcamp!

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

7 Tips for a Back-to-School Budget That Doesn’t Break the Bank

Back-to-school season comes around the same time every year, but like the holidays, it has a tendency to sneak up on parents — and their bank accounts. 

Last year, the National Retail Federation estimated that parents would spend a record average of $789.49 doing back-to-school shopping for children in elementary, middle or high school and about $1,059.20 shopping for college-aged kids. That’s a lot of money for pencils and glue (and Macbooks).

If you don’t want to get hit off guard with hundreds of dollars in expenses, you’ve got to plan ahead and be a smart shopper. Here are seven strategies for reining in your back-to-school budget.

7 Tips to Keep Your Back-to-School Budget on Track

These seven tips on creating a back-to-school budget can make shopping a little more bearable.

1. Total Up Everything You Need

Start with the list of requested school supplies provided by your child’s teacher or school district. Take inventory of what supplies you already have at home. Go through your kid’s dressers and closets to see what clothes and shoes they can still fit into before going out to buy a new wardrobe.

When creating your list, don’t forget the costs that aren’t obvious. For example, do you need to stock up on masks and hand sanitizer? Will you need to buy uniforms or equipment for sports or other after-school activities? Will your child need a physical before heading back to school?

2. Establish Your Spending Limit

It’s important to create a spending limit you’re comfortable with and that covers the basics. Going school shopping without a budget will only set you up for overspending.

Once you have your shopping list together, you can start pricing items, even if you don’t plan on actually buying anything until closer to the start of the upcoming school year. Create your budget based on regular retail prices rather than current sales. Overestimating your expenses will give you a little wiggle room when it’s actually time to shop.

After you’ve totaled up how much you expect to spend, do you have enough money? If not, you’ll have to adjust. 

3. Pad Your Back-to-School Shopping Budget

Earning extra money can always provide a little financial stress relief. That holds true for back-to-school season. 

Ask your employer about picking up extra shifts or working overtime. Find a temporary side gig, like dog walking, delivering groceries or doing odd jobs via TaskRabbit.

If you have older children, you could have them chip in on a portion of their school expenses — especially if they’re asking for pricey, name-brand clothing and school supplies. 

Talk to your teens about school shopping expectations. Have them share some of the cost of items that don’t fall within your budget.

4. Create a Sinking Fund For School Supplies

A sinking fund is a pool of money that you add to over time to break a large expense into more affordable chunks.

Let’s say you’ve estimated you’ll spend $600 for the back-to-school season, and you get paid three times before school starts. Each payday, you should set aside $200 in your sinking fund to cover the upcoming expenses.

If you take money from your existing savings to start the sinking fund now, you can take out less each paycheck.

Setting up a direct deposit or automatic transfer will help you save money in your sinking fund without even thinking about it.

5. Implement Challenges to Save Money

Saving money can be difficult, especially when you don’t have much time. Saving challenges can help you put aside more money than you’d think.

If you shop using cash, challenge yourself to save a certain denomination whenever it hits your wallet. Perhaps you save all the $5 bills you get as change. 

If you typically pay for things with a debit card, your money-saving challenge could involve rounding up each purchase to the nearest $5 increment and putting that difference toward your school expense savings.

Or try a no-spend challenge. Implement a 30-day freeze on discretionary spending so you have more money to pay for school supplies and related gear.

6. Be a Smart Shopper

Between now and the start of school, you’ll encounter enough sales promotions that it’d be foolish to pay full retail price for anything.

In addition to taking advantage of great deals, here are some other smart back-to-school shopping strategies to keep in mind:

The older your children get, the more opinionated they’ll probably be about what they want for the new school year. Talk to your kids about the cost of their school supplies and ask what is most important to them. 

After identifying a couple select splurge items, find ways to get everything else for less. It’s a great way to teach your kids about how to budget.

7. Figure Out Which Expenses You Can Delay

You don’t always have to buy everything in time for the first day.

Your kids may not need new clothes right away, especially if the weather is still warm and they don’t have to wear fall clothes yet. 

If you can, hold off a few weeks or more on buying the “fun” supplies, like new backpacks and lunchboxes. Retailers often will have great discounts after the back-to-school rush has died down and they are trying to get rid of that merchandise.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Dear Penny: My Mom Agreed to Pay for My Wedding, Then Got Cold Feet

Dear Penny,
Related Posts
Some people reading this will no doubt cast you off as an ungrateful daughter. I don’t think this is the case here. It’s tough when someone tells you they’ll pay for something, then backs out. If your wedding day is close, you probably don’t have a ton of options for cutting costs that you would have had if your mom had spoken up sooner.
I got engaged in January 2021 and was very excited to start wedding planning right away. My mom and I were both extremely excited and went straight away to setting a budget and getting into the planning process. 
I recently have begun to draw the line with her, but that just makes her upset. I don’t want to go broke in the process trying to make everyone happy, but I also feel like a terrible daughter. 
Wedding budgets are notorious for spiraling out of hand. It’s not surprising that your mom is feeling some sticker shock, particularly if she agreed to pay for certain expenses without setting a dollar limit on her contribution. Even if you’ve stayed within budget, understand where your mom is coming from. No matter how prepared you are for a big expense, paying for it can be painful.

Ready to stop worrying about money?
You say you’ve tried to “draw the line” with your mom. But have you tried talking to her from a place of concern about the panic she feels?
Dear A.,


Yes, your mom has had more time to make money than you have. But she also has less time to earn back whatever money she’s spending. Archaic rules about who pays for what in a wedding put a ton of pressure on parents to agree to a wedding budget that’s often more than they can afford.
I have already paid for one or two things because I feel obligated to help my mom with as much as possible, but I have not had as long to establish myself financially as she has. My budget is somewhat limited, while hers is let’s say flexible. 
You may find that she’s worried about whether she has enough money saved. Or if you have siblings, she may be worried that they’ll expect the same contribution if they get married. It’s easy to look at a parent who’s always been a good provider and assume they have plenty of resources. But often, their finances aren’t quite as solid as you’d expect.
-A.
She originally agreed to pay for the reception and some of the ceremony. We now have pretty much everything sorted, but as we get closer and closer to the wedding date she is getting more stressed about the money. I am, of course, happy, but every time I turn around, my mom is asking me to contribute more and more toward her part of what she agreed to pay for. 
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
I’m assuming it’s too late to take major cost-cutting measures, like reducing the headcount or changing venues. But you still have other options. Could you and your fiance offer to pay her back for part of her costs over time? Could you earn extra income between now and the wedding to shoulder a bit more of the costs? Or perhaps, your fiance’s parents help out with a few more expenses.
Perhaps this conversation will give your mom clarity about whether she really can afford all these costs. If you’ve kept costs reasonable and she’s not worried about her savings, maybe this conversation will reinforce the facts. But if you find that your wedding expenses are causing her serious anxiety, I think you should do whatever you can to lift some of that burden off of her.
Get the Penny Hoarder Daily

I get that your mom’s change of heart is frustrating. But lots of couples pay for a significant part of their wedding, if not the entire event, even when they’re just starting out. You’ll enjoy your wedding a lot more knowing your mom isn’t having a panic attack as you exchange your vows.

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