“If you teach a man anything, he will never learn” George Bernard Shaw
For most Australians, renting can be made to feel like you’re putting your life on hold. We have only good news: as a renter, you can live large on less and pursue something more meaningful than just living to work. All we ask is that you follow a few simple instructions:
- Keep an open mind
Rarely is one person 100% right and the other 100% wrong. Use the ideas that make sense to you and if some ideas don’t sit well with you, that’s ok.
- You only learn by doing
Ideas come to life when you try them out. You can read about how much money or time something will save you but you’ll only really discover this for yourself by trying it.
- Make one or two big changes at a time
Some of the ideas in Smart Renting are very easy to implement while others require a change of habit. Good habits are like a muscle that is built up over time so give yourself the time to adjust. For example, if you chose to go car free, allow a month or two to adjust before making another big change.
- Dealing with family or friends that you live with
The easiest changes to make are the ones that affect the person in the household the most who is making the change. For more challenging changes, there’s a few ways to soften them for other household members:
- Listen to and address any concerns that other household members might have.
- Point out the big picture benefits such as financial or time savings, opportunities for adventure or health benefits, though don’t get too preachy as people tend to follow example more than argument.
- Start with areas that household members are familiar with; for example, Australians are generally very aware about saving water around the house.
- Offer a period to try out a new idea and agree to can it if other household members find that it’s not working for them. Often it’s the change itself that people can be fearful of and once they’ve had the opportunity to try a new idea for a short time, it generally takes hold.
- Be willing to negotiate and compromise if need be. Sometimes getting most of the way towards what you want is better than pushing for 100% and getting nothing.
If you have a spouse or partner who is absolutely unwilling to accept any change, try splitting your savings into two savings accounts, allowing each of you to use this money for whatever you like; if your spouse sees that you have amassed enough savings to work less and enjoy life more, this is likely to heighten their curiosity.
- Change should be fun, not deprivation
Living large on less is not about restriction, it’s about opening lots of new doors. For example, cutting home energy use is not about being cold and miserable; it’s about using heating energy in a smart way to keep you warm and comfortable, allowing you to be comfortable in areas where heating is not available and to put more money back in your pocket in energy savings.
- Mistakes happen
And when mistakes happen, provided they are not enormous, they can teach you a lot. So don’t feel bad if it happens. The biggest mistake is not trying.
- The difference between surplus and struggle
If you are struggling to meet your basic needs, the aim of using Smart Renting may be a way for you to cut certain costs in some areas so that you can free up money to spend in other areas where it’s needed rather than building up savings, at least in the short term.
- Know the difference between a smart renter and a very smart renter
We have created what we call a smart renter and very smart renter. Becoming a smart renter is easy and you should spend $20000 a year less than the average Australian household. Becoming a very smart renter is a little more hands on but should save the average Australian household $30000 a year and provide a buffer for financial and energy shocks and even natural disasters to a degree.
- Smart Renting works for home owners too
If you own your own home, don’t be put off by the “Smart Renting” title; all of these ideas will work in your home and some can be made even easier if you can make modifications to your home.
- Smart Renting works in other countries too
Although the ideas on Smart Renting were mostly developed in Australia and Germany, there’s no reason why most of them can’t work in other countries.
So there it is, ten simple instructions for getting the most out of Smart Renting. These don’t have to be followed diligently but can be handy to keep in the back of your mind as you read about the ideas on Smart Renting and put them to good use. Here’s to your success!