Renting for your future independence
Long-term rental housing support is essential for stabilizing families. While people are enrolled in public housing programs, the burden of finding housing is alleviated, allowing them to focus on other stability-building practices. While renting a home is sometimes talked about as “throwing money away,” leased housing is essential for families who are working to build credit and save money in hopes of becoming a homeowner. Here are a few ways to use your rental situation to support your future independence.
Renting can help you start saving.
When you’re renting, most of your expenses are going to be fixed. While your utility bill can fluctuate from month to month, your rent is going to stay the same. This makes it easier for you to build a budget. When you get your paycheck each month, start by subtracting all of your monthly bills — rent, estimated utilities, phone, etc. While some months you might use all of your paycheck, you might have some left over in others. No matter the amount you are able to put in, when you have money left over, you can put it into a savings account.
Savings accounts are special. They are meant to store money for longer periods of time than a checking account does. These accounts can also accumulate interest. This means that when you put money into the account, you can earn a couple of extra dollars each month while you’re saving. The point of a savings account is in the name. It’s for saving money — not spending it. However, this doesn't mean that you don’t have access to it anymore. In case there is an emergency or a big purchase you’ve been saving for, like a car, you’ll be able to use the funds.
Why should you be saving?
Saving money can help you meet goals or save up for a specific purpose — like putting a down payment on a house, buying a car or saving a nest egg to fall back on when you need it. The most important part of saving is to provide yourself with an extra layer of security. Having extra financial security can help you feel more confident in your ability to be independent outside of a public assistance program. When there are months where expenses are more than what you have budgeted, you have the protection of your savings account to help you make ends meet.
If you’re wanting to learn to budget or start saving, programs like the Family Self-Sufficiency Program at Memphis Housing Authority can help. You’ll be able to make the most out of your earned income each month and reduce your reliance on government assistance programs. You’ll learn the ins and outs of starting and building a savings account, have a mentor who helps you achieve goals and overcome barriers and work on personal goal development.
Whether or not you choose to do it for the long term, renting can help a person start saving and feeling prepared to live more confidently outside of public assistance programs. Providing stable housing for you and your family is the most important part of the process of helping you feel more independent.