Can’t Afford Rent? Here’s How to Bounce Back

You’ve already spent your paycheck. You’ve almost drained your bank account. And now you’re worried about paying your rent, which is due in five days. First, know that you’re not alone. Lots of people run into financial problems and can’t afford to pay their rent. Don’t be embarrassed. Second, don’t freak out. There are ways to cope with this situation that can help you bounce back quickly. Here are six of them.

1. Talk to your landlord.

Don’t hide your inability to pay rent from your landlord. Instead, be upfront with him or her about your financial difficulties. The landlord might be able to work out an arrangement that’ll let you stay in your apartment—like a one-month extension on your rent—while you’re trying to get your finances in order.

Don’t let more than a month go by without paying your rent, though. Otherwise, you could be facing an eviction notice.

2. Seek financial help.

Various programs are available to help you cover housing expenses if you’re in danger of losing your apartment. Contact your local United Way, a local tenants’ advocacy group, or another local nonprofit agency for more information about programs in your area that can help you.

3. Cut expenses.

No one wants to give up their Netflix membership or similar services. However, if it’s a matter of having a place to live or binge-watching your favorite Netflix show, you should stick with keeping a roof over your head. You can catch up on that Netflix show after you’ve gotten back on track with your rent.

This won’t help you pay the rent right away, of course, but it will help ensure there’s enough money to pay the rent moving forward.

4. Get a second job.

You’re already hustling at your current job. But you may need a side hustle to generate more income so you can afford to pay rent. Perhaps you can get a part-time gig at a retail store. Or maybe you can start driving for Uber or Lyft.

Your second gig doesn’t need to be permanent. Even a temporary job can help lift you out of financial trouble.

5. Set up a budget.

If you’re struggling to pay the rent, then you’re probably having trouble paying other bills, too.

To prevent future financial problems, create a household budget so you can track income versus expenses. You can find free tools or apps online (check out for more information). You also can get budgeting help from a nonprofit credit-counseling agency. To find an agency in your area, visit the website of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

6. Create an emergency fund.

Once you’ve squared away your rent situation, you should look to the future. The best way to do that is by establishing an emergency fund (and by emergency, we don’t mean a vacation in Cancun).

Experts recommend that your emergency fund have enough money to cover living expenses for at least three to six months.

Ideally, your emergency fund should be separate from the bank account that you use for everyday expenses. This might be, for instance, a savings account that’s attached to your checking account.

If your rent problem is a long-term one, you can’t afford to stay in your current apartment, or you get evicted, turn to ApartmentSearch. We’ll match you with an affordable apartment that eases your finances. Plus, when you mention ApartmentSearch in your lease, you get a $200 reward. Talk about a win-win!