Forking out a load of cash on rent each week is something us young Aussie renters have just come to accept. But it turns out that nearly 50% of us are in, what the ABS call, ‘rental stress’, which doesn’t sound too great. So what exactly is rental stress?

Well, basically, it seems you feel a uniquely crappy financial burden when 30% or more of your income goes towards rent.

What’s interesting, however, is that new research from realestate.com.au found that a whopping 72% still think that the price we pay is ‘fair’, meaning many of us are blatantly unaware that we’re actually paying too much on our place.

So, in addition to the quick percentage test (30%), we’ve compiled a load of telltale signs that your rent might be causing you more stress than necessary.

1. You Live Paycheque-To-Paycheque

If you’re one of those people who says “thank god we get paid today, I only have $2 left in my account”, chances are you’re probably dropping too much dosh on your place. Of course, we all have weeks when we spend more than others, like over Christmas or during birthday season, but if this is becoming the norm, something ain’t working.

2. You’re Constantly Transferring Money Across From Your Savings

If you go to pay for things and constantly find your card declined at the cashier, we needn’t remind you that this is a pretty bad feeling. Then you have to do that frantic switcheroo on accounts, often with minimum reception (typical), all to just buy a loaf of bread. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to turn into a bout of nerves every time you go to do the groceries or buy a drink at the bar?

3. Or, You’re Not Saving Anything

Enough said. It’s hard to save anything when you’re barely making it through on what you’ve got.

4. Your Mates Tell You You’re Paying Too Much

This one sounds pretty damn obvious but, when it comes to renting, people who are a similar age to you, who are also renting, are likely your best gauge for determining what is the average market rate. So maybe hear them out, and ask how much rent they’re paying.

5. You Bills Often Get Bounced Back

The prospect of having your phone, internet or electricity cut off because of ‘insufficient funds’ is going to amp up the baseline stress levels of even the chill-est folks.

These expenses, however, aren’t ‘negotiables’, so it might be time to for you to start reprioritising your finances from most to least important. You might find that living where you live doesn’t make much financial or logical sense after all.

How did you go? Do you tick one or two of these or pretty much all of them? If you can identify with the whole damn lot, it might be time to start making some changes to help keep you cool as a cucumber in the rental department.

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