There once was a woman who found the apartment of her dreams. It was the right price, closer to friends and family, and a huge upgrade from the apartment she currently lived in. But there was a catch: Her lease wasn't up for another few months and the thought of breaking it was making her break out in hives.

If you're one of the 100 million Americans who rent, you're probably familiar with signing a lease—but you might not be as familiar with the clauses in the contract you actually agreed to.

Leases vary by state and property, so if you're looking to get out of one, the first thing to do is reexamine your contract. The next step is to consider the consequences of breaking it. Landlords can sue you for missed rent you've agreed to pay, which can mean additional legal costs, and a dent in your credit score if the outcome isn't in your favor. A landlord-tenant dispute can also make it harder to get approved for a new place when you're ready to move.

But before you completely give up on getting out early, there are a few options worth exploring.

Dig out that lease and check for the following:

  • A subletting clause

Some leases allow for subletters, which means if you can find a suitable person to rent your space from you for the same price—and potentially take over your lease when it expires, you're golden. The next step is to talk to your landlord about what they require and/or need to approve a sublease in order for you to start searching for someone to take over your place.

  • A 30-day notice clause

You may think you have a yearly lease, but if you read the fine print, it might be a month-to-month rental that only requires thirty days notice to move out. If this is the case, contact your landlord in writing with your 30-day notice (you should also check to see if the notice must be accordance with the first or last day of the month).

  • An early termination clause

Sometimes, landlords include a clause that lets you out of your lease early in cases of unexpected hardship. As Moneycrashers notes, this can include anything from losing your job to medical emergencies.

Have a conversation with your landlord:

Feel out your landlord by explaining your situation in soft terms (you're thinking of relocating and you're curious how flexible they are when it comes to an earlier lease expiration date). Ask whether they would be open to it, what kind of advance notice would be optimal for them, or if they'd be willing to consider an "out" if you found a suitable tenant to rent the apartment. They may welcome the chance to rent the apartment out earlier than expected, depending on when you're looking to move out. If they seem amenable, follow up in writing with your proposed dates.

Find a suitable tenant:

If your landlord agrees to let you out of your lease on the condition you find someone to replace you, you still have some work to do. It's time to do some glamour shots of your place, create a landlord approved listing and spread the word on social media. Be sure to include any stipulations your landlord will require—from credit checks to security deposits—so your prospective replacement comes prepared and ready to impress.

Check for breaches of contract:

Maybe you're ready to move because your apartment is unlivable. On your lease, you should find the clause wherein the landlord agrees to provide a "warranty of habitability"—or a safe, habitable environment that doesn't negotiate your well-being. Breaches of such an agreement may range from repeated infestations, mold issues, lack of heat or plumbing problems. You need to have proof that you've previously complained about the issue and that your landlord has been remiss in his or her duty to rectify the situation. Take pictures, make sure your complaints or requests are in writing. You may need to call on this evidence if your landlord does take you to court over your broken lease. For more on your rights as a renter and landlord requirements, check out this detailed breakdown.

If you're still out of luck, make your landlord an offer:

If breaking your lease isn't looking promising, prepare to fork over some cash—but hopefully not as much as you think. Depending on your relationship with your landlord, you still might have a shot at negotiating a deal. You could offer your security deposit or a set sum that benefits your landlord and gets you out of paying rent for the next several months on a place you're not prepared to live in. You could also see if your landlord is open to a long-term payment plan that would allow you to cover the lost rent in smaller deposits.

Ultimately, when it comes to breaking a lease, you have to weigh your options and how much you're willing to risk and spend. As for the woman who found her dream home (ahem, this writer), she ended up making a deal with her landlord and forfeiting her security deposit plus a month's rent in order to resolve her old lease. It was a financial hit in the short-term but now that she's settled into her new place she has zero regrets.

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I thought I had a pretty good handle on my finances out of school. I worked several jobs while attending university and had little to no problem managing my income. However, once I graduated, I realized how much more complicated personal accounting could really be.

There were so many variables I needed to keep track of. Biweekly bills, monthly charges, and general necessities amounted to a heap of confusing numbers that were often impossible to decipher. The funniest part was that I was actually trying to do this by hand (I don't know what I was trying to prove to myself, either).

After messing up for the 17th time, I decided to give Microsoft Excel a shot. I used Excel a bit in school and I knew all the big-wig finance people used it, so what could I possibly have to lose? The answer is about six hours of my precious time. Excel isn't much of an improvement over handwriting and it's still dependent on the user to manually input all of the information. It's like doing everything by hand with the slightest help, meaning that it still required a tremendous amount of time and concentration. Well that was all for nothing, I guess.

It's sort of funny. I was certain that I could manage my personal finances with ease, when it's practically a full-time job. I was already stressed out enough with my first job and I knew I didn't have enough time to give my finances the attention it deserved.

That's why I decided to try out a budgeting app. My best friend told me that he uses an app called Truebill to manage his finances. "What does it even mean to manage your finances?" I asked him. He told me that Truebill was the personal financial assistant I wished I could have. It could aggregate all of my account information into one place and give me specific insights and actions.

I loved the idea of having full control over my finances, especially during a time of financial uncertainty, and I realized that Truebill would be the easiest way to accomplish this. The user interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, so it doesn't even feel like a finance app! Truebill offers a multitude of features, with their most popular being the ability to cancel subscriptions with the press of a button.

Okay, I had no idea how many subscriptions I was still subscribed to. In fact, I wasn't even using a quarter of the subscription services I was signed up for. Subscription boxes, streaming services, my old gym, and even an old subscription to my favorite magazine--it was all there and I was livid. How could I let myself waste all of this money and how did I never catch this? Thank goodness for Truebill.

Truebill also offers bill negotiations. There is a 40% fee based on how much you save and Truebill even claims that there is an 85% chance that they'll be able to lower your bill once a negotiation is requested. Why wouldn't I take them up on this? There was zero risk and I would only have to pay once my bill was lowered (which means that I would be saving money regardless).

More standard features of Truebill include the ability to generate a credit report on-demand and even request a pay advance. I only used the pay advance feature once when I wanted to buy a gift for my mom, but didn't have enough cash in hand and Truebill automatically reimbursed itself when I got my next paycheck.

The credit report is another fantastic feature and practically taught me what good credit meant. Truebill's credit report basically shows you which financial decisions have the most significant impact on your credit score and ways that you can improve your credit month-over-month. I've never had such control over my credit and it feels good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was extremely naive coming out of school. I figured that as long as I was attentive, I could manage my finances with ease. We manage money to some extent throughout our entire lives, but once you're thrown out on your own, it's a completely different story. With Truebill, I've finally been able to take control over my finances and stay on top of all of my responsibilities.

Update: Our friends at Truebill are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to sign-up for Truebill.

My buddies and I always try to make it out to a game, but we never really care which one we end up at. Obviously we have our favorite sports and teams, but it was rarely about what game we went to or who we saw playing. It was about watching the game live.

In the early months of lockdown, all we had was Korean baseball, and trust me, we loved it. The only issue was, none of us had any idea what the commentators were saying. Even then, a few of my friends weren't huge fans of baseball. They were into sports like football and basketball, ones that moved at a quicker pace with less down-time in between plays.

We decided to see if there were any other events going down and came across horse racing. Yes, horse racing. It was perfect--short, fast-paced, and most importantly, an opportunity for betting.

I had never really considered watching a horse race any time other than the Belmont Stakes, but the prospects of the sport seemed exhilarating. Even better, with horse racing we knew we could still recreate the atmosphere of a race track. Salty snacks? Check. Stale beer? Check. A simple and easy way to bet? Check.

One quick Google search later, we came across TVG, powered by FanDuel. It's an online betting platform that takes you right to the heart of the action. We were a little apprehensive about using a mobile app to place our bets, but TVG's ability to bet on live horse races from all over the world was too good to pass up.

Here are 5 reasons why we are obsessed with horse racing thanks to TVG:

1. Betting has never been easier

Use your phone or computer to watch and bet on live horse races in real-time. TVG offers a bunch of features to make betting even simpler--live odds and handicapping tips leverage recent learnings to help you make your best bet. Not to mention, TVG's exclusive race content and wagering guide offers an under-the-hood look into the strategy behind horse race betting.

2. The biggest selection of horse races out there

If you're looking to drop a little dough on a horse race, chances are your best option is your local race track. But watching the same few horses races over and over again isn't the most exciting thing. With TVG you have access to over 150 tracks worldwide with races happening consistently throughout the day.

3. Get a generous sign-up offer when you place your first bet

Once you register your account, you will be eligible for a $200 risk-free bet. All you have to do is place your first bet and you're covered. If you happen to lose, TVG will insure you for up to $200 as a sort of wagering credit. I may have been a little trigger happy when placing my first bet, so having this insurance was a great perk. There are also a bunch of promotional offers available year-round.

4. Making deposits and cashing out at the touch of button

With a ton of payment options such as PayPal, BetCash, debit/credit, wire transfers, and other third-party services, making a deposit is a breeze. But what about the payout? Depending on your deposit method, your withdrawal will be available in a few days. No more waiting in-line to collect your winnings!

5. Watching live races with your friends while betting is exhilarating

Even when we were watching Korean baseball, Zoom calls with my friends were a little dull.

With TVG, we haven't had this sort of fun in months! Every weekend we'll turn on a race and throw our bets in. After a few races, and quite a few drinks, we'll tally up our winnings to see who won the most! Sometimes it's not even about making money, but just having a good time.

TVG is the perfect way to add a little excitement to an otherwise mundane afternoon. It introduced me to the world of horse racing, a sport I never would have considered otherwise.

The races just keep ramping up and thanks to TVG, I can always get in on the fun.

UPDATE: The biggest derby in horse racing is THIS WEEKEND. Get in on the action with your $200 risk-free bet!

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