Getting your first apartment is exciting and invigorating but can also be a bit stressful and overwhelming. Most people don’t realize everything that goes into the process. They expect to find their ideal place, pay the rent, and move on in. Once they’re in the midst of the process, they’re bombarded with expenses and tasks that they had been completely unaware of.
You don’t want to find yourself taken by surprise right when you’re about to make this life-changing move, especially financially. Ensure that you’re thoroughly prepared to make your move by learning the ins and outs of all that is required when you rent, including how to save money for an apartment.
Craft a Budget
Before you get an apartment, it’s imperative that you know how much you can spend on it each month. Many people look at their income and look at the price of rent somewhere and just decide they can afford it. They don’t take their current expenses or their up-coming expenses into consideration and end up biting off more than they can chew.
Not creating a budget is the first step towards not making rent each month, which creates a landslide of bad financial mistakes. Avoid that trouble by sitting down and creating a budget before you even start looking at potential apartments. This will help you to know your limit so that you don’t even start looking at things that you can’t afford.
Here is a simple way to create a budget:
- Write down your income each month
- Write down all of your monthly expenses, which includes things like recurring payments, groceries, gas, and entertainment
- Write down your anticipated monthly expenses (this includes things you will be paying once you have your own apartment that you might not currently be paying, such as electricity, gas, water, and internet.)
- Subtract your current and anticipated monthly expenses from your income
Whatever you have left is the amount you could potentially pay on rent. It’s a good idea to give yourself a little wiggle room for life, and not to spend every last cent on rent.
Once you know what you can pay on rent each month, you can begin using your budget to save the money you need for the move. Take the money that you budgeted for rent and save it. After only a few months of saving, you’ll have the money that you need to make the move.
How much money to save for the actual move
Many first-time renters don’t account financially for the cost of actually moving into the apartment. Other than first month’s rent, there are a number of expenses that need to be saved for in order to get into your new place. Let’s take a look.
- Security deposit
The security deposit is a pretty big expense and anywhere you move is going to require one.
Most places have new renters pay a security deposit that is the same as one month’s rent along with the first month’s rent, but some actually have renters pay first, last, and the deposit. That means that if you’re renting a place that costs $1500 a month, you’re going to need anywhere from $3000-$4500 in order to move in.
- Pet deposit
Some apartments allow pets along with a pet deposit. If you’re going to be bringing Fido along with you into your new home, find out the amount needed for the pet deposit ahead of time and add that into your calculations.
- Renter’s Insurance
Renter’s insurance protects you and your belongings as a renter and is required by many property management companies. Even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea to get some anyway. It’s cheap and if the unforeseen happens, it can be a life-saver.
- Administration costs
There are often fees associated with various aspects of renting, and even applying for, an apartment. Most property management places will have you pay for a credit and background check. Be prepared to fork over some cash when you’re applying and preparing to move.
- Utility deposits
You’ll need to have utilities put in your name and most utility companies require a deposit when you do. Some companies will even require an installation fee. There are many costs associated with getting your utilities set up, so make sure that you are well-prepared for them.
Take your time
When you’re ready to get your own place, impatience definitely sets in. The last thing you want to do though is jump in when you’re not financially prepared. Take your time and save the money that you need to make the move easy on you.
Give yourself time to buy the things you need as well, such as furniture, kitchen tools and utensils, and even decor. Don’t rush. Take the time that you need in order to find the perfect place and move in without stress or unforeseen expenses.