It’s very easy to get excited when looking to find an apartment. Sometimes that seemingly perfect apartment catches our eye with an open floorplan, great ambiance and an easily-accessible location, making us want to sign on the dotted line right away. Yet, our excitement can later turn into a pocketbook that is emptier than our refrigerator. Here are just a few guidelines to help prepare minds and bank accounts for finding the right apartment.
One of the best ways to budget for your perfect apartment is to transition the numbers floating around in your head onto a computer, or at least a piece of paper. Documenting what you’re able to afford can help limit the mind’s justification for what may be unrealistic. Excel is a great tool to use because you can easily add up your expenses and perform other functions with your monetary responsibilities.
Consider researching the costs of utilities upfront. If all you can find is ballpark figures, it’s better to overestimate these costs than to later discover you have trouble covering water, gas and garbage. Documenting estimated utility costs will help you visualize the sometimes hidden costs of apartment living.
Should you need to upgrade items such as furniture, decor and other amenities, it is good to itemize, estimate and document these as well. This is a great way to know if wanted items can wait or if bargain shopping might be in order.
For those who are tech savvy, smartphone applications, desktop and online personal finance software such as Mint.com offer easy-to-use functionality that can compare nearly every aspect of a budget. Of course, many people find spreadsheets a great way to analyze and compare a budget.
There are no hard and fast rules to budgeting. Whether with pen and paper, spreadsheet or software, the best budgets are documented and calculated. Then, you can effectively compare factors such as income, spending habits and unforeseen costs.
Therefore, by being fiscally prepared, searching for that perfect apartment just might be easier than you think.