The boxes are packed, the keys are in hand, and a little voice from within seems to be whispering, “YOU’RE AN ADULT NOW!” While getting out of mom and dad’s place or even your college dorm is the first step to really being out on your own, one small factor could stop you straight in your tracks: those dolla’ dolla’ bills. Budgeting for your first apartment can be, to put it lightly, a learning experience. Because if you like to move it, move it, you’ve gotta pay it, pay it. Did you know that according to Gallup, only 32% of Americans create a monthly budget? Somehow, budgeting has taken a back burner in the lives of young people, especially. But don’t worry – we can help. Here are some expenses that you may have forgotten about, along with some smart solutions to keep them in check.
L-I-V-I-N, man. This might seem obvious, but you gotta pay rent! Hopefully this is the first thing you budgeted for when finding your apartment, but if it’s not, consider the 50/20/30 rule from LearnVest; 50% goes to living expenses, 20% goes to savings, and 30% goes to flexible spending.
Ensure you’re insured. Though not top of mind, most apartment complexes require that you have renter’s insurance, which means that in addition to many other expenses that arise when you first move in, this is one you’ll have to pay in order to get those boxes in the door. Reach out to your current insurance providers for other things (like your car insurance company, for instance) before randomly picking a company that offers renter’s insurance. They’ll usually be able to offer you a better rate and can link it to your already existing account.
You’re hot and you’re cold. So you’ll need to adjust the climate in your apartment, as a normal human does. Of course, there are plenty of ways to save money on your energy bill, but you do typically still need to pay for both heating and A/C, depending on where you reside. If summers are hot and winters are cold, expect to drop some dinero on this expense.
Food, glorious food! Your cost of food can vary depending on how often you eat in versus eat out. Save money by grocery shopping and preparing meals at home. Make a list, check it twice, and find the groceries that aren’t naughty, but nice. (Sorry, we forgot Christmas is over!) Keeping yourself in check at the store will help your waistline and your wallet.
Netflix and Chill? Can’t do it without having a subscription. The same goes for cable, internet, and whatever other streaming services you’ll use. Hot tip: pick a favorite subscription service and skip the cable altogether. It’ll save you money and you can browse from various devices besides just your TV at home.
Vroom vroom. Do you have a car? Make sure you keep ALL of the expenses in mind that come along with it. This includes gas, insurance, maintenance, and even parking at some apartment complexes. If you don’t have a car, consider public transportation. It may take a little longer to reach your destination, but it’s a huge money saver.
Movin’ on up…Yes, moving is expensive! And by the time you convince your friends to help you with reciprocated pizza and beverages, or even less budget friendly, hire movers, the costs just continue to rise. On the plus side? It can be very cost effective to cut moving costs with the help of a furniture rental service. Nothing to move? Nothing to pay for! No furniture to buy? Less money to spend! When you compare the cost of renting a fully furnished apartment to that of buying furniture, it actually makes more sense to rent furnished instead of dealing with the hassle of moving materials, people, and furniture!
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