Young man sitting in living room and budgeting for first apartment Face it: your parents, while so generous for letting you stay, aren’t exactly your ideal roommates. And your other options range from “friends who would be terrible to live with” and “random people on Craigslist that scare you a little.” When it’s finally time to cut the cord and live on your own though, you may wonder, “Can I afford to live on my own?” Check out these tips to find out how you can better prepare for solo apartment living and plan for the costs that you may have overlooked!

Go into it with some savings. Your initial budget may be enough to get you by, but having some extra cash in your back pocket will help out in the case of an emergency. Tires go flat and pants rip. Unexpected expenses are a fact of life.

Check for hidden fees. Apartment pricing varies, especially when it comes to what’s included and what’s not. Ask about fees that may not be included in your rent. For instance, some apartment communities may have you pay a trash fee, parking fee, or application fee in addition to your monthly rent. And if your unit doesn’t come with a washer or dryer, consider the fact that you’ll have to use the complex’s laundry room or head to the nearest laundromat. Keeping these things in mind is a good way to make sure your budget is accurate.

Don’t forget living expenses. While it may seem like all you have to pay for is your apartment, you’ve still gotta eat! And see the city’s sights, go out with friends, etc… Have you accounted for groceries, electricity, water, internet, cable, or a television streaming service? Insert, “Oh yes, I do need to pay for that,” here!

Get your furniture on the cheap. There’s no need to buy brand new furniture for your solo pad. Consider friends and family that are selling their furniture, as well as garage sales and secondhand shops. You can get some great deals without busting the bank. And while you’re doing the math, consider renting furniture too. In the long run, you’ll save money on moving trucks, boxes, and supplies.

Become your own personal chef. Eating out costs more than cooking for yourself. Buying your lunch instead of packing your own costs $2,000 a year on average, says Business Insider. Cooking at home can leave you with more cash in your pocket at the end of the month, but it’s also a skill that you should learn to pick up as an adult. Don’t want to cook for one? Host a potluck and have friends bring food over to spice things up!

Rent a smaller apartment. Your new castle will be fit for royalty no matter what size it is – because you’ll be in it! There’s no need to have an extra room or office, especially when you’re looking for the most affordable route. Keep it simple by renting a studio apartment or one-bedroom apartment.

Think you’re ready to head out on your own? We hope so! Choosing a small apartment, like a studio, is one of the best ways to afford life on your own. Use to find your first studio apartment and you could earn up to $200 in rewards! That’s $200 towards your first month of groceries – because yes, you do need to eat!

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