How to Save Money for an Apartment

Whether you’re hoping to move out of your dorm, upgrade your current space, or finally live roommate-free for the first time—the financial logistics of renting an apartment can be overwhelming. The good news is, you probably can afford an apartment as long as you know how to save. When you budget efficiently, the cost of an apartment becomes much more manageable. Read this step-by-step guide to saving up for apartment rent, and start your search today.

1. Figure out the appropriate rent price range based on your income.

Before you set your sights on a specific apartment, it’s important to figure out how much you can afford to spend on rent. Broadly speaking, you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross income (before taxes) on housing. Keep in mind that there’s more to housing costs than rent—utilities, cable, Internet, and parking may add to your expenses.

Crunch some numbers and figure out your expected gross income for the year. Then, divide that number by three. The result, according to general wisdom, is the most you should spend on housing per year. Once you figure that out, you can easily calculate your maximum monthly rent—which you can then use to filter apartments by rent price on

2. Understand how much money you really need.

Speaking of rent, you’ll likely need two month’s worth of rent to get an apartment—your first month’s rent upon signing the lease, and an additional month as a security deposit. Some apartments will have other upfront costs, like pet deposits and renters insurance.

You’ll also need to save up a good chunk of change for other expenses, such as a moving van, and furniture and decor for your new apartment. Plus, don’t forget about groceries. In other words, you’ll need more than simply a month’s worth of rent to get into your new place, and it’s essential to be aware of every cost associated with moving.

3. Eliminate some of your “fun” spending… at least for now.

While you’re building up your savings account to move into your new apartment, you’ll probably need to make a few sacrifices. Not sure where to start? Check out your most recent bank statement, and highlight any unnecessary, “luxury” spending.

Skip your daily Starbucks drink and brew your coffee at home. Unsubscribe from your favorite retailer’s email list, so you’re not tempted to splurge on clothes. Give up cable for a few months. Cook your meals at home instead of going out to eat, or at least skip the appetizers and alcoholic beverages if you do go out. It may not be that much fun, but remind yourself that it will all be worth it when you spend your first night at your new place.

4. Embrace a few “side hustles” to earn some extra cash.

If you’re really motivated to save, consider picking up a side job (or two) to build your bank account faster. Babysitting and pet-sitting are two flexible options that can work around a regular 9 to 5. If those aren’t appealing, look for part-time gigs that fit into your schedule, perhaps for free evenings or weekends. Is your calendar already jam-packed? Consider selling items that you no longer need or want to make a little extra cash.

5. Move out during the slow season.

One way to make saving for an apartment easier is by moving during the off season. During fall and winter, moving services tend to cost less, and apartment complexes offer free move-in incentives to make up for the slower business. You may not have this sort of flexibility, but if you can move in the fall or winter, it could pay off.

Are you a total pro when it comes to saving money? In that case, you may be ready to invest in a new apartment! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and find an apartment that fits your budget on