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. Read the rest of this entry »
‘budgeting tips’ Tag
While college is full of new friends, a new school, and completely new experiences altogether, it also goes hand in hand with a whole new world of…adulting. Buying your own toilet paper? Figuring out every meal on your own? Budgeting??? Yep, all of these things need to get done. But don’t fret; being a college student also comes with tons of perks, especially when it comes to saving money. Check out these ideas for stretching your dollars and keeping it up for the rest of your college career, and hopefully, life! Read the rest of this entry »
It’s that time of year again: time for tax paperwork that couldn’t be more complicated (bleghk) and a big fat check that couldn’t be more glorious (huzzah)! It’s time for your tax refund, and according to the IRS, this year’s average tax refund is a whopping $3,120. With that kind of money, you could go on a sandy beach vacation AND treat yourself to something nice. Why not give your apartment the makeover it’s been waiting for and upgrade your decor? Here’s how in three easy steps! Read the rest of this entry »
Well, you did it. You finally packed up that little life of yours and are officially moving into your first apartment. Look at you, adulting and stuff! Once you get over the chaos of putting everything you own into cardboard boxes and hauling it to your new abode, there’s just one thing left to do: make that humble abode a home. And nothing says “home” like the decor of your apartment. But wait a minute…are you thinking, “Decor? Isn’t that a fancy word for ‘decorations’? Sounds expensive.” Fear not, my budget-conscious friend. We’re here to give you some ways to save on turning your place into a whimsical wonderland (or a decked out den, or a pretty pad…whatever you want to call it, really). Follow our guide and you’ll be the king or queen of your quaint castle in no time. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re living life on the college kid budget, then you’ve probably asked the question, “Do you have a discount for students?” at your favorite food stop. If you’re new to the student life or are looking to save a couple pennies, here are some starter tips to get you on the discounted path.
Find Expert Resources
A grad student, victory-lapping senior, or online forum could have all the golden knowledge you need to eat or shop cheaper. Beyond the usual spots around your campus, there could be somewhere you never thought would sympathize with your college going that will happily knock 15% off your taco bill. Read the rest of this entry »
Now that the holidays and New Year’s Day have come and gone, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life and forget about those pesky resolutions that were made on January 1st. Whether your resolution was to lose weight, spend less money, or just be happier, life has a habit of getting in the way of achieving your goals. However, there are plenty of easy ways that apartment living can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
There are many different ways to go about saving money, and apartment living can help you do that! If your finances are getting a little tight, consider moving in with a roommate, cut back on the little things like eating out, or check out our Budget Blog Roundup for excellent tips on saving money while living in an apartment.
If 2014 wasn’t your best year, maybe it’s time for a change. Take the leap and find a new job that makes you happier or cut out the negative people in your life. A new year allows you to change things up, so consider where you’re living and if you’re content there. Start fresh, find an apartment in a new city, and jump into the culture there. Making a big change can seem scary, but it might just be the thing you need to make 2015 your best year yet. Read the rest of this entry »
Apartment living can be expensive, which is why opening your mailbox to find a stack of bills is incredibly disheartening. Gas bills, water bills, electric bills, internet bills—all can have high prices attached, and no matter how high, need to be paid regularly. But there are ways to take the sting out of those monthly payments. First and foremost: be smart about the way you spend money on your apartment living.
As a general rule, the best thing you can do is keep track of your spending habits. Staying aware of how much you spend and on which bills can help you spot areas in which you are spending too much on apartment living, and, if necessary, figure out ways to redistribute the way you spend your money. If you don’t want to create your own system to track your spending, there are lots of ways to manage your finances. Use online services like Mint.com or smartphone apps like Ace Budget 2, Money by Jumsoft, BillTracker, and BillMinder to manage your money and gain a clear understanding of how you spend it.
Want to start by saving money on your utility bills? Here are few easy things you can do to lower your utility bill payment and the price of apartment living.
Phone, TV, and Internet Bills
Make sure that you have the best setup or package for your apartment living needs. You might be able to pay less by re-evaluating your cable provider plan. However, you may have to do a little extra research, since cheaper plans aren’t often the most advertised ones. See if getting each service separately, rather than as a bundle, would benefit your apartment living budget. If you rarely use your landline, look into a more basic plan or even opt out altogether in favor of cell phone use only. If you watch most of your TV and movies online or on your computer, consider reducing your cable plan to something like “broadcast basic” package. Also, evaluate your internet speed needs. If you use your internet for business or stream a lot of videos, stick with a fast connection. If you’re only doing light browsing and emailing, however, aim for something lower.
Gas and Electricity Bills
Save money during season changes by adjusting your apartment living habits to save on your gas bill no matter the weather. Program your thermostat or adjust it manually so that it is running optimally during the hottest and coolest parts of the day. Wash your clothes with cold water rather than hot—it will save money on your gas bill and actually maintain the colors of your clothes better!
As with other smart apartment living tips, the trick to saving money on your water bill is being mindful of your habits. Little things like turning off the tap while your brush your teeth, using the dishwasher only when it’s full, buying a low-flow showerhead, and using energy-efficient appliances can make a big difference in the number of gallons you use up per month in the long run.
For other apartment living tips, including advice on living with a roommate, small apartment living, choosing a family-friendly apartment, and more, search our Apartment Life blog, and see how ApartmentSearch.com can help make life in an apartment easier!
Living with someone can complicate a relationship. Money issues can complicate it even further. My first roommate experience culminated in an explosive fight over money and unpaid utility bills. In order to avoid a disaster situation like mine, here are some tips to divide expenses between roommates so that money problems are never an issue.
Know your expenses
Before figuring out how you are going to divide up your expenses, you have to know what your expenses are. You’re most likely going to have utility bills, such as heat, electric, and cable. In addition to utility bills, think about shared household items such as paper towel, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies.
Start from the beginning
Part of the problem with my roommate situation was that we never discussed who was paying what and how we were going to go about dividing up the expenses of the apartment. When you move in, have a “family meeting” and discuss bills and expenses. My one roommate is in charge of all of the utility bills and my other roommates and I pay him at the end of the month. It’s an easy system that we have never had a problem with. I also have a friend who pays for the heat and electric bill and their roommate pays for the cable and Internet bill. Figure out the best system for you and your roommates and establish it early so each roommate knows where they stand and what they owe.
Have a communication system
If you’re the one in charge of the bills, ask your roommates early and often for their share of the bills so they have time to get you the money. Establish a communication system, such as a text message reminder at the end of the month or a calendar on the refrigerator or in a shared space to outline what everyone owes and when it’s due. Communication is key in any relationship and when money is involved, it’s best to be in constant communication so that no one is surprised.
What about rent?
The biggest shared expense for you and your roommates will be your rent. If one of your roommates is late with rent, it can affect your relationship with your landlord and can cause you to have to pay a late fee. Look into paying your rent online. That way you won’t have to collect any rent from anyone at the end of the month. Your rent will just automatically be taken out of your account when it’s due.
Guest post by WilliamPaid.com. WilliamPaid lets renters & roomies pay rent online, automatically, with more flexibility and it’s FREE. Users can also build credit with each rent payment.
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.