Moving into your first apartment is an exciting time in your life. You’re striking out on your own and getting a space that’s all yours.
But renting and budgeting for a first apartment is a big financial responsibility, and there are lots of hidden costs you may not think about. It’s important to plan and save for all of those expenses so you don’t end up taking on debt.
Here are some budgeting tips and tricks to help you move into your first place without racking up a big credit card bill.
Budgeting for First Apartment
Create a Spreadsheet for Moving Expenses
It’s important to make sure that you have enough money saved before you move out. Budgeting for your first apartment and figuring out how much rent you can afford is crucial if you want to avoid financial struggles.
There are lots of initial moving expenses and recurring monthly costs that you’ll need to account for in your calculations.
You’ll be required to put down a security deposit on your apartment and pay the first month’s rent. Some landlords also require last month’s rent, so it’s a good idea to save for it just in case.
You’ll also need to figure out how much it will cost to move your stuff to your new place. Will you need movers, or do you think you can manage things on your own to save some cash?
If you don’t have furniture and other household essentials like dishes and pots and pans, you’ll also have to plan for those purchases.
Because there are so many expenses to keep track of, it helps to create a spreadsheet with all of your anticipated moving costs. This will give you a concrete savings goal that you need to hit before you’re ready for moving day.
Budget for Your Monthly Costs Too
Now that we’ve covered some of the initial costs you can expect when you move into your first place, let’s talk about recurring monthly expenses and how you should budget for those.
As a general guideline, you should aim to spend no more than 30% of your income on housing. Don’t forget to include things like utilities, renter’s insurance, and any fees for pets or parking in that calculation.
Some of those costs depend on the area you live in and the apartment building you choose, so they can be a little hard to estimate ahead of time. But you can use utility and renter’s insurance calculators to get a pretty good idea of what you’ll have to pay.
Save Extra for Hidden Costs
When you move into your first place, there are lots of hidden and unexpected expenses that you’ll run into. Maybe you forgot to include dishes in your budget spreadsheet, or your couch cost more than you expected.
It’s hard to anticipate all the things you’ll need without forgetting or leaving something out, so it’s good to have extra money set aside for unplanned purchases. That way you’re not fretting over every penny you spend or putting everything on your credit card.
Don’t Go Overboard With Furniture and Decor
Moving into your first apartment is super exciting. You finally have your own space to call home and can decorate it exactly the way you want.
It’s tempting to go to Target and throw all of the adorable home decor you find into your cart. But it’s usually better for your wallet to take things slow and decorate your home over a few months.
Moving into your first apartment is expensive and will probably cost you a couple thousand dollars when all is said and done. If you buy a bunch of furniture and decor right away, it could really put a dent in your savings or cause you to go into debt.
Set a limit for your decor purchases and try to stick to it. By going thrifting and waiting for things to go on sale, you can get some pretty good deals and avoid blowing your budget.
Moving out is expensive, and all the costs can add up to more than you anticipated if you don’t budget carefully.
To keep track of everything, create a budget spreadsheet. Try your best to include all of your anticipated moving expenses, and add a little buffer for unexpected ones too.
As long as you don’t take on a bigger financial commitment than you can afford, you’ll have an awesome time in your new place!