How To Budget For An Apartment

If you’re moving into an apartment, you need to have a good idea about what your expenses will be. 

If you’re planning on moving and renting your own apartment, it’s a good idea to set up a budget.

How To Budget For An Apartment

A budget will change along with your lifestyle, so you should make adjustments to it as necessary, like when you move into an apartment. 

Moving into an apartment involves keeping rent costs and utilities, but you’ll also need to save for a lot of things, like tables, chairs, and cutlery.

This can be overwhelming at first, but to make it a little easier, we’ve created a guide that can help you budget for your new apartment.

You’ll find guidance on setting a monthly budget, utility costs, and various items you’ll need for each of the rooms in your new home. 

Create A Budget For Monthly Expenses

Before you move into your apartment, you need to set aside a total that covers rent costs each month.

For instance, if you earn $1000 every month, but you’re looking at places that cost $500 a month, it’s a good idea to wait until you’re earning more. 

Monthly rent expenses shouldn’t exceed more than 25% of your income. If you earn $1000 monthly, 23-25% of your earnings will come to $230 – 250.

This might look like a small number, but if your rent is more than this, you may need to live with a roommate, or wait until you’re earning enough to move out comfortably. 

Create A Utility Budget

When you move into a new apartment, you need to budget appropriately so that 10% of your earnings can go on utilities. In total, the amount you pay to live will be around 33% to 35% of your income.

Everyone wants to move into a place of their own, so it can be tempting to look at places with higher utility and rent costs.

However, spending more on these when you aren’t earning enough is just going to cause financial stress later on. Stick to the 10% utility cost guidance, and you’ll notice that you won’t have to choose between enjoying life and paying your bills. 

Create A Temporary Moving Budget

Once you’re done with planning for your rent and utility costs, you can begin preparing for the small costs that you’ll need to pay when moving. This also includes groceries, furniture, and decor. 

If you’re low on funds, it’s best to shop at places like IKEA for cheaper, but reasonable quality furniture.

Don’t buy several pieces all at once. Buy each piece one at a time, starting with the ones you need the most. 

Furnishing your whole apartment when you first move in will only mean that you spend more every month trying to cover these costs.

Instead, budget appropriately and use a small amount of money each month to purchase furniture. 

Create A Budget For Expected And Surprise Apartment Expenses 

Lastly, you should set some money aside to cover small expenses like the food you’ll eat while you move in, as well as any unexpected costs.

You might find that you have to pay for old utility bills from your old place, so having some extra cash on hand can help you prepare in advance. 

Common Expenses When Moving Into An Apartment

Moving into an apartment can incur various kinds of expenses, which include:

Security Deposits: These will safeguard your claim on your apartment and pay for any costs that are necessary once you move out again.

Renters Insurance: In most cases, you can decide to pay one cost upfront for the year, or pay in monthly installments

Electricity Bill: You generally won’t need to pay this until you’ve lived in your apartment for a year, but it’s a good idea to be aware of the likely price.

Natural Gas Bill: Most people pay these costs every month, though depending on your landlord, your deposit might include costs to switch your gas on.

In this case, your first couple of bills will take money from this deposit until it’s used up. 

Internet Bill: You may need to pay the cost of your internet device, as well as the bill for the first month. After this, the monthly costs will be as per your contract.

How To Budget For An Apartment (1)

Household supplies: Household basics might not cost too much individually, but they can add up.

Think about toilet paper, bath towels, cleaning products, cookware, and spices. 

Moving Truck and Movers: Moving trucks can be expensive, but you might not be able to get around these costs if you are moving a lot of items.

If you aren’t moving that much, you may be able to suffice with a vehicle and the help of friends or family. 

Remember that you will also need to factor in grocery costs to fill up your refrigerator, though you might be able to save money by moving any basics from your old place to your new one. 

Other Living Expenses

The expenses above are the most common expenses you’ll need to pay when moving into a new apartment.

Here is a list of other costs that you might need to consider with each room in your apartment. 

Living Room

  • Television
  • Internet bill
  • Cable bill
  • Tables 
  • Sofa/chairs

Kitchen

  • Plates and dishes
  • Cutlery
  • Groceries
  • Household cleaning products

Bedroom/s

  • Bed
  • Bedding
  • Curtains
  • Optional – dressing table
  • Hangers

Bathroom

  • Bath towel
  • Hand towel
  • Toiletries (shower gel, cotton buds, etc.)

The Bottom Line

Budgeting for your first apartment can be difficult, but learning how to do so will help you with costs later down the road. 

The most important thing to remember is not to move into a new apartment until you are fully prepared for the costs.

You might have secured your first job, but if your rent and utilities take away over half of your income every month, it’s better to wait until you can pay for these without sacrificing your lifestyle. 

Once you’re sure that you can cover these living costs comfortably, you need to create a few budgets, including rent, utilities, temporary moving expenses, and surprise costs.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s better to be prepared than faced with the staggering bills later. 

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘How To Make A Budget Binder‘.

Andre Flowers
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