Moving into your first apartment is an exciting step into life on your own terms. You can decorate how you wish, no longer need to worry about disturbing family or housemates when you get home late and want a snack, and you get that long-desired freedom and independence of life on your own. It can also be a challenging exercise in financial management – so read on for our tips on how to save money when moving into your first apartment.
1. Know and stick to your budget
When you’re out looking at possible apartments, it’s easy to succumb to the draw of a nice place that’s a little (or a lot) beyond the budget point you know is reasonable for your income. If you choose a new place that’s slightly out of reach, just remember that money will be taken out of some other budget category. Be choosy, and sign on to a rental agreement or lease that you are sure you can afford.
2. Budget everything
So we’ve covered rent, but everything else should be budgeted too. Stick to the 50-30-20 rule if you can: 50% of your income should be set aside for fixed monthly costs like rent, utilities, a grocery budget, car payments, and so on. 30% should go into savings, retirement, or investments, and 20% can be reserved for leisure: going out on the town, checking out a concert, and so on.
3. Get creative with your furnishings
Trying to deck out your new apartment with a whole new set of new furniture is guaranteed to max out your budget, so make a date with a friend to scour the local yard sales, consignment stores, and sites like Craigslist to score quality furniture for less. Go with a plan: print out our new apartment checklist so you’re not wandering the yard sales blindly gathering items you may or may not need, but rather checking off the essentials that will get you started on the right foot. Really want to know how to save money when moving into your first apartment? Start minimal. You don’t really need all that stuff.
4. Save money on food
Eating out gets expensive quickly. Invest in a slow cooker and a comprehensive set of spices, and with a few good internet searches, you can have an arsenal of go-to recipes you can easily prepare at home. Slow cookers can make even the most inexperienced cooks feel like masters of the kitchen. Prepare more than a few servings of freezable dishes and set some aside for the days you need a quick meal, and you’ll be on the road to saving money.
5. Find ways to make extra income before you move
How much money should you save for moving out? That depends on your budget and future rental costs, but in most cases, the more you save, the happier and more comfortable you’ll be. New apartments can often be a little more expensive than one would think when you factor in the little things — stocking up on basic food items like oils and spices, quarters for the laundry machine, and so on. Before you move, bolster your income with a few extra side gigs here and there, or a temporary job like catering or waiting tables on the weekends. Tuck that extra money in your savings so it’s there if you need it.
One more way to save money when moving into your first apartment? Get a guaranteed quote on moving company prices to get you from point A to point B without any hidden fees. Stick to that budget, remember?