apartment budgeting tips

For many people one of the first solo financial leaps they take in life is to rent their first apartment. Bye-bye, Mom and Dad! It’s an exciting time. But also one where it’s easy to quickly lose track of your finances. Before you know it you could find yourself with big credit card debt or worse (“the internet’s been shut off!”). Below are some guidelines to help you keep your head above water.

We’ll assume you’ve already figured out how much rent you can afford and have found the right place (if not, check out these apartment hunting tips). And, may we suggest, Willow Creek Crossing Apartments.

Before you move in, estimate the cost of the move

What costs are involved in moving to the new apartment?

  • will you hire a moving company or have family and friends help? (you’ll need to at least pay them in pizza)
  • need to buy boxes and packing materials?
  • startup expenses – that is, things you need to have onsite as soon as you get there: garbage bags, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, a vacuum, a tool kit to assemble furniture and hang stuff up
  • the first grocery store run for perishables (milk, bread, butter, veggies, and fresh fruit),
    pantry items (salt and pepper, other seasonings, condiments, peanut butter, cereal, coffee, sugar, etc.), and whatever you like to keep in your freezer (vegetables, pizzas, TV dinners…)

Figure out your monthly budget:

List all of the payments you absolutely must make every month, for example:

utilities: gas, electricity, water, internet, cable, telephone
prescriptions and medical visits (doctors, dentist, vision, etc.)
car: payments, gas, servicing and insurance
student loan payments
renters insurance (here’s why you need renter’s insurance)

Build the rest of your budget from what’s left after the essential items above are covered. Other categories you likely will have are:

  • groceries
  • clothing
  • streaming entertainment services (music, TV shows, movies)
    eating out, going out, entertainment
  • hobbies/activities
  • gifts for friends and family (e.g. birthdays and Christmas)

And don’t forget the importance of planning ahead — include lines in your budget for saving for planned big expenses such as new furniture, travel, a new car and saving for emergencies like a car accident or job loss.

Create a budget and stick to it

Download this free budget worksheet to to help create a budget plan for your new apartment to get an idea of what your incoming and outgoing expenses are.

Good luck! You can do it!