The thought of striking out on your own may be exhilarating, but it’s important to make sure you can afford your own place first. If you have always lived with your parents, you might not realize how expensive living on your own can be. That’s why it’s wise to establish a budget before you start filling out any applications. Follow these tips to help you find an apartment you can afford.

Make a List of Your Monthly Expenses

If you don’t already keep track of how much you spend each month, start now. The easiest way to update your monthly expenses is to create a spreadsheet on your laptop. Here are the types of things to include, whether you pay for them now or will start paying for them once you have your own apartment:

  • Car payments, insurance, and gas
  • Other transportation expenses
  • Cell phone bill
  • Credit card payments
  • Student loans
  • Health insurance
  • Groceries
  • Memberships, subscriptions, and streaming services
  • Entertainment and eating out

Break Down Your Rental Costs

As a first-time renter, it’s easy to be caught off guard by the real cost of renting. After all, you need to factor in far more than just rent itself. Here are the rental costs that may apply to you:

  • One-time moving expenses
  • One-time security deposit and other move-in fees
  • One-time furniture and kitchenware purchases
  • Monthly rent
  • Utilities (electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash, internet, cable, etc.)
  • Pet rent, if applicable
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Garage, parking, or storage fees

How Much Money is Left?

Once you factor in your monthly expenses and rental costs, do you still have 20% leftover for savings? If not, you may not be ready to get your own apartment. After all, the last thing you want is for an emergency expense to come up that you can’t afford to pay.

Finance experts recommend following the 50/30/20 rule. This states you should spend 50% on needs (living costs, insurance, transportation), 30% on wants (dining out, buying clothes, going to concerts), and 20% on savings and investments.

Consider downloading a budgeting app to help you follow this rule. The app will collect information from your bank accounts and credit cards to automatically categorize your spending and help you pinpoint where to cut back.

Other Apartment Budgeting Tips

Here are more ways to budget for an apartment like a pro:

  • Save up at least three months of rent before moving out.
  • Consider a more affordable studio apartment.
  • Find a place close to work or school to reduce transportation costs.
  • Bundle renter’s insurance with car insurance for a discount.
  • Ditch all but one favorite streaming service.

Apartment Locating Specialists is here to eliminate some of the cost and stress of apartment hunting. Our apartment locator service is completely free, so find your perfect new home through us! Begin your apartment search in Dallas-Fort Worth today, or call us at (817) 685-7368 with any questions you have.