How to Save Money for Your First ApartmentSave on Big Purchases
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The cost of renting an apartment often comes with a lot of fees that if you aren’t prepared for can come as a shock, especially if it’s your first apartment. Costs like a security deposit, first and last month’s rent, new apartment essentials, like a bed or a couch, pet licensing fees, parking fees, and even a few other hidden surprises.
With all these extra costs, I like to always suggest to a person who is looking to venture out on his or her own for the first time to create a first apartment checklist. This will not only help you know what you are getting into but will make everything seem simpler and not so scary.
Add the following tips of saving for an apartment, and you’ll be all set and ready to go!
1. Don’t Be in A Rush to Move Out
I remember when I finished my university education and had to move back home with my parents after I graduated; it was difficult, to say the least. Not only had I developed a taste for independent living, but I had changed over the years and my living style just seemed to clash with that of my parents’.
The thing is, though, I am so glad that I did move back home because it allowed me to truly go after what I wanted. I was able to make the best choices about where I wanted to live, what I wanted to do, without having to decide quickly and risk making a decision that I may have regretted.
By taking my time, I was able to save up some money, do the research I needed to do, and I can happily say that when the time came for me to pick my first apartment, I wasn’t settling for a hole in the ground with a blanket to keep out the bad weather.
2. Take A Culinary Course
For some, this may not be an issue, while for others, mac n’ cheese is all they know how to cook. But it really does pay to know some basics in the kitchen. When I say take a course, I don’t mean sign up to get your culinary degree, but see about taking a low-key, low-cost class or two.
You may even be one of those people who can learn by watching an online video, from which there are hundreds of online available for you to learn, or by following a recipe in a book. By knowing how to make your own meals you will be saving a lot of money that you can put towards saving for an apartment.
3. Take Your Own Specialty Drinks (or Meals)
You’ve heard this one before, I’m sure, but it sure rings true when you are looking at renting your first apartment and need the deposit money to put down. Lattes, Iced Frappuccino’s and the like add up in cost, especially when you do the math.
A fun little experiment I like to try, whenever I find myself forgetting to bring in my own lunch, or buying too many of those Christmas specialty drinks, is called the Latte Factor. The idea is that if you choose to make most of these splurges yourself, and then treat yourself occasionally, you’ll reach your financial goal much sooner than if you continue down the same path of daily indulgences.
There is even a website where you can calculate the cost of what you would spend on average and what you would have made had you invested the money instead over the same period of time. Check out the Latte Factor Calculator, it’s a definite eye-opener.
4. The Location Factor
If you have ever watched a house hunting show, then you will know that the location and the neighborhood can make a huge difference in the price of your apartment. Having a realistic expectation of what you can afford and what is right for your current lifestyle will help you be able to save money accordingly.
You may not be able to find an affordable apartment in your price range in the best neighborhood just yet, but what you can afford now is right next to public transportation and that local bar you and your friends like to hang out at all the time.
5. Consider a Roommate
It is amazing how a two-bedroom apartment may only be a few hundred dollars more, which is a lot for one person, but for two, is just right. Whether this roommate is your best friend, your significant other, or a mere acquaintance, he or she may be the answer to getting into your first apartment that much quicker than you imagined.
6. Utility Costs
Although it may be convenient to have your costs all wrapped up in one, if you find that you aren’t one for watching a lot of television, don’t mind a little heat in the summer, and are doing your part on saving water for Mother Earth, you may prefer to cover this cost yourself.
Saving for your first apartment is going to take some time, and ultimately, it’s up to you and what you decide is worth the sacrifice to get where you want to be, when you want to be there. But once you do, trust me, all the sacrifice will feel worth it.
Danielle thrives on researching and writing on all aspects of life. Further to writing for Zumper blog and personal finance, she is an advocate of self-improvement and living a life that is both financially responsible and knowledgeable. When she is not on her computer, she can be found spending time with her husband and two sons.