So you think you’re finally ready to move out? We definitely won’t disagree with you, but we want to make sure that you’re really prepared for moving into your first place so that it’ll be as stress-free as an experience as possible. Check out our top 7 things to consider financially in order to set you on the right path on your apartment/home finding journey:
1. Make progress on your debt
While you’re still living with your parents, you’re probably afforded the luxury of not having to pay rent- or at least not having to pay common costs associated with renting and home ownership. You can use this to your advantage by using the money you’re saving to pay off long term debts like student loans, or more importantly pay off high interest debt like any credit cards bills that you may have. It’s a lot easier to tackle these now when you have more money to spare than it will be later when you’re burdened by the cost of rent.
2. Build an emergency fund
Make sure you have a budget for unexpected costs via an emergency fund (a.k.a. rainy day fund). An emergency fund should be roughly equal to 3-6 months of your monthly expenses. This will be important now more than ever for your peace of mind since you’ll be living out on your own now. Having this money set aside will save you in case you lose your job or unplanned costs like speeding tickets and medical bills arise. You can find out more about how important it is to have an emergency fund here.
3. Save for the security deposit
Security deposits can vary from 1-3 months’ worth of rent, depending on your local state’s laws. In general, you’ll want to save for 2 months’ worth of rent, 1 month for the security depsoit and another for your actual rent. Whіlе уоu wіll hopefully gеt thе money bасk when you move out, it’ll be locked up until then. We say that you’ll hopefully get the money back, as it’s not uncommon for landlords to falsify claims against you that you damaged or dirtied the apartment in a way that requires them to keep your security deposit for repairs. Guard against this by taking lots of photos of the place inside and out before you move in, just in case so you’ll have proof that the damage if any was not caused by you. When it’s time for you to move out, we also recommend that you clean the place as much as you can to avoid any cleaning fees from the landlord.
4. Set aside cash for application fees
You wіll аlѕо likely have to pay an application fee for each place that you apply to. This will usually cost you $20-$40 per appilcation, so make sure you have enough set aside for a few. Make sure your credit score is decent and that you don’t have any derogotary marks on it before you apply so that you don’t waste money on an application fee. Many landlords will reject your application if there are too many derogotary marks on your report.
5. Learn to cook
Better to screw up now and waste food on your parent’s dime rather than yours, right? Jokes. In all seriousness learning to cook now has obvious financial benefits, as eating out regulary can get expensive. Of course the way to many a heart is food, so being a good cook can only be a good thing with respect to your social life as well.
6. Keep your entertainment costs in check
You won’t be able to spend all of your check on going out with friends or random splurges on things that you don’t need. Now that you’ll be 100% responsible for paying your rent and other bills, you’ll want to learn how to build a budget and keep with it if you don’t want to be moving back in with your parents within the year. If you know that you have trouble managing your spending, there’s no better time to work on it than now. We’ve got great tips that can help you keep your spending in check.
7. Make a budget
After you’ve considered everything above and you’re finally ready to move out, make a budget outlining everything you expect to pay on a monthly basis, including your debt payments if you have any. It’s important to visualize for yourself where your money is going so that you can make ends meet and hopefully have some left over to save. If you don’t create a budget and stick to it, at the end of each month you might find yourself wondering where all of your money went. Sometimes it’s helpful to just lay out all of the costs that you’re keeping track of in your head so that they’re easier to manage. We have a free tool and budget worksheet on our site to help you keep track of your spending habits here.
All together now, with confidence
Getting your own place for the first time can be a stressful experience with many unknowns. With just a little preparation however, much of this stress can be tossed aside and replaced with confidence and excitement. We hope that this guide was useful in doing that for you. Good luck finding a place!