It is almost spring, which means the end of the school year is just around the corner. This means it is time to think about living arrangements outside the dorm or, in my case, my parents’ house.
Living at home, for FREE, while I finish my master’s degree has been extremely helpful for managing my student loans payments and the cost of grad school. However, unsurprisingly, I’m counting down the days until I can move out.
As I do, I see more and more dollar signs pop up spurred by my decision to move.
What many of us underestimate when looking to move is the actual cost of finding and securing our first apartments. It might seem fair to require us to pay the first month’s rent in order to secure the lease, but of course, not everything can be fair in real estate.
In addition to the first month’s rent, many leases also require that you pay last month’s rent, a broker’s fee, or even a security deposit. All of a sudden, that seemingly affordable first month’s rent becomes an overwhelming 3 months or more of rent!
Before you start to panic, consider trying a few things that I’m doing to prepare financially for this responsibility.
It Is Never Too Early To Start Saving
Budgeting is a huge factor in all of this. You must know what you can and cannot afford given your job and other living expenses at the time of your move. Once you forecast how much you will need to move, you can begin saving toward that number.
Since I have a full 6 months before I plan to move out, I have plenty of time to save. I am also happy to wait to find the perfect apartment and save as much as I can to afford it. If you don’t have that luxury, remember that the more you save, the faster you will meet the demand of your budget—and the higher the likelihood that you can afford your ideal apartment.
Separate The Fun From The Funds
Well, separate the “fun” money and the apartment funds. A way that I manage to do this is by having multiple bank accounts. One account I use solely for my “Treat Yo Self” funds, and the other is for all of my serious expenditures.
I think we can agree that moving out definitely falls under “serious expenditures,” so we want to build this account up. A way to do this is by adding to it more frequently. We can simply add every other paycheck to our apartment fund. This will help the account build at a reasonable rate and still allow us to have funds for our current living expenses.
The Plus Side Of Taxes
No, you did not read that wrong. There is a plus side to taxes: a sudden influx of money refunded to you in April (like Bridget mentioned before me).
OK, I know that not everyone gets a huge influx, or even anything, but if you are lucky enough to get this money, look at is as a bonus check. While it might be tempting to spend that “bonus” on yourself, I promise you will not be sorry if you put it toward something practical (for Bridget, her student loans; for us, an apartment).
Any additions to your apartment fund will help you achieve your goal faster, so try to put any “bonus money” (tax refunds, birthday money, etc.) right into your apartment account. That way, you can avoid being overwhelmed and enjoy the apartment-hunting process!
How did you save up for your first apartment? Let us know in the comments.