So you’ve made up your mind, and you’re going to do it, you’re finally going to move out of your childhood home and into your first apartment. You’ve been dreaming of this moment all of your life. You know exactly what furniture you want, what color the walls are going to be, all the details about your first major milestone. Prepare as much as you are able to before you move out of your parents home the more you prepare the easier time you will have in life. (As one of my children has only recently / this past week moved into a first ever apartment / he is busy discovering how important and valuable advice from those who have gone before him can be!)
STOP DREAMING : First take some great advice here and save yourself some pain in life. Once you have all the basics covered. You know where the apartment is the lease has been combed over and you have signed and picked a moving day.
You will want to decorate: Get everything USED let me say that again for those who did not understand USED the only items that are exceptions and plan ahead so that you can afford would be bed linens, towels and maybe silverware for the kitchen.(Take your coupons and head to Bed Bath and Beyond / hopefully they are having a sale / buy only what you need and only bed linens , towels and silverware / even these few items get very pricey)
Take as many items from those you know that you can get free! Free is best but Thrift store cheap is also affordable. Drive to the top area of town (you know where all the rich folks live) now find the top thrift and consignment stores , these stores have the furniture , and decor for your apartment.
Tip #1 – Budget wisely. Experts suggest, when you’re looking for a place, the rent should be no more than 25-30% of your annual wages. Although you might fall in love with that two bedroom luxury apartment in the downtown high rise, you’re probably not going to be able to afford it. An eviction will mar your credit report and will be seen as a big black “X” to other potential landlords. Take a look at your income after taxes and subtract your expenses. Include food, household supplies, phone, cell, car payment, car insurance, parking fees, credit card bills, clothing, cleaners, gas, internet, healthcare, school loans, and entertainment. What you have left, is what you will be able to afford for your new place. Keep in mind that this total will need to include rent as well as any additional services, such as natural gas, water, electricity, cable and garbage pick up if it is not included in your rent. Make sure to ask your landlord to put in writing what is covered in your rent and what is not. Think outside the box to get the rent you can afford at a place you Love. Do you need 5 roommates to make it work? You can not prepare for everything however, if you budget wisely you will be able to afford things.
Don’t let your new apartment become a money pit. Getting ready to leave for the day turn off the lights (also learn to unplug anything that is not being used!) Washing dishes fill the sink with water don’t let the water run while prepping them for the dishwasher. Take short showers even a cooler shower if money is tight. (You can take a hot one at the gym later if need be.) Cover your windows with plastic during the winter months. (This is where you money goes flying out just to heat your place)
If the apartment rent is high, perhaps you will have to do without a house phone and cable tv , maybe you will have to have two roomates and do without as well. Whatever makes the numbers work. The key is in having a budget and living the budget.
Tip #2 – Think about the deposits. Not only will you need to afford a deposit on the apartment itself but you might also need to pay a fee to have your electricity turned on, phone hooked up, cable started, etc. The security deposit is most often equal to one month’s rent and the other deposits will range anywhere from $25 to $100. If you’re moving in the middle of the month (not recommended) you may have to pay for the remainder of that month’s rent as well as your first full month’s rent before you’re allowed to move in. Again, make sure that you plan ahead of time BEFORE you sign the lease and move in. Negotiate , Negotiate, Negotiate and then and only then sign the lease. Get everything you can in writing that is better for you.
Tip #3 – Use credit cards strictly as a way to build credit..Build an emergency fund before you leave home and use it only for Emergency! A true emergency is zero transportation I need to get to a job, or health issue of you or a family member, That is about all that falls under true emergency when you are a renter. Many people think nothing good can come from having credit cards around. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend the money. WRONG! Having credit cards and paying off your debt in a reasonable amount of time will only strengthen your credit report. In order to establish credit, you need to have credit. We need to be real here, there are times in everyone’s life when you need, and I mean, NEED, a credit card. Don’t worry about using it. Don’t feel the guilt. But, don’t be careless either. When you use credit cards, make sure that you pay your debt down and avoid carrying a balance for over three months. Rather than depending on your credit card as a way to make ends meet every month, know that it is there in the case of an emergency (true Emergency).
Now, use what you have learned from this article to help settle into your new place. Although it is a very exciting time, it can also be very stressful to deal with the responsibility of your own place. I hope your new apartment is one that is filled with friends, laughter and good times
See other post here at Glossy Money to make life in your new apartment easier.