Renting for the first time can be a very rewarding and liberating experience as long as renters plan ahead financially. But, what expenses can you expect when living on your own? Here are a few common expenses renters face when living on their own and some tips on how to ease the burden.
- Rent: Paying rent is easily one of the biggest expenses renter’s face. Planning ahead and saving up for this expense is essential before making the big move. A good rule of thumb is to have at least enough saved to cover one additional month of rent (not including the security deposit) – although many experts recommend saving up to three months of rent costs if you can. (Also, when making rent payments, keeping them on time can save you quite a bit of money in late fees and other penalties.)
- Utilities: Unfortunately, utilities like gas, heat, electric and trash are not free – although they could be partially covered in the rent. That means that a good portion of your monthly expenditures will go to keeping your apartment functional. Many utility companies offer a “balanced” bill option, allowing you to pay the same amount each month. Taking advantage of this option could end up saving you a good chunk of change.
- Protecting against emergencies: Since your personal belongings are not covered by your landlord’s insurance, investing in renter’s insurance is essential to ensure that you aren’t out thousand of dollars in the event of a disaster (fire, burglary,etc.). Updating your apartment’s safety features, such as replacing smoke detector batteries and having a good fire extinguisher and emergency kit, could also be a smart investment. Many landlords may not pay for all of these types of expenses, so covering these small costs could help you save on health bills or other emergency expenses later.
- Living Essentials: No apartment is complete without furniture, kitchen essentials and of course, food. These expenses can also add up substantially taking many renters by surprise. Find a budget that works for you with these expenses and follow it – you’ll be glad when you end up with extra cash in your pocket instead of the register at Starbucks.
- The Extras: While such expenditures as a cell phone, internet and cable are not considered essentials; they are quickly becoming costly yet irreplaceable extras in our culture. When looking into these extras, determine which you can and cannot live without. If you are able to afford all of these “extras” look into bundle options from different companies. Such options could save you hundreds of dollars a month.
An apartment is a big financial commitment, but when renters know what to expect and budget accordingly, it can be a completely affordable one as well. What common apartment expenses would you add to this list?