The summer season is now in full swing, and if you’re a recent college grad, that means you’re probably catching some rays by the pool, dropping off your laundry and enjoying the extra sleep (finally!). Finals may be over, of course, but one of the biggest life lessons is still to come: preparing for financial adulthood. Although it might not seem like such a big deal right now, building a strong financial foundation is the key to having a bright and successful future—from buying a new car to investing in a house, having a good working understanding of all the ways in which to be smart about your finances will ultimately benefit your quality of life across the board.
Living on your own is a big part of this, and when it comes to renting an apartment, here are five important tips to make sure that you’re staying on top of your financial game:
1- Start budgeting.
Having, and sticking to, a solid budget is often a difficult lesson to learn, especially for people who have grown accustomed to a life of eating out and buying whatever they want. Mint.com has a budget app for iPhone users. Downloading apps for budgeting is the most effective way to save money, and once it becomes part of your everyday routine, it quickly becomes second nature.
2- Purchase renter’s insurance.
An inexpensive renter’s insurance policy will ensure that your personal property is protected from unforeseeable dangers including theft, fire and water damage. Renter’s insurance may even insure items outside your apartment, like your bike. It’s a small cost for such a large benefit.
3- Talk to you landlord about rent payment options.
Surprisingly enough, a couple of landlords may even be willing to negotiate the amount that they’re asking for their apartments. Additionally, don’t forget to take the time to speak with your landlord about paying rent online: you won’t have to deal with late fees, because you forgot to mail your check in on time, and it’s easier to coordinate rent payments with your roommates.
4- Be smart about utilities and energy savings.
By simply turning off lights and electronics that you aren’t using, you can save a large amount of money on your electricity bill each month by making your apartment more energy-efficient. Setting timers can help to achieve this.
5- Have roommates.
It’s no secret that it’s much cheaper to live with other people since splitting costs such as rent, utilities and furniture/decorations for the apartment can ease a lot of your financial stress. Just make sure to find roommates that have the same lifestyle as you and that you get along well with!