First Apartment Checklist

Moving into your first apartment is exciting. It can also be a little scary thinking about the prospect of handling all the expenses. You've determined that you can afford the rent (including first and last month's rent/deposit), but have you thought of other monthly bills and expenditures? Remember to add in any costs for initial hook-up of phone, internet and cable services. The best way to make this important financial transition is to prepare a budgeting checklist for your first apartment.

What's on the Budget?

Start making your budget for the apartment by listing the essentials you'll pay for monthly:

First Apartment
  • Rent
  • Student Loan Payments
  • Credit Card Payments
  • Utilities: In addition to electric, gas and water services, you might include cable TV, phone and Internet costs here. Even though they're not essential, it's a monthly expense.
  • Car Payments: Be sure to add insurance to your budget if you pay it monthly.

Don’t forget essentials that aren't monthly bills:

  • Food
  • Gasoline
  • Household Items: Things like paper products, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Pet Food and Supplies: Remember to include vet visits!

Once you have these expenditures listed, add non-essentials like entertainment, discretionary spending on clothes, electronics and other items to your apartment checklist.

  • Eating Out: Include going to lunch with co-workers and splurging at coffee shops.
  • Fun Decor for the Apartment: You'll need to budget differently for bigger items like furniture, but small home accessories to decorate your place should be included.

Flexible Budgeting

Aside from the set amounts you'll pay monthly, like rent, you may find that estimating spending in other categories is the best you'll do at first. After you've been in your first apartment a couple months, you'll have a much clearer idea of how much you need for all your expenses. In most cases, your monthly spending will flex and there will always be unexpected expenses that pop up. Consider those factors and after you have more data, and be willing to adjust your budget as needed.

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