Moving out on your own is a stage of life all young individuals look forward to. It’s the time to officially cross over into adulthood; you become socially and financially independent from your parents and can create your own path in life. Many who look to take this important step, however, are finding it has become more financially taxing to do so. This additional burden has slowed, and even stalled in some cases, the progress of many individuals fresh out of college, keeping them at home for longer than they planned. Take control of your future, and get started on your independent life by learning how to save money on your first apartment.
Put Together Your Budget and Stick to It
Creating your budget is the crucial first step in any major investment. Like buying a home, renting your first apartment comes with a series of expenses you need to account for. Generate a budget to account for these expenses, as it will help you calculate what you can afford. This will ultimately prevent you from making an investment you can’t manage.
When you look at apartments, one of the most important expenses to determine is rent, as it varies by location and changes every year. According to RentCafe, for example, “The average rent for an apartment in Houston [Texas] is $1,103, a 1% increase compared to the previous year.” With rent regularly increasing like this across the country, knowing how much you can reasonably pay for could save you from overspending.
Other factors you should consider in your budget include the monthly price of utilities and insurance options. Your rent may cover a few of the utilities you’ll use, but there is often one or two you’re responsible for yourself. This expense can vary by property, but it’s often either water or electricity. Insurance will also take up a considerable chuck of your funds, as you need it to ensure you’re protected. In addition to car and health insurance, you want to purchase renters’ insurance, some rental properties even require it, to prevent you from losing everything in an unexpected situation.
Take Time to Shop Before Committing
Once you establish a working budget for yourself, it will be considerably easier to stay within your means. With an idea of how much you can afford, you can narrow down your options quicker and make the most financially beneficial choice. A set budget, however, doesn’t mean you can choose just any apartment that falls within your numbers. It’s very important you review your options before you plan to seriously commit, as this can help you paint a clearer picture of each choice.
While it might be tempting to choose the first apartment that seems to meet all your needs, doing additional research could yield information that wasn’t apparent in the complex’s official website. Allow yourself enough time to make a short list of options that pique your interest, and narrow them down as you learn more about them. To get more information about your options, compare the listings on third-party websites, read current and past tenant reviews, and ask detailed questions when you visit in person. These can all help you find deals and let you know whether you want to live at one place over another.
Carefully Plan Out What Furniture You Need
Though rushing out to buy furniture might be on the top of your priority list after you move in, it’s important to know what you want. Furnishing the space just to simply have it furnished will cause you to spend more than you need to and reduce the space’s effectiveness in your daily life. To create a functional apartment space that works for you without breaking the bank, start with the necessities and fill in things as they’re needed.
Pieces such as an affordable bed or couch are needed to live in the space, so it’s important to prioritize these items over others. Once you have these things situated in your apartment, you can fill in the rest slowly over time. This will give you time to research your options, plan out what you want to use each space for, and make a purchase that fits.
After you buy your furniture, be sure to properly care and maintain it to save you the cost of replacements. As an additional tip, if you have pets, you might want to take special care to pet-proof your furniture, as your furry friend can accidentally cause damage and further expense to you.
Monitor Your Utility Consumption
No matter which utility you need to take care of yourself each month, it’s crucial you monitor how much of it you use to save money. Fortunately, because you’re directly responsible for what’s not included in rent, you can cut back on your consumption when you need to. Be sure to stay on top of your budget for each month so you can respond accordingly.
If you find your utility bills get out of hand, there are plenty of ways to cut back on how much you use. If you’re responsible for electricity, you can cut back simply by turning off the lights when you leave a room or unplugging appliances when you’re not using them. With water, on the other hand, you may need to make changes such as shortening your shower length or turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth. While these things may seem small, they can help you save some additional cash each month.
Make More Home-Cooked Meals
Another way to save money on your first apartment is to limit how often you eat out. Regularly purchasing take out, or going to a sit-down restaurant, can get pricy if left unchecked. While these things are good in moderation, partaking too often can cut into your funds. To save money, it’s recommended that you make meals at home. Not only is this the healthier alternative, but it can also get you in touch with your inner chef.
Even if you aren’t skilled in the culinary arts, you can still incorporate this practice into your daily routine by adopting shortcuts. You can make meals that require a slow-cooker, for example, to get the home-cooked charm without the need to cut into your busy schedule. Since you can also shop around and compare the prices of ingredients, you can also ensure you get the best deal on each thing you purchase.
If you’re ready to embrace your independence, and save some cash while you do it, Bi-Rite Furniture has just what you need. Our affordable furniture store in Houston, Texas, is stocked with a variety of furniture pieces you can incorporate into your new home at a fraction of the standard cost.