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Financial Wellness

How To Save Money for an Apartment: 3 Tips

It’s hard to save money for a new apartment — that’s just the truth. It may be especially difficult if you are a first-time renter and have lots of extra bills like student loans weighing down your wallet. On top of that, getting into a new apartment doesn’t just involve saving up enough for a monthly rate. You also have to save up enough for a security deposit and other fees. With so many financial factors to consider, it’s no wonder lots of young adults don’t know how to save money for an apartment successfully. Let’s change that by breaking down three major tips you can follow to save money efficiently and consistently in the years to come.

1. Make a Detailed Budget

Firstly, always make a detailed budget of your current expenses and how much you’ll need to save to get into the new apartment of your dreams. There are a few ancillary steps to take to do this.

Calculate All Bills

Start by calculating all of the bills you currently have to pay regularly. These bills include:

  • Utility bills such as your electricity bill
  • The cost of groceries
  • Student loans
  • Renter’s insurance (if you pay it)
  • Your car payment, car insurance, and gas payments
  • Any other living expenses you can think of

When you calculate all these bills, you’ll come up with a total amount of money you need to maintain each month to stay financially stable.

Determine How Much You Spend Each Month

But that number isn’t the same as how much you actually spend every month. Most of us like to spend some extra cash on luxuries and fun experiences, like going out to eat, going to the movies, taking trips with our friends, and more.

Therefore, you should also calculate how much you spend on extra stuff, then add it to your bills and steady monthly expenses. The final number you get is your total expenditures every month.

Figure Out How Much Money You Have Left

Once you do that, simply calculate how much money you make every month from your job, your student stipend, and/or other income sources. Subtract your monthly expenditures and voila: you now know exactly how much spare cash you have to start saving up for an apartment.

If the number looks a little too low, don’t worry; we’ll go over ways you can make it bigger shortly.

Add Up Future Apartment Expenses

Adding up the future expenses for your new apartment is another crucial step when saving up. As noted above, you can’t just save up enough money for a new or first apartment’s standard monthly rate, nor can you rely on a credit card. You also need:

  • First and last month’s rent. Most renters require this lump sum so that they don’t have to rely on you remembering to pay your last month’s rent right before you move.
  • The security deposit, essentially serves as financial insurance for the renter. You’ll get this money back if you don’t damage your apartment during your tenancy, but until then, it’s an unfortunate expense that makes moving into a new apartment financially trickier.
  • Pet fees/pet deposits and other expenses, depending on whether you have a pet, whether you need to pay for extra parking space, etc.

It’s important to calculate the future expenses of your new apartment ahead of time so you know your budgetary target. Then you can look at how much extra money you have each month after your expenditures and do a basic calculation: how many months of saving at your current rate will it take you to reach your new apartment budget goal?

For example, say that you currently have total monthly expenditures of $1900, and you make $2000 a month. That means you only have $100 to spare. Given typical apartment prices, you’d have to save up for several years to make enough money to move into a new apartment!

2. Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses

That leads us to our second tip: save money more aggressively by cutting out unnecessary expenses. Odds are you can do this in several areas of your life if you take a critical eye to your spending habits. Here are a couple of ways you can save up extra cash by spending a little less.

Stop Streaming Subscriptions

Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services are convenient and a lot of fun, but they aren’t always necessary. Let’s be honest; how many of us stay subscribed to these streaming services out of laziness or convenience even if there’s nothing we want to watch on them for months at a time?

Do yourself and your budget a favor and cancel subscriptions to streaming platforms, online games, and other subscription-based services you don’t use or need. 15 bucks here and there may not seem like a lot, but it can add up over time!

Take Public Transportation

Gas prices are pretty expensive, and that likely won’t change in the future. If you can manage it, consider swapping to public transportation for going to and from work or whatever else you are able. Public transportation is usually cheaper than driving your own car since you don’t have to pay for gas. On top of that, you don’t run the risk of getting into a car accident, which would certainly take a bite out of your wallet!

Shop Online Less Often

Amazon, Etsy, and other online stores are pretty tempting thanks to their low or free shipping policies and sheer wealth of varied, valuable items. But online shopping is dangerous precisely because of its convenience. Clicking a mouse a few times doesn’t feel very expensive, but little online purchases made consistently over a month can eat into your budget more than you may think.

Try to shop online less often, or at least avoid mindless or aimless shopping when you’re bored. Many of us tend to accumulate extra stuff we don’t really need, and that unspent money can instead be saved for a new apartment.

Instead of shopping, consider apartment hunting for the right first place for you and any roommates. Apartment complexes come in many types, and discovering housing costs ahead of time can help you set good financial goals going forward. Be sure to consider the cost of renting in one place against the cost for another.

3. Funnel Extra Money to a Savings Account

That’s right – the third big tip to save money for an apartment is to open a savings account and start funneling extra cash into it ASAP. Whenever you have a few extra bucks, put that money in your savings account so it’s out of reach and out of mind.

Savings accounts are the best tools to save up cash for a new apartment because:

  • They display a big, growing number, making it easier to maintain motivation and discipline as you save up for the target amount you calculated earlier
  • They earn interest over time. Just having money in a savings account at a bank or credit union can help you make a bit of extra cash and work toward your apartment goal.
  • They require an extra step to take money out of savings and spend it frivolously. It’s harder to break your promise to yourself to save up money for a new apartment if you have to take it out of a bank account.

For the best results, take advantage of auto-pay controls via your online bank or credit union’s website or app. For example, you can tell your online bank to automatically take $100 from each paycheck and put it in your savings account.

You can be even more aggressive with your savings by recognizing the urge to buy or spend money on something you don’t need. Then, when you feel that urge, put that money straight in the savings account.

Done consistently, you can sometimes trick your brain into thinking you’re buying something special if you put the money in your savings account and watch the number go up. This is a great strategy if you want to learn self-discipline and cultivate better money-saving habits for the future. As an added bonus, this may improve your credit score over time.

Financial Wellness Matters, Too

As you can see, there are lots of ways you can save money for an apartment. Planning a budget, determining how much you need to save, then prioritizing saving rather than spending can go a long way toward letting you move into the apartment of your dreams by yourself or with a roommate.

Need other financial ideas? 1AND1 Life is dedicated to helping you be 1% better in every aspect of your life, every day. We offer a variety of resources for physical, financial, and other forms of wellness so that you can become your best self. 

Sources:

Security Deposit Definition | Investopedia

Average Rent by State 2022 | World Population Report

Transit is expensive (if you own a car) | Mobility Lab

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