A Frugal Guide for First-Time Renters
Millennials are a generation that brought many changes, and unlike baby boomers, young adults (18- to 34-year-olds) of today most commonly live with their parents. A variety of factors impact this trend, especially employment and wages. And when they finally make that big step and try to search an apartment of their own, they face numerous fees, such as security deposit, insurance, and other administrative taxes. All of these factors are making renting an apartment a much more daunting task than it used to be. In order to get through this transition, you have to be prepared for all the challenges ahead. Here is a checklist for successful moving into your first apartment.
Can You Afford It?
So, you have decided to leave your parents’ house? Good for you, but is the wage you are currently getting enough to cover the rent costs each month? It depends on the rent, too. In order to have a sufficient amount of money left for food and other necessities, the rent should never amount to more than 30 percent of your income. This is harder to achieve in big cities where the rents are pretty high, so you might have to make the ends meet. You still shouldn’t agree on anything more than 50 percent of your salary.
What’s Your Credit Rating?
You might be the one choosing the apartment, but the landlords also have their say in the choice of tenants. If your bank account indicates that you are overextended, the potential landlords may have troubles accepting you. According to professionals from Lifull Real Estate, you should have at least three months’ worth of living expenses in your bank account. It would be good if you don’t have other debts, too.
Start with Basic Furniture
There is nothing quite like moving into your first apartment. For the first time in your life, you get the say about the décor and choice of furniture, but don’t get too carried away the very first month. When you first move in, all you need is a place to sleep, a place to sit down, and a place to prepare food and eat at. Take your time with everything else. Shop gradually and try to find a good deal.
Some people feel uncomfortable buying used furniture, but that can save you most money, and with a few updates, you can make those pieces almost like new. You just need to get your hands a bit dirty. Wooden pieces can be easily repainted (use sandpaper to remove the old layer of paint and then, apply a fresh one), and you can remove the upholstery from sofas and chairs and just replace it with new fabric and a staple gun.
Get the Bare Necessities
So, you have where to sit and where to eat, but aren’t you forgetting about something? That’s right, you will need light fixtures, small kitchen appliances, dishes, a garbage can, toilet supplies and many other small accessories. Most of these items can be found in dollar stores where ten dollars can go a very long way.
Modern-Day Must Haves
You can live with one coffee mug, one plate, one knife, one spoon and one fork, but can you actually live without high-speed internet and WiFi? Probably yes, but you wouldn’t like to try. Cable TV would also be nice if that’s not too much to ask. You may even get a better deal if you bundle these two services together.
Don’t Overlook Basic Living Expenses
Believe it or not, toilet paper doesn’t magically appear in your bathroom when you need it – you have to buy it. The same goes for cleaning products, shampoo and other bathroom supplies. First-time renters often forget to take into account the costs of laundry service and food. Speaking of food, cooking at home will save you a lot more money than eating out or takeout. Save money on food by shopping seasonal produce and visiting farmers’ markets near closing time when you can get great discounts.
When you add it all up, the costs of settling in your first place can be much higher than you have originally planned, but that’s the price of having your own nest, and guess what – it’s worth it. This huge milestone is definitely something to be celebrated, but first, you have to earn the chance to get into the festive mode by saving money wherever you can.