Can You Afford Your Apartment?

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College Student Budgeting

Searching for an apartment can be a daunting task, but when you consider the financial end of it, that feeling can get worse. How can you figure out what rent rate won’t break the bank for you in the long run? Don’t get too overwhelmed! It’s quite easy to find out what is a good price point for you and how to find a fantastic apartment in your ideal price range.

Know How Much You Make

Keeping Track of IncomeNeed to know what rent price you can afford? Well figuring out that price point all starts with figuring out how much you make. This can be easily tracked by adding up all of your paychecks for the year and coming up with a monthly average income. If you work on salary wages, then this process is even easier, since you have a set amount of income every year.

Typically a good rent price will be about 30-40% of your monthly income, but this also depends on the cost of living in your area.

If you’re a college student with no income, you’ll need to have this discussion with your parents. Ask how much they’re willing to pay and what they can afford. Let them know that they’ll likely need to co-sign the lease, so landlords can ensure that the apartment will get paid for.

Figure Out Any Additional Living Expenses

Flames of a gas stove reflect in a cookiUnfortunately, rent isn’t the only expense that comes with living in an apartment. You also have to take into account the number of other expenses that come into play, including utilities like electric, water, internet, cable, trash, etc. Of course, there are also other expenses that may. These expenses vary from apartment to apartment. Some include these extra costs in the rent, while others don’t. Take the time to do the math and figure out if you’re truly getting a good deal. Make sure you add up these costs before deciding on whether or not an apartment fits into your budget.

Have Your Standards & Stick to Them…

Cockroach at a Complaints DeskIf you find that your rent budget is much lower than you’d originally anticipated, then make adjustments accordingly. It’s the responsible thing to do.

But make sure that you don’t budge on some things. Just because you can only pay $850 for an apartment instead of $1100 in rent doesn’t mean you have to live in a hovel or share a room with ten cockroaches. Just keep searching for that perfect apartment within your price range.

…But Know When to Compromise Too

Female Friends Moving Into New HomeOf course, don’t have unrealistic expectations either. You may not have to live in a cardboard box for your budget rent, but you can’t expect to live in a palace for pennies either.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around what you should prioritize, make a list of things you can’t picture yourself compromising on. Then make a list of things you’d like to have in your new apartment, but are willing to give up for the sake of price. After that, make a list of things you don’t really care about. Refer to this list throughout your search process and move things around as needed. Write your maximum budget at the very top of the list. It’ll help you along during your search!

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Photo Credits: Bottled Creativity, Crain’s, CBS DFW, CheezBurger,¬†Relocation