Budget Tips for First Time Renters
Renting your first apartment can be an exciting event! From moving in, to decorating, and getting to know your neighbors, there’s so much to consider! One thing that you might not have put much thought into though is budgeting for your new apartment – an important step when moving out on your own. Follow these budgeting tips to take the stress out of renting your first apartment.
Make a Budget
Failing to make a budget is the most surefire way to overspend. There’s no way of knowing how much you should allow yourself to spend without first knowing how much money you have coming in and going out.
Start by downloading this apartment budgeting worksheet (right click image and choose “save image as”) or by downloading a budget smart phone app such as Pocket Expense by Appxy.Be sure to fill it out thoroughly, going through each column and putting in your income, and each of your expenses. Not only should you keep track of each of your monthly bills, but also your regular expenses (entertainment, eating out, etc.) One thing I like to do is separate necessary expenses from unnecessary expenses. For example, if I spend $30 per month on coffee, I will write “$30” in red ink, so I know where I should be cutting out any excess spending.
Look for Ways to Save Money
Once your budget worksheet is complete, take a look at it to find any expenses you can cut.
- Paying too much for cable? Try Netflix or Hulu instead.
- Paying too much on going out to the movies and popcorn? Grab a movie at Redbox and make your own popcorn at home.
- Spending too much on going out for lunch? Start packing your lunch from last night’s leftovers, a sandwich and fruit, or soup and salad. Chances are you’ll start feeling better without all the greasy fast foods weighing you down!
Follow your Budget
After you have set a budget for yourself, make sure that you follow it! Force yourself to be strict about not exceeding your budget. If you’re allowing yourself to spend $20 per month on coffee, put a $20 bill in an envelope marked “coffee” and only use that for your coffee trips. At the end of the month, put another $20 bill in the envelope.
Going along with the envelope idea, try to refrain from using your credit cards as much as possible. Today, it has never been easier to just swipe your card and move on, without thinking anything of it. Spending money is so easy, it can condition you to think that spending money is not a big deal.
However, a recent study suggests that when you pay with cash, it accesses a part of your brain associated with pain. Paying with cash can make you think twice about just handing over your money, whereas credit cards typically lead directly to overspending.
For all of you first time renters, budgeting your money, will help you make the most of apartment life. Renting your first apartment can be full of many difficult choices. Fortunately, we are positive that living at Montrose Square Apartments in Fort Wayne was your first great choice!