You've signed the lease and you have a move-in date. You know how much rent you can afford. But what are your expenses once you move in? Let's break it down.
First, there's the moving. This is a one-time expense, but it can be a big one. You need to decide whether you're using movers or friends. Movers can be expensive (work for Pizza) but they'll also likely do a better and quicker job. Friends, on the other hand, are cheaper and may be happy to help. Either way, as you move in you'll also need to may need some of the basics like housewares, cleaning supplies and don't forget the food. Left over pizza from the move will only last so long..
Once you get that out of the way, what are the monthly expenses you can expect:
. This is your primary monthly expense - and the largest. Pay on time to stay in your landlord's good graces - and to avoid any late fees.
Nott all apartments charge for heat. If your building uses radiators, don't expect a heating bill, but you may expect a slightly higher monthly rent since you landlord pays for heating
If Electricity in not included in your monthly rent you will be billed for it separately. Your landlord will be able to supply you information about how to set up an account with the provider. Many Landlords allow the Tenants to pay for their own Electricity so they are charged just for their own usage and not part a part of their rent that is calculated by the usage of the whole building. This means you only pay for what YOU use and not what your neighbor uses that leaves his light on 24-7.
In this day and age, internet is more of a necessity then a luxury. If you want cable as well, you may want to use a bundle to get a better monthly rate. Many landlords have relationships with suppliers that may get you even better rates. Inquire at your property management office to see if there are any options for this at your building get a bundled deal.
Renter's insurance is a must. This should be one of your highest priorities, Even above the Pizza. This not only protects your personal items from damage and theft buy can save you thousands of dollars in potential charges if you inadvertently cause the damage. For example you leave the water running and head out the apartment and your flood several floors. Your landlord will expect your insurance to cover the cost or the repair. If you don't have insurance then you will be on the hook for the bill.
You've got to Eat.
While you'll never get a bill in the mail for groceries, this is an expense you'll absolutely need to cover. If you're a bit tight on money, one of the best ways to save money is to eat-in regularly. Learn to cook - and bring bagged lunches to work and watch your savings grow.
Depending on where you live or what you do, you may need a car. When considering how much you can afford for your apartment remember to factor in your car expenses. This includes car payments, insurance, gas and maintenance.
Check with your landlord to see how much they charge for a parking spot. You don't want to circle the block for half an hour every time you come home to find a spot only to be ticketed as parking is prohibited overnight without a permit. . If you're stretching your budget to get a parking space, you probably may want to rethink the whole car thing and take public transit or ride a bike.
Going out is a lot of fun, but it can be very expensive. Keep track of how much you spend each month going out and decide if you can afford it. If you need to cut back, there are plenty of ways to hang out with friends on the cheap. You can bring them back to your new apartment and show off your new cooking skills.
While it may seem nerve-wracking at first, you'll get a hang of what you can afford and what you can't. Once you do, you'll be able to spend (and save) with confidence.