If you’re about to move into a new rental apartment, this is likely to be a super busy – and exciting – time. With everything going on right now, be sure to set aside some time to think about a financial plan for your first few months in your new place. This period can come as a bit of a shock to the system, especially if you’ll be moving out of your home for the first time. There will be lots of new bills hitting and things to take of cropping up, and proper budgeting will be crucial.
Don’t worry, though. With a little bit of prior planning and some canny financial moves, your first few months in your rental apartment can be stress-free, so you can get on with just enjoying your new life.
Create a Household Budget
First and foremost, create a budget plan. To be most effective, make this as comprehensive as possible. Your budget should include full details of all your income and outgoings, including regularly occurring bills, subscription costs, and expenses such as groceries and transport costs.
Build into your budget, if possible, a monthly savings amount that you’ll transfer into a separate account. Experts recommend that this should be 25% of your disposable income, but if this isn’t doable, work out a figure that you can more easily commit to every month. If you have debt, use this 25% amount initially to pay off these amounts and, once this is achieved, then put it into a savings account.
Furnishing and Kitting Out Your Apartment
Securing your new apartment and paying your security deposit and first month’s rent is just the start: you need to furnish your new pad and install all the equipment you’ll need. You may already have most of what’s required, or you could be starting from scratch and need everything from a sofa to cutlery.
There are ways to keep this expense down. Thrift and second-hand stores can be great for getting essential items cheaply, while local online listings are also worth checking out: you may even be able to find furniture available for free.
Alternatively, consider registering an account at a large department store and throwing an apartment-warming party. If guests indicate they’d like to bring along a gift to help you get settled in, point them in the direction of your chosen store.
Don’t Forget to Get Renters Insurance
In all the excitement and busyness of moving into your new rental apartment, it’s easy to forget things like getting renters insurance in place. Such a policy is really important, though, to protect your personal possessions against damage and theft. It may surprise you that the average cost of renters insurance is quite low, and a policy helps prevent you first few months in your new pad from being marred by a nasty, unexpected bill to replace costly items of equipment.
Monthly premiums can be as low as $5 a month, and a typical policy covers personal property, personal liability and medical bills, and temporary living expenses.
Check the Thermostat
A thermostat turned up too high can cost you a significant amount and is something you can easily change. Once you’ve moved in, take a look at the thermostat to find out how high it’s turned up (or otherwise) and whether it’s on a timer. If it’s set to click on every couple of hours, but you’re out at work all day, you may want to adjust this to save money.
Lowering your thermostat by just one degree could equal around a 1% savings on your annual fuel bill. This may not sound like much, but with fuel bills creeping up nationwide, it could save you a significant amount of money.
Set Up That Side Hustle
If you’ve got a side hustle up your sleeve, now could be the perfect time to test the water. Whether you’ve got a knack for creating gorgeous websites or are renowned for your cake-baking skills, monetizing your hobby could bring in the extra funds to make your few months in your new pad that little bit more comfortable. A few hours of work on your side hustle on a weekend or a couple of evenings a week could make a big difference to your levels of disposable income.
Don’t forget to check your lease, though, to ensure homeworking is allowed, and make sure you’re up to speed with any licenses, etc, required.
Making the First Few Months in Your New Rental Apartment Stress-Free
Use the above guide to help your first few months in your new rental apartment run as smoothly – financially and otherwise – as possible. Just a little bit of prior planning and preparation will ensure a hassle and stress-free settling-in period and guard against any nasty financial surprises.