Spend Right: A Budget Checklist for Your First Apartment

Written by  //  2022/03/18  //  Student Budgeting  //  Comments Off on Spend Right: A Budget Checklist for Your First Apartment

Spend Right: A Budget Checklist for Your First Apartment

As you progress into adulthood, dozens of life lessons get thrown at you at breakneck speed. You’ve got to learn how to live on your own and do all the things your parents used to do for you! From managing your own calendar to doing your own dishes, young adulthood is a nonstop learning experience. When you’re done living in the dorms or are ready to move out of Mom and Dad’s place, a rental apartment is a popular next step.

Before you make that move, though, prepare to watch your bank account more closely. There’s a little math involved, but this budget checklist for your first apartment will keep you from going broke at the most inconvenient of times.


Obviously, you’ve got to pay to keep that roof over your head. When you shop around for apartments, pay attention to the rent and consider your own income. Ideally, you’ll be spending between one-fourth and one-third of your monthly income on rent.


Running water, air conditioning, Wi-Fi—unfortunately, these things are often not included with rent. If you’re thinking about getting cable, tally up how much you pay for streaming services first. Do you really need cable along with Netflix, Hulu, and all those other services?

About half of your monthly income should go toward living expenses. Think about what’s left over after you pay your rent, and monitor it carefully. Remember that gas costs go up in the winter to keep your apartment warm, so prepare for that uptick.


Many landlords and leasing companies require you to purchase renter’s insurance as a condition of your lease. A good rental insurance policy will cover any damage done to the inside of your apartment while you’re living there. Accidents happen at inopportune times; it’s best to be insured so that you don’t get stuck with hefty repair bills.


When you go grocery shopping, set a budget for yourself. This is one of the easiest areas to tighten your belt when you’re cash poor. Many grocery stores offer coupon cards, and generic brands are often just as good as the name-brand stuff.

Stock up on staple foods like rice, beans, pasta, and potatoes. If you’ve got extra grocery money one week, invest in some spices! A well-stocked spice rack can make a budget-friendly meal extra tasty.


Do what you can now to protect and enrich your future. Set aside between 10 and 20 percent of your monthly income into a savings account. It’ll act as a cushion when you have emergencies (car trouble, urgent care visits) and give you some peace of mind. Start moving beyond that paycheck-to-paycheck life!

Before you make your big move, make sure you can afford it. Shop for apartments that are comfortably within your price range and be wise about your utility use. A little thrift now can keep you financially stable going forward. Keep this budget checklist for your first apartment at the forefront of your mind as you plan your move.

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