Money is the most prohibitive factor when searching for a new place to live and costs can easily spiral out of control without setting a proper budget. While living with a roommate is cheaper than staking out on your own, pricing is still key and you don’t want to take on more than you can afford. So create a budget and most importantly, STICK TO YOUR BUDGET.
There are many enticing amenities you’ll encounter during an apartment search. Some complexes have pools, gyms, washing machines, and lots of storage space. But remember, these extras will be baked into the cost of your rent. If you’re looking at two similarly priced places and one has a gym, pool, and tennis courts, the apartment will likely be worse off than the one without those amenities. Figure out what’s really important to you and create a list of “Must Haves”. This way you won’t get tempted by extras that you might only use a few times a year.
When deciding on a budget, don’t just include rent and utilities. Put all your expenses on a spreadsheet and calculate how much apartment you can afford. If you have an expensive gym membership and the apartment complex has a fitness center, you might actually SAVE money there by cancelling the gym membership and using the on-site facilities. But also factor in how much commute time will be added or if things are generally more pricey in that area. Gas and groceries are two weekly expenses that need to be factored in.
After you’ve created a budget, find places that match it. You’ll want to factor in all costs,including rent, utilities, food, gas, and so on. If you pay $15 a month to be an Audible books-on-tape subscriber, put that down too. Don’t be swayed by extras that might take you over your budget. Remember, the apartment is where you’ll be spending most of your time, so that’s the most important thing to critique. Besides, you won’t use the tennis courts anyway.