An important question many first-time renters have is – How Much Money should you have before moving into an apartment? The true answer can be vague depending on where you live.
But the rule I used, regardless of where I lived, was to save about 3 to 6 months’ worth of my spending budget. In my honest opinion, if you really need to move, move with 3-month savings. If you have time to move and you’re not in a rush, try to move when you have reached 6 months’ worth of savings.
For what it’s worth, when I moved out for the first time, I saved up 6 months emergency fund. Let me be crystal clear. This meant my future rent, bills (all of them), insurance, food, car note, gas and all other necessities totaled together.
Here’s an example of what my monthly expense was at that time:
- Future Rent = $1200
- Utilities (approx. for 1 person) = $70
- Food = $300
- Vehicle Insurance = $120
- Car note = $300
- Gasoline = $200
- Netflix = $12
- Amazon Prime = $14
- Mobile phone = $50
- Total = $2,266
Based on the example above, I had to save between $6,798 (3 months) to $13,596 (6 months).
Additionally, I had to pay a down payment plus the first month’s rent for the new apartment. That being the case, this came out to about 2 months’ worth of rent. Therefore, I needed an additional $2,400 to cover this.
Why should you save 3 to 6 months before you move out?
The plan was to help me remain stress free from any unforeseen emergencies. If I were to lose my job, I would have 6 months to find another before I was in financial trouble. That is the sole purpose.
Additionally, I had a minor emergency while being in the 2nd month at my first apartment, I had a filing fall out of my tooth. I thought to myself, “okay, not a problem. Its just a filing and it shouldn’t be too expensive.” Jokes one me!
I went in, and the Dentist realized that I had to get all my filings replaced as they had already past their lifespan. (15 years if you’re interested)
Luckily, I was able to pay it with the money I had saved. Therefore, everyone should have savings for such occasions because you can never be too sure.
How I stockpiled 6 months’ worth of savings
Simply put, the way I saved money so I could start moving to an apartment was to lower my cost of living .
After finishing college, I decided to move back with my father for about a year to help me financially stabilize myself. I know this option is not available for everyone, but if it is, do it if you can.
There are other ways of lowering your cost of living. For example, I had to be strict with not buying alcohol at venues or bars. This literally saved me $100s per month.
I also stopped eating out and found a cool hobby that I now enjoy because of this. I started finding recipes of my favorite fast-food restaurants and learned to make them myself. YouTube is a goldmine for this. It turns out that cooking for yourself is way cheaper than going out. Who would of have thought?!?!
Lastly, I got a 2nd job that lasted for 3 months. I already had an 8-5 job but I wanted to save more and as fast as possible. But guess what? I had credit card debt! YAY! – I ended up getting an evening janitorial job (I know….) but it helped me pay off all my credit debt. After I accomplished this, I immediately quit. Remember, a 2nd job should not be forever.
Additional Expenses I was not expecting when I moved out
A couple of things that nobody gave me a warning was the activation fees for utilities and moving costs.
When you call in to turn on your gas, electricity, and water you not only have to pay for the usage, but for first-time activation fees. I was really annoyed by this because no one told me about this.
I was charged an additional $30 to activate my Electricity and $20 for gas. Additionally, I was also charged $15 to activate my internet. All these charges were totaled into my first month bill.
I was frustrated by this, so I had to make sure I included this unwelcome surprise to keep in mind.
The moving costs was also something that I was not prepared for. I didn’t realize I had to buy boxes, tape, and plastic wrap so my fragile items could survive the move. I also needed help moving heavy boxes, so I did have a friend help me move. He didn’t want to take my money, but I made sure to buy him lunch.
If you find yourself requiring help, you may have to pay to get some muscle. Keep this in mind!
Additional tips – Money saved for moving to apartment.
1)Generally, everyone and their mother will tell you to make at least 3X the monthly rent. So, if rent is $1000, you should make $3000 gross income. (Side note: I’ve been in debate weather if its gross or net income, but rest assured its gross income that landlords are looking at)
But this suggestion is not always entirely true. In higher markets like Los Angles, New York, or San Francisco, you may see that the suggested income is as low as 2X the monthly rent. I know this for a fact because my first place was in Los Angeles, and I was at the 2x threshold and was able to snag my first unit with no issue.
2) You may need a moving truck. This cost can vary but expect to pay between $150-$300 to rent a truck.
3) Furniture for your new apartment doesn’t need to be new. This is truer if it’s your first time moving out. You can get a cheap couch or appliances at a secondhand store or OfferUp. You can also find good deals on Facebook market and Craigslist.
4) To quickly save money so you can start moving to an apartment, stay home if you can until you have reached your 6-month emergency fund and down payment.