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What's it like, money wise, to have an apartment?

During college, depending on which one I go to, I was thinking about getting my own apartment, something cheap for now until I save up more money than I do now. I want to have the feeling of living on my own, to try and see if I can handle it. #financial-planning #mortgage

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Robert’s Answer

I believe it's always prudent to weigh your options. Look at total projected costs for each option, then look to see the time differences between all options. Time is one of, if not "the" most valuable commodities despite your age. I recently made a move that created more cost each month, though gave me 30-60 minutes less in driving 5 days a week. That's at minimum 125 hours per year.
Also, what does your budget allow for? If the least expensive option still leaves you without any wiggle room, another option must be found. Allow for 10-20% flexibility in your assumed expenses to ensure the likelihood that you are accurate. When budgeting, do your best to not spend without being to save. If you have no emergency fund, yet really want a new smartphone, consider setting a goal to reach before buying the thing you want. Time is one of your greatest assets, use it accordingly!

Robert recommends the following next steps:

Evaluate all known option
Identify approximate cost for each (with cushion)
Factor in cost of time
Budget smart
Save if at all possible

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Jared’s Answer

Having rented an apartment in a couple of different states and in a high cost of living city, it can be expensive. It's really important to not forget that rent is not the total cost of living in an apartment. Things like internet, water, garbage service, electricity, parking, or pet rent may factor into the total cost.

There's also all of the smaller costs of outfitting your apartment! This can be easier if you have roommates or get household items from friends and family.

I think the key thing is to do research on housing costs where you live, there are a lot of great resources online. Most apartments can also provide you with an estimate of the cost to live there with example water, internet, and electricity costs.

Jared recommends the following next steps:

Make sure you are ready for an apartment and are financially secure!
Do lots of research on the area and the specific apartment first!

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Christina’s Answer

It is great to live on your own but getting an apartment is so much more than that. If you living alone you will take on all the financial responsibility alone. If you are not used to managing your own finances this can be a challenge. Having enough money to pay for everything. So I can suggest that you maybe you try what one of my friends did with her daughter. She lived at home her first year of college. She lived in the basement that was like an apartment. She paid rent to her mom. It was not much money but still a great learning experience. Her daughter had a small job making minimum wage. The daughter also had to pay her own car expenses, insurance and food. She quickly learned that being on her own was a lot of work. She learned about how saving money was important. As well as having that new dress or pair of shoes was not the most important thing to buy. Trying to take on the responsibility without help can be overwhelming and take away from your primary focus, education.
It can be expensive if you try to tackle living on your own.

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Will’s Answer

Your first apartment, usually with roomates is an amazing experience and your first apartment living on your own can also be awesome but brings with it some financial realities. Outside of your rent your also no longer splitting, utilities, cable, internet, all of this can add up fairly quickly so make sure and get billing averages from the apartment complex your looking at in order to build in cost estimates to your budget. Things like security deposits are usually partially refundable if you take care of the place but there could be other fees on top of the rent such as amenity fees depending on the complex and what amenities they offer. Also and this is very important, make sure you get renters insurance, it's usually only $10-20 a month and will cover your belongings in case of damage or theft.

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Jeff’s Answer

An apartment has more expenses than most people consider besides rent, security deposit (usually) and utilities. If it's your first apartment you need to buy a lot of small things you've never thought about like furniture, trash cans, dish towels, and spices. Before you decide to get an apartment, try going through a big box store and add up the costs of everything you would buy to stock a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom and add them up on the calculator on your phone. Doing that makes many people want to live with a roommate and split those costs. It's also why many college students live on campus at least the first year. Some schools require that you do so.

Jeff recommends the following next steps:

Before deciding to live in an apartment, add up the costs of everything to stock an apartment
Consider living with roommates or on campus in comparison to costs
Check if your school requires freshman to live on campus. (Many schools do)
Don't forget to consider costs of utilities and security deposits before choosing an apartment

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RAFAEL’s Answer

It is a solid financial commitment. Must know your budget upfront in order to determine affordability, location, and lease options. It is a great experience to learn the financial ethics required to maintain the monthly rental payments including any additional utility payments. Will also expose you to the independence many seek as young professionals.

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Lamecca’s Answer

It can be expensive if you try to tackle the responsibility alone. Try to get a few roommates to help with expenses. Split everything equally, except for food. Trying to take on the responsibility without help can be overwhelming and take away from your primary focus, education. Good luck and take one step at a time.

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Jonathan’s Answer

The way to make it work is to realize that you need to operate within a budget. It doesn’t have to be restrictive, but you need to tell yourself how you plan to spend the money. This is key to having your own apartment/house. This will give you a lot of peace of mind and stability as you transition to college and life as an adult. Make budgeting a habit now that you are young and a student just starting out in your first apartment so that when you are making more money you will not have to work as hard to develop the habit.