Getting Your First Apartment: How Much Money Do You Need to Save to Move Out?

2016 Update: Also check out our recent posts that help you calculate the maximum affordable rent on your salary: How Much Rent Can I Afford on My Hourly Pay and Affordable Rent Calculator.

For many of our readers, moving into their own apartment is the ultimate goal. You want a place of your own, whether that means sharing an apartment with friends, or finding a studio you can call yours.  But how do you get there? Earlier this year, we did a three part series on the topic. Now it’s time for a refresher course on how much money you’ll need each step of the way.

move out

So, let’s dive right in! First and foremost, in 2013, the rental market is very tight. According to Reuters, the national vacancy rate in apartments is now 4.3% , down from 8% in 2009. And if you are looking for a place in NYC, San Francisco, Chicago and many other major markets it’s much lower.  In other words: there aren’t many open apartments – and there are likely more people who want apartments than suitable apartments to go around. Which means that if you’re searching for a discount, or a deal, you’re unlikely to find one. It’s the simple reality of many hunters and few vacancies. If anything, you may have to pay a premium to get the place you want. So start saving! If you are a new grad making about $40,000, you’ll need $3,000 (detailed at the end of this post) in the bank before you can move.

Your Steady Income

If you’re looking to live in a place of your own, it’s best to have a steady income. You’ll be far more likely to secure a place, and you’ll have piece of mind once you move in. There are two common ways to determine the amount of apartment you can afford. Either:

  • Divide your monthly take-home income by three, or
  • Divide your gross annual income by forty

The resulting number is the absolute maximum you should pay in monthly rent. If you’re renting over your means, you’re going to be stressed every single month … and there’s never going to be a let-up. So stick to what you can afford. (If you don’t have a steady income, or you’re looking for work, or you’re looking into renting a share, see our tips for getting an apartment without meeting the income requirement. (Warning: you may need to have even more money saved.)

The Down Payment

Just because you meet the income requirements for a given price range, it doesn’t mean you’re done just yet. Scoring an apartment means putting down a security deposit. The security deposit is usually the same amount of money as one month’s rent. You’ll also likely be subjected to a background and credit check – which you’re often charged for, to the tune of $30-$100, depending on the management company. So that means that you’ll need to have roughly double your first month’s rent, plus $100 or so and you’ll need to be able to cut a check for that amount as soon as you want to secure a place. (Yes, you’ll eventually get back your security deposit, but that won’t be until the very end of your lease, provided you kept the apartment in good shape. In the meantime, it’s a thoroughly non-liquid asset that you need to save for.)

Moving

Don’t overlook this expense. Likely, it will either be for a moving-truck rental, or for a full-service move. Price each in your area. If you’re renting a moving truck in-town and doing the rest yourself, expect to pay around $40-$150 for the truck and supplies such as tape, boxes, etc. This is the recommended choice if you can live with a few dings to your furniture, you’re comfortable securing stuff in the back of the truck, you can drive a huge vehicle with aplomb, and you have recruit-able friends.

Generally speaking, if you’re doing a small full-service move in-city with a good company, expect to pay around $300-$600. If this seems like a lot, that’s because it is; that said, if you find a good company and you have nice stuff, there’s a lot of value in having someone carefully move it into your new place.

It’s unlikely you’ll get your moving expenses all the way down to zero. If you do, my hardy congratulations: you have great, strong friends and free access to a large vehicle. If this describes you, all you need to consider is the expense of getting your new place outfitted with the basics: toilet paper, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, paper towels, a dish rack, etc, etc. Expect to pay about $50-100 for apartment move-in basics, all told – and on the higher end, if you’re starting from zero.

Furniture

If you already have furniture, you’re in luck – you likely paid more to move, but now you’re done in this department. If you don’t have much furniture, remember that furniture is commodity for which you can pay almost any price. We have articles on how to furnish your place for under $500, under $1,000 and under $2,000. Paying more for furniture doesn’t guarantee a better product, but if you are patient and knowledgeable, you’ll be able to get long lasting, nice furniture if you spend a bit more money. That said, your first apartment doesn’t need to be Versailles. Spend an amount you’re comfortable with – and remember that aside from the basics, you don’t need to buy everything all at once. Consider visiting thrift shops intermittently. End tables, lamps, bookshelves and the like can be purchased gradually – so think of furniture as a recurring expense for the first year, rather than as one lump sum.

Utilities

We’ve ran an article with a breakdown of utility costs. Executive summary: you should expect to pay roughly $200 a month in utilities (which includes internet, a webstreaming service, and renter’s insurance in addition to the usual heat and electricity). Keep in mind that this is per unit, so if you’re sharing an apartment with friends, your individual cost will be significantly less. We’d also like to note that, as tempting as it may be to ignore, renter’s insurance is a must have. It’s less than $150 a year, and should you suffer a fire, flood or break-in, you’ll be able re-purchase your possessions and have someone else put you up in a hotel until your place is livable. So, get renter’s insurance!

Total Target Savings

1st month’s rent $1,000   – $40,000 salary/40
Security deposit $1,000   – one month’s rent
Moving costs  $0-$500   – depending on if your are moving furniture (bed, etc.)
Furniture  $0-$500   – if you moved with furniture $0, otherwise you’ll need some basics (bed, etc.)
Miscellaneous  $500   – utility deposits, credit check fees, renter’s insurance, starter supplies
Total $3,000

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Author My First Apartment
Alex

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Alex has rented in Minneapolis, Queens, Brooklyn, and now Chicago. He can kill rodents and roaches when required, and loves picture-hanging projects. If you're ever in town, give him a shout.

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Comments (275)

  1. Devin Tyler Rollins

    Hi me and my girlfriend are considering getting an apartment she makes $11 an hour working fulltime 40 hours a week and I work 29 hours a week making $15.41. Around how much do you think we need to save for an apartment and do you think we would be okay?

    Reply
  2. Peach

    Hi. I’m thinking about moving out in a couple of months. I take home around $1500-1700 a month. I also pay a car note that’s $343 a month. I found an apartment that’s $550 with water included. Do you think I would be able to afford it?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Peach,
      Always target your rent based on your lower month. With our basic formula of 35% of your take-home, your max. rent target is $525, so $550 is in the ballpark. To double-check, take your take-home of $1,500 and deduct rent $550, utilities 20% or $110 and car note of $343, leaving you $497 a month for other living expenses (car insurance, food, clothing, etc.). That looks tight in the lower months. Can you increase your hours so that you will bring home at least $1,700 a month? That would make the rent doable. Good luck!

      Reply
  3. Celeste

    Hi! My boyfriend & I are wanting to move in together. I make around $550-600 biweekly & he makes around $400 a week. We have found a 3 bdrm/2bath for $650/mo & $500 deposit. We don’t currently have a car so I’m looking into getting one on payments. We do currently have about $3,000 saved up. Do you think us moving out soon is plausible? Also my best friend wants to move with us but she makes $8/hr & only works 3 days a week.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Celeste,
      If we add this up correctly, you make $1,100-$1,200 a month and BF makes about $1,600, for a total of $2,700-$2,800. You don’t say if you are talking about after tax take-home or pretax income so we have to look at it both ways. If the numbers are after tax,35% of $2,700 = $945.
      I they are pretax, then $2,700*12 months = $32,400 /40 = $810. So it looks like either way you’ll be ok, especially if your friend chips in a share. In any case, always double-check by deducting all your other monthly expenses, before you sign the lease. Good luck!

      Reply
  4. Shawn

    Hi I work roughly 35 hours a week and make $18.50/hr. I don’t currently have a car so I was just seeking advice as to what I could afford in terms of an apartment and maybe a rough idea what to expect for car payment. I do not have any credit so I know that’s something I will need to establish as well.

    Reply
  5. Kam

    My boyfriend and I don’t have much saved up, but we’re looking for a place that’s a max of 800 to 900 monthly. He’s currently unemployed and looking and I make about 12.50 hourly and work 40 hours per week. By the end of the month we should have the full 3000 saved but I’ll still need to find work in a new area, is there any advice about perhaps qualifying for low income, since my boyfriend is looking to get into school and work part time?

    Reply
  6. BC

    Hello, my husband, son & I are looking to move into a rental house this summer. We are budgeting about $1,250 for rent, not including any expenses. Could you please tell me if this is reasonable for an income of $3,000? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply
  7. G

    My fiancee and I are looking to move out of state and rent an apartment together and was wondering how much we should have saved and how much we can afford. I bring home 2,000 a month and he brings about 1,600 a month. I have a car payment of 352 a month and so far have 4,000 saved up. Was looking in the price range of 650 to 750 a month.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi G,
      Our simple rule of thumb is that you should not spend more than 35% of take-home on rent. In your case that would be as much as $1,260. In fact, you should be able to manage $650-$750 rent on your pay only. With your nice savings you are in a great place to get an apartment you are looking for. Continue to save aggressively and you will be ready to buy your own place in a few years. Good luck!

      Reply
  8. Anna

    Hello i live in FL! My Boyfriend and I are looking into moving in together! I make $900 bi-weekly and he makes $450 weekly. We are looking for a place where rent will be about $650-$750 a month. This will be a fresh start, So no Furniture or so. Monthly payments together (ins,cars,phone,gas,etc) is about $1500 a month. How much do you think we need to save up to move in including 2 months worth of expenses (rent,utilities) saved! And My Budget? -Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Cashmere Clarke

    Hi, so I live in NYC and I’m trying to move out of my mother house, but looking for an apartment in NYC is difficult. I take home about $1,398 a month. How much you think I should pay for rent? Also I have $4000 saved up so far. But my goal is to have $10,000 by August.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Cashmere,
      Whatever you do, don’t get a place that you cannot carry on your salary. You have nice amount in savings and getting more, but if you over-extend on rent that money will be gone so fast and you’ll be back with your mom, re-starting savings from scratch. With your pay, you are looking at a roommate share in the Bronx or Queens. Be realistic. Good Luck!

      Reply
  10. Cheyenne

    Hello, my girlfriend and I have been talking about moving out since we’ve had our daughter and need more space. I just started a new job making $11/hr and she makes the same. Our total income is around 2800-2900 a month and we have about $4000 saved. We are looking at an apartment that is $800 a month with utilities included except for electric. We estimate our total bills to be around 2100 which doesn’t leave much left. Just wanted to get thought and ideas.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Cheyenne,
      It is not clear if your total bills included the $800 rent? We assume it is, otherwise there is no way you could move. While $800 would be ok on your combined incomes, you must have very high other expenses (childcare, cars, etc.) so it leaves little left for other expenses. Can at least one of you get extra hours at work? Can you live very frugally, which is doubly hard because you cannot skimp on diapers and other baby expenses. One good thing is that you do have a nice emergency fund with a couple thousand left even after moving costs. Let us know how it works out and good luck!

      Reply
  11. Dominique

    Hello, me and my boyfriend want to move into our own place. I bring home around 1000 bi weekly and he brings home around 750/800. We would love any other tips that this blog doesn’t provide. I think if we save $3000 that would be a good cushion to move out on. The max we are willing to pay is $1000 a month and we were wondering what is a good time frame? I think in about two or three months we can move

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Dominique,
      The best way to test if you can afford your rent is to start saving an amount equal to your projected rent + utilities. If you can do that and still have money to cover all your other monthly bill plus food, clothing, commuting to work, etc., then you’ll be ready to move in 3 months. If you can save even faster, then you can feel even more reassured that you’ll be able to manage your living on your own. $1,000 rent should be well within your means, as you bring in about $3,500-$3,600 a month combined, with a formula max. of $3,500 * 0.35 = $1,225. Good luck!

      Reply
  12. Wes

    Hi, my name is Wes and i am a single mother, i take home $3748 a month, sometimes more when i am able to work overtime, and thats with 2 jobs, 1 full time and one part time. And i enjoy working both jobs, both jobs are very stable. I am currently living with my mother, paying no rent. I currently pay for daycare (280/week), car note (446/month), car insurance(304/month), cell phone(200/month), just some of my expenses. I am applying for a 2 bedroom luxury apartment in DC for $1650 a month. Please tell me how much i should have saved up before jumping into this swanky apartment for my child and i. I want nothing but the best for us, so i am willing to save and work as much as needed.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Wes,
      Our basic rule-of-thumb is that you need to have at least 3 times your rent saved as you plan to move, to cover first month’s rent, security deposit, moving cost and some basic furnishings. In your case that would be $4,950. However, it does not look like you’ll be able to cover even your listed expenses from your pay, so you’ll need far higher savings to keep you afloat financially. (See below). If your take-home pay barely covers your fixed bills, how are you paying for food, clothing, diapers, gas for your car, etc., etc.? If you use just a one year time horizon, and need at least an extra $200 a week for all your other living expenses, you’ll have to save $10,000 more, in addition to that $4,950, or about $15,000 in total. And what will you do after one year when the savings are gone and your apartment is clearly unaffordable?
      We can appreciate that you want nothing but the best for you and your child, but getting an apartment that will put enormous financial pressure on you is not the answer. Rethink your plan very carefully. Good luck!
      Wes’ Budget:
      Per month take-home $3,748
      Max. rent -$1,650
      Utilities (10% of rent) -$165
      Car Payment -$446
      Car insurance -$304
      Phone -$200
      Daycare ($280/week) -$1,120
      Cash after fixed exp. -$137
      Per week -$34

      Reply
      • Wes

        Thank you so much. So I’ve considered just sticking to a one bedroom for $1405/month. I will have to do your calculations, and see if this is better or if I should go lower. . Again, thanks for your help!

        Reply
  13. Desiree dejesus

    Hi, my name is Desiree. Me & my boyfriend are currently looking to move out some place with the budget of 1200 a month. Combined we make a total of about 42k. So far all of the places we’ve looked have turned us down for lack of tax returns (were 20) & I have a 2015-2016 tax return that doesn’t reflect how much I make now with my current job. Any suggestions ?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Desiree
      You need to show pay stubs and letters from employers that you make what you say. Another way to make landlords love you is to offer extra month or two of security deposit. Also, $1,200 is bit high on your incomes, so that’s another reason landlords may not approve you. Good luck!

      Reply
  14. Mikayla

    Hello! My boyfriend and I are looking to get an apartment over the next year he has 3k saved in the bank and makes 12.75 an hour working 5 days a week about 35-40 hours. I work 5 days a week at 24 hours (sometimes more) making $10 an hour. We were looking at a place totalling at $999 a month for a 1bedroom (utilities etc. Included) could we do it? and if not, what would be our price range? And how much should we have saved up before we move?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Mikayla,
      If you use the chart in this post, you’ll see that the max. rent at $13/hr for 35 hours/wk is $569 for BF and $10/hr for 25 hours/wk is $313 for you. Your total max. rent is then $882. $999 is a little reach, but with utilities included should be OK and $3,000 in savings is just enough to move. You also have a little cushion from the extra earning on 40-hour weeks, which you should try to save.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  15. Fay

    Hi! I am a recent college grad living at home. I currently have a part time job but I am seeking full time employment. I am looking into moving out in the next year or so. I’m not sure exactly where I plan on moving to (it depends on which grad school I get accepted to) but I am trying to figure out how much exactly I need to save so I have a tangible goal in mind. Do you have any tips/websites I can look at to get an idea of how much rent/amenities would cost in that area?

    Reply
  16. Cynthia

    Hello, I just got a new job and my base salary is $2,800 after taxes each month. However I also get commission that varies. For instance if I sold $7,000 in one month I’d take home $560. However, other months that I open new accounts and what not my commission significantly increases to 12% on top of 6 or 8%. This new job of mine has an amazing commission plan, there’s a lot of money that can be made here. My boyfriend and I want an apartment that’s roughly $2,440. It’s beautiful and has plenty amenities. Our goal is to find a home that where we don’t mind staying in a lot. He would be contributing about $1,000(for the first few months) and I’d pay about $1,500. my bills are about $700 a month right now. Please let me know how much I should have saved up before I decide to make this commitment.. Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Cynthia,
      You should find a place that you can afford on your base salary + your minimum commissions. If you can always count on making at least $400 after taxes in commissions, your max. target rent is $3,200 * 35% = $1,120. Even though your share of the rent is more than you should be paying you can still make it with about $200 a week left over for your other expenses and savings. See rough budget below. Between the two of you, you should have about $7,300 in savings before you move out to cover first month rent, security deposit, moving costs and a few pieces of furniture. Can your BF save his share of about $3,000 and you cover the rest? (If he cannot come up with his share of the savings target, you should give this move further consideration.) Good luck!
      Cynthia’s Budget:
      After tax take-home – $2,800
      After tax take-home – Min. Commission $400
      Per month take-home $3,200
      Max. rent -$2,440
      Est. Utilities -$244
      Other bills -$700
      BF contribution $1,000
      Cash after fixed exp. $816
      Per week $204

      Savings target 3 times rent $7,320

      Reply
  17. Dawn

    Hello,

    I am currently making 32,000 a year, 1,800 in take home pay per month after taxes, 401k etc. I am looking to get a 1 bedroom to live singly. I have $3,000 saved up, and expect to save at least $1,500 more before I plan to move, in March or April.

    I hardly have any furniture, and want my place furnished. But, I guess I don’t NEED all the furniture, I just want to have a pretty place. Do you think I’ve saved enough? The apartments I am looking at are $655 a month, and I am pretty sure only have a $150 deposit fee. I am excited, but maybe I should save a bit more? I know I’ll be pretty poor once I move out, and think I may have to get a second job if I don’t want to be super tight with money.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Dawn,
      First of all, we are happy to see that you contribute to a 401K. (Hello, everyone! If your employer offers a 401K plan, please contribute, at least to the level that gets you the maximum match!!)
      Ok, back to Dawn. At $1,800 take-home and 35% max. affordable rent, you could afford up to $630 a month based on our formula. $655 is not that far off, so you should be able to pull it of. You seem like a financially astute person and have a nice nest egg already, so if it takes $655 a month to get a place you love to come home to, go for it. Then get a bed, a couple chairs and a table and take your time furnishing your place. Learn to cook and live frugally and have fun making the place your own. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Dawn

        Thank you so much! This is an awesome and resourceful website, by the way. Thanks for your input!

        Reply
  18. Kelsey

    Hi I’m looking to move into a place but I’m indecisive as far as if I should do a one bedroom or two bedrooms with a roommate. I would live to live alone however the cost for that would $874 for 716 square feet. If I do the two bedroom I would be splitting $1049. I currently have 5k saved up and work two part time jobs which should I do?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kelsey,

      If you read our post on estimating your max. rent target, http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/09/rent-calculator/, you’ll see that the formula is annual salary divided by 40 = $625. Our recommendation is for you to go with a roommate for two reasons. First, $874 is really too much on your pay and will make you “rent poor” and take the fun out of your first apartment experience. Second, you work two jobs to make that $25K, so they are both part time jobs and will put you at risk if you lose one of them. Kudos to you for having saved a nice nest egg that can serve as an emergency fund, but don’t fall into the trap of pulling money out of savings to cover any monthly rent shortfall, which could happen with the 1BR. Good luck!

      Reply
  19. Ashley

    Hi my boyfriend and I are looking to move into an apartment that cost $966/month. He makes 39K a year and I am currently looking for a job but we have a little over 15k saved. We will be able to move without paying for a truck as we have the help we need. So moving expenses are not a problem. Does this seem doable?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ashley,
      You two should be fine at $966, and are in a great position to continue saving aggressively once you get a job. We love it that you have saved so much before moving. You should be able to bank your pay once you get a job, and build a nest egg big enough so that you could start looking for something to buy in a year or two. Good luck!

      Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kim,
      Can you find a place in the $425 range ($17,000 /40)? Maybe you could even stretch it to $500. If you can, then you should be tight but OK.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  20. Jocelyn

    Hey my name is Jocelyn and I live in Chicago I’m planning on moving to California somewhere like San Diego with 12,000 in my bank. I would start a new life by myself looking to rent an apartment how much can I afford to rent an apartment for? 12,000 would be all for apartment and everything in it because I would have already paid for clothes and my plane ticket, and I would have around 1,000 for food etc. Please help me out. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Destinee

      Hi, I had a friend who just moved back to Florida after living in California and he told me that rent for a 1 bed 1 bath studio apartment was around $1,000 a month. I hope that helped a little.

      Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jocelyn,
      How much you can afford in rent will depend on your pay. If you are moving before you find a job, find a short term sublet first while you look for work. Then get a place that you can afford on your pay. You have nice amount of savings, but you’ll like to have them available as an emergency fund until you are fully settled in your new location. Once you have a job, landlords will be happy to rent to you because you can easily pay all the upfront costs and still have money in the bank.
      Once you have a job, check our affordable rent calculator and our hourly pay rent estimator. Good luck!

      Reply
  21. Thomas Kelly

    Hello.
    I’m currently a college student and looking to move out of my dorm into an apartment. The apartments near me make it affordable for college students. The one I am looking at is $300 a month. I make about $246 on my paychecks and get paid twice a month. I know that I’m currently not making a lot (planning on getting another job) but I wanted to have a prediction or estimate on when I should try to move in with saving up my money? I don’t own a car, and moving my stuff in is free because I have friends with a truck willing to help me.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Thomas,
      After you have saved $1,000, you can pay first month’s rent and the security deposit and have a little left over for some basics you’ll need living on your own. (Toilet paper, detergent, etc., etc.) Good luck!

      Reply
  22. Tony Brown

    Hello.
    I have a job doing 80+ some overtime making $15. Then another job making $14, getting paid every week doing 32 hours. How much would my base rent be?? I am single, no kids, no debt, decent credit and looking to get a third job making $11 on the weekends. I also want to take a trip to New York before I move in by myself. I don’t have a car, and looking to move in with $4k. Is that enough for a place??

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hello Tony,
      Something is wrong with your question. It looks like you work 80 hours/week in one job and 32 a week in another one, totaling 112 hours a week, plus you are looking to add a third job on weekends. Are you an insomniac & need no sleep? Please double check you hours so we can estimate your maximum affordable rent.

      Reply
  23. Megan

    I am a single mom to my 2 year old boy. I am looking for an apartment in my price range. I make $650 a week (I work 2 jobs and get 100 a week for child support) I pay roughly $550 a month in bills (insurance, daycare) what price range am I looking at? I was thinking $700 max. What do you think?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Megan,
      You take in about $2,600 a month so our formula max. rent at 35% of take-home pay is $910. However, because you are a single mom, your rent target of $700 is a much safer level for you, and still leaves $303 a week for the two of you to cover all the additional expenses (see below.) Plus looking at this from the point of 4-week months, you’ll still have the 4 extra weekly paychecks a year to build an emergency fund. Being a single mom is tough but you seems to have things well under control. Good luck!
      Megan’s Budget:
      Monthly take-home $2,600
      Rent $(700)
      Utilities (20%) $(140)
      Monthly bills $(550)
      Cash for other expenses $1,210
      Per week $303

      Reply
  24. Darrien

    Hey I’m Darrien I found a apartment that’s about 1,253 a month I have one job I make $12.35 an hour and total hour is 43 hours. how much would I need to save up For a good start and I get paid every week

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Darrien,
      We are really sorry to break you the news that you cannot afford that apartment. If you make $2,124 in a 4-paycheck month ($12.35x43x4), you probably take home a little more than $1,800 after taxes (est.15%), leaving you less than $600 a month for commuting to work, food, clothing and other essentials for living. With your pay, you should be looking at places in the $600 range. If that $1,253 place is big enough for two, you could get it and take a roommate to share the cost. You need to have savings equal to about 3 times your monthly rent before you move, so you are looking at $2,000-$4,000 in the bank. Good luck!

      Reply
  25. bautistas91775@gmail.com

    Hi I am trying to rent a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles and montly rent will be $1230 but because of my credit landlord is asking for a deposit of 1.5 times the rent. So the total he wants is $2717.90 is this amount right?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Bautistas,
      The first month rent is $1230 plus deposit of $1845 (1.5 times $1230), for a total of $3075. Good luck!

      Reply
  26. Victoria

    Hello my name is Victoria and I am looking to move out. My first job I make 16 an hour and after taxes I bring home 1991 a month and my second job I bring home 240 a month which brings me to 2200 take home. I have a car payment of $340 a month how much can I afford for an apt ?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Victoria, looks like our basic formula works for you and using both jobs, you can afford a place up to $770 a month. However, if your market has nice places in the $700 range that you could afford on your first job, it would be much safer for you financially. That way the second job is your safety, if anything happens (car trouble, etc.) that would otherwise blow your budget. Good luck!
      Victoria’s Budget:
      Per month take-home $2,200
      Max. rent -$770
      Utilities (20%) -$154
      Car payments -$340
      Cash after fixed exp. $936
      Per week $234

      Victoria’s Budget:
      Per month take-home $1,991
      Max. rent -$697
      Utilities (20%) -$139
      Car payments -$340
      Cash after fixed exp. $815
      Per week $204

      Reply
  27. Brian Sidi

    If dividing my monthly income by 3 or annual income by 40 determines my affordability, what would be the opposite (multiplying)?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      It’s 2.5% of your annual before-tax gross income or 33% or your monthly after-tax income. Our formula actually uses for max. rent 35% of your monthly after-tax take-home income.

      Reply
  28. deveigh

    Hello my names deveigh and I work two jobs, one pays 10$ and hour (40 hours) and one that’s 8$ and hour (40 hours as well) and I have a phone bill of 60$ and I plan on going to community college I already have a car fully paid and and with my dad’s insurance

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Deveigh,

      Did you see this post http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/.
      If you make $18 for 40 hour week, you max rent is $900. However, you are working 80 hours a week for that. If that is the case, you cannot continue that too long. Base your rent on 40 hour week at $10 an hours. That would give you max rent target of $500.
      It does not seem to make sense. Maybe these are monthly hours, not weekly? If you average 20 hours a week, at $9 average pay, you can only afford a roommate share for $225. Good luck!

      Reply
  29. Christopher

    Hello, im looking to find an apartment to move into. Im 23 &
    Im a college student. my tuition is free

    Right now I am getting paid $ 32 an hour but usually only work 35 hours. I get paid biweekly i make on averag after taxes $1700-1900 per month

    My expenses:
    My job require me to travel.
    I travel 130 mi per day, i fill up my car 3 times a week
    My job pays for one fill up at 30$

    On gas spend 60$ per week.

    my parents take care of my phone bill.

    My car is payed off.

    Hope you can help thanks!

    Reply
  30. Jasmine williams

    Hi rob, I’m jasmine. I make 13.75 an hr and my BF makes 13.50 an hr. We get paid biweekly and live in Orlando. The only bill I pay is $100 phone bill but pretty soon I will also be paying $250 for car insurance. My BF pays $80 phone bill and $150 insurance. With both of our income put together how much do you think we should pay for rent?(we are going to be splitting it) also about how much should we save up to move and furnish the apt.(we will be buying used furniture)

    Reply
  31. Michael

    Hi, im looking to move out with with 2 roommates. I have 1 secure weekend job and wondering if I should get a second job during the week. I make 10.50/hr and 30 hrs/week, and have a $125 car insurance bill, $80 phone bill, and pay about 150 a month in gas. Also I have 1500 saved up to move out.

    Reply
  32. RoniKa

    Hi there I make $16.10 /hr with a car note of $415/month car ins $98/month and $300/ in other expenses can I afford to move. And how much will I need to start?

    Reply
  33. Hillary

    Hi Rob,
    I’m Hillary I make 16.06 a month 30 – 40 hours a week with a car payment of $180 and insurance at $200 and a cell phone bill of $40 will I be able to move?

    Reply
  34. Channell

    Hi Rob,
    Im channell i make 15.87 a month 40 hours a week with car insurance $125 , day care $125 every two weeks and $100 cell phone bill is it possible i can afford to move ?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Channell,
      Did you check out our target rents on hourly pay? http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/
      If you look at $15 with 40 hours, your max rent is $750 a month. Lets now see how your budget would look like:
      Channell’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $15.87
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $31,740
      Est. taxes 15% ($4,761)
      After tax take-home – $26,979

      Per month take-home $2,248
      Max. rent -$750
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$150
      Car insurance -$125
      Phone -$100
      Day care -$250
      Cash after fixed exp. $873
      Per week $218
      It looks like you should be able to make it, but make sure you save $2,500-$3,000 before your move, so that even after you cover all moving related costs, you will still have a $1,000 emergency fund. Why don’t you start saving $900 a month (est. rent + utilities) towards your move, so you’ll be also testing at the same time how you’ll be managing after your move. Then you’ll be able to move in about 3 months. Good luck!

      Reply
  35. Kamaria

    Hi Rob,
    I make $19.41 an hour, I have a car payment of $400 and insurance $200. What can I afford to pay in rent?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kamaria,
      Check our max. rent chart on hourly pay. http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/
      At 40 hours and $19, your max. rent is $950. If you work 40 hours a week, it looks like you could actually afford that $950, unless you have high credit card or student loan bills or other fixed expenses. However, try to find a place for less and start putting some money into savings. Right now your car takes almost a quarter of your take home income. Long term that is not the best use of your hard-earned money. See your est. budget below. Good luck!
      Kamaria’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $19.41
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $38,820
      Est. taxes 20% ($7,764)
      After tax take-home – $31,056

      Per month take-home $2,588
      Max. rent -$950
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$190
      Car insurance -$200
      Car loan -$400
      Cash after fixed exp. $848
      Per week $212

      Reply
  36. Rob

    Hello,

    I am making $77500 per year in Boston, MA. I am looking to move from STL to BOS without any furniture. I am newly out of college with about $25K in student loans. What can I expect to afford?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Rob,
      Congrats on a great job after graduation. Computer/finance major?
      Re: rent, the basic landlord formula is annual salary divided by 40, or maybe 35 in some areas of Boston.
      So, you could qualify for $2,000 or even higher monthly rent. However, you can likely find something great in a nice area in Boston for much less than that. Because of your high income, your student loans should be easily manageable even at the higher rent, but if you go easy on the rent, you can throw the extra savings to your loan and knock it off years early. You do need at least $4,000-$5,000 in savings before your move, to cover first month’s rent, security deposit and some furniture. Good luck!

      Reply
  37. Jeanette

    Hello I’m a 23 y/o adn nurse making $19.75/hr. After taxes and insurance, I bring home about $1400 every two weeks. I’m planning on going back to school to get my BSN this spring but I want to move out for the 1st time and move closer to the school. I already have a job lined up in that city that pays only a little more than what I’m currently making, and will be going apartment hunting next weekend. I’m wondering what would be a recommended monthly rent that I should be looking at. I have a $70 student loan, $230 car payment. Thankfully mom and dad will still keep paying my phone bill which isnt much but I’ve always given mom $80 out of all my paychecks. I also pull out 10% for tithing(so about $140). I was originally hoping for a place around $650is ,or could I push up a little more?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jeanette,
      You are doing great for a 23 year old! With your income and expenses you can easily afford $650, even $1,000 if you work a 40 hour week.(http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/). Happily, it sounds like you are moving to an area where you can find a nice place for a lot less. We never want you to pay more rent than you need to, in order to get a place that you’ll be happy to come home after a long day at the hospital, but you do have easily $100-200 flexibility on the upside. Remember to save the extra paycheck you get each year when you have a 3 paycheck month. See budget below. Good luck!
      Jeanette’s Budget:
      Hours X
      Pay/hr $19.75

      Per month take-home $2,800
      Max. rent -$650
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$130
      Car Payment -$230
      Car insurance ?
      Phone/Mom -$160
      Tithe -$280
      Student Loan -$70
      Cash after fixed exp. $1,280
      Per week $320

      Reply
  38. Lynna

    Hello! I was wondering if you guys know if apartments will accept 1-2 years worth of savings for proof of income, and possibly paying rent in advanced to cover a few months, if you’re without a job. As I’ll be moving out of state.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lynna,
      Paying several months to a year of rent in advance will warm any landlord’s heart, and having extra savings over and above will help. If you have good job track in the past and are just without a job because you are moving to a new state will reassure the landlord that you will be able to continue to pay your rent even after the prepaid rent period ends. You should be able to get a place relatively easily. Good luck!

      Reply
  39. Tanja Jefferson

    Hi my name is Tanja
    I bring home roughly 1,000 a month, but I get paid every week. I have insurance for $150 a month and a $50 phone bill plus internet service and I’m looking to mine into a $545 a month apartment?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Tanja,
      We are sorry to say but $545 is far too much on your income. It leaves only about $250 a month for all other expenses. You should look for a roommate share $350-$400 a month. If you over-extend on rent, you are living with tremendous stress and not being able to enjoy you own place. Good luck!

      Reply
  40. Peyton Myers

    Hi my name is Peyton! Looking to move out as soon as I have enough money. I make $11.00 an hour plus commission. Approx. 40 hours per week. I’m paying $250 a month for current monthly expenses (phone bill, insurance, paying off speeding ticket). My boyfriend and I plan on rooming with his mom and dad who are needing to find a cheaper place. They will be helping with I’m guessing half of the rent/utilities. How much should I save/what’s my budget?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Peyton,
      Our chart shows that your max rent is $550, but $500 range would be safer on your income, considering your other expenses. You should plan to save at least $1,500 before your move. Good luck!
      Peyton’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $11.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $22,000
      Est. taxes 15% ($3,300)
      After tax take-home – $18,700

      Per month take-home $1,558
      Max. rent -$550
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$110
      Fixed expenses -$250
      Cash after fixed exp. $648
      Per week $162

      Reply
  41. Jhane

    Hi, I’m planning on moving out next year. I make 13.50/ hr and work 40 hours weekly. I have a 287 dollar car not, 117 student loans and a 60 dollar phone bill. What would you suggest my max rent be and how much to save?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jhane,
      Our max rent chart for hourly pay (http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/) shows that your max. rent on your income is $675. If you pay $675 in rent, below is how your budget would look like. It’s very tight. We’d like to see at least $200 a week after your fixed expenses for all other living costs and savings.
      In any case, you should plan to save at least $2,000 before you move. Good luck!

      Jhane’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $13.50
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $27,000
      Est. taxes 20% ($5,400)
      After tax take-home – $21,600

      Per month take-home $1,800
      Max. rent -$675
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$135
      Car Payment -$287
      Phone -$60
      Student Loan -$117
      Cash after fixed exp. $526
      Per week $132

      Reply
  42. Makayla Johnson

    Hi I am planning on moving in December or January, I bring home 2,800 a month, I have a 150 car insurance, and 229 car not, with a $60 phone bill. What would you suggest be my max to pay for rent? I live in Los Angeles, Ca

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Mikayla,
      Looks like with your income you can afford our formula rent of about $1,000 a month. See below. However, as we told Joseph,the bigger question is do you need to spend that much in your area to get a place that you’ll be happy to call home. In any case, we recommend that you save at least 3 times your expected rent before moving out on your own. Good luck!
      Mikayla’s Budget:
      Per month take-home $2,800
      Max. rent (take-home * 35%) -$980
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$196
      Other monthly fixed -$439
      Cash after fixed exp./month $1,185
      Per week* $277
      *Monthly net divided by 30 times 7

      Reply
  43. Joseph

    I make 42k annually, 775 m/o expenses including car, phone, insurance (car&renters), credit cards, etc. What would be the smartest route to go as far as what i can afford for rent, save up before moving out, etc…

    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Joseph,
      With your income your max target rent is $1,050 and it looks like you can afford that. See below (we use a rough estimate for taxes, you should use your actuals.) The bigger question is do you need to spend that much in your area to get a place that you’ll be happy to call home. In any case, we recommend that you save at least 3 times your expected rent before moving out on your own. Good luck!
      Joseph’s Budget:
      Total/yr $42,000
      Est. taxes 20% ($8,400)
      After tax take-home – $33,600

      Per month take-home $2,800
      Max. rent -$1,050
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$210
      Other monthly fixed -$775
      Cash after fixed exp./month $765
      Per week* $179
      *Monthly net divided by 30 times 7

      Reply
  44. Kevin

    Hello I am looking to get an apartment. I bring home $2000 a month. I have a $380 car payment + $120 insurance. How much rent would I be able to afford?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kevin,
      Our basic formula says you should not pay more than 35% of your take-home in rent. Here’s your budget:
      Per month take-home $2,000
      Max. rent -$700
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$140
      Car Payment -$380
      Car insurance -$120
      Cash after fixed exp. $660
      Per week $165

      You need to budget all your other living expenses in before you can see if that $660 left over a month is enough. Good luck!

      Reply
  45. lizz

    hello my name is Elizabeth I’m planning on moving well need to move I’m currently pregnant due dec 12th make 14.30/hr car note is 408 insurance 185 phone 80 loan 100 I have 2000 saved should I wait to move go on maternity leave in dec or should I try to save 3000 in total and move? what would be too expansive oh and I work 40+ hours a week get paid biweekly

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lizz,
      First, congratulation on your upcoming big event!
      Have you checked our max. rent chart for hourly pay? http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/
      According to that your max affordable rent would be approx. $700 a month. However, you have very high car expenses, and the baby on the way, so our average rent chart will not work for your circumstances. Do you have to move before the baby is born or soon after? You may realize that having a new baby and working 40 hours is a difficult combination. Can you stay in your current place until your schedule with the baby is settled? Even if you have $3,000 saved, a big hunk of it goes to rent, security and other moving costs, so you won’t have much safety net left.
      After taxes you probably bring home about $2,000 a month. If you pay $700 rent, $140 (20%) utilities, $593 car expenses, $80 phone and $100 loan, you are left with $387 a month, or less than $100 a week for childcare, food, clothing and all your other expenses. Even if you get a place for $500 a month, it’s still going to be very tight.
      Hope the baby’s dad is in the picture and will help you out. In any case, good luck to you and the baby!

      Reply
      • lizz

        hello hank you for responding. after the baby I will hopefully start a new position which will be 20.85 an hour so that should help right? I will be working 3 days a weeks 16hours shifts

        Reply
        • MFA Editors MFA Editors

          Hi Lizz,
          The new job will give your income a big boost to a little over $50,000 a year. You should be in good shape to cover your rent, car and baby expenses. Our formula would go as high as about $1250 in rent, but with your high car payments and the upcoming childcare costs, keep the rent well under $1,000 and you can enjoy your own place without stressing about rent each month. Keep on saving as much as you can before the baby arrives. The little ones are surprisingly expensive (but worth every penny!). Good luck.

  46. Nedson Monteiro

    I’m planning to save up for an apartment just a question if i were have saved up at least 6,000 or 13,000 dollars what would be the chances of me getting an apartment?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Nedson,
      Your landlord will look at your income to decide if they want to rent to you. $6,000 is very nice nest egg, if you have good steady income, but since you did not mention income, we cannot estimate how much rent you might afford.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  47. Max

    I make $14.03/hr regular hours are about 37~40 a week. My paycheck after taxes is roughly $700 ~ 740 every two weeks. I have car insurance which is about $118 a month and phone bill which is about $77 a month. I have $2500 saved up. Plan to move in with a couple of friends with the rent split between us it will be about $800~$850 (utilities and internet included) a month.Is this a good move for me?

    Reply
  48. Chanel

    Hi,

    My current salary for my first job out of college is $24,000. After taxes, I take home about $1,462 a month plus mileage reimbursement. My only recurring expense is a $50 phone bill and about $130 a month for gas. In November I will have to begin paying back students loans, which I’m hoping to qualify for income-based repayment plan that will make my payments $77/month. My friend and I are looking to move into an apartment in January that is about $1400/month, so $700/person. I am planning to have $3,500 saved up by January to cover five months of rent. Also, my roommate’s salary is much higher than mine.

    Do you think this is affordable for me?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Chanel.
      So, out of your monthly take-home of $1,462 you’ll have to pay $700 rent, approx. $140 utilities, phone $50, gas $130 and student loan $77. You’ll have $365, or $91 a week, left each month for all your other expenses (food, clothing, etc.). That is cutting it too close. Based on your salary, your max. rent is $600 ($24,000 / 40). If your roommate makes more, why don’t you let them have the better room and pay a little more and you pay less. Good luck!

      Reply
  49. Erin Blake

    Hi,
    I work two jobs, one that’s pays 8/hr one that pays 9/hr both I work 30 hours a week (60 hours total). My boyfriend works one job 8.50/hr 30 hours a week. We are looking at an apartment right now that’s $550 a month plus about $150 in utilities we almost have $4,000 saved do you think it would be safe to try this move? I’m pretty terrified at the idea of not being able to pay bills

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Erin,
      Did you see our post about estimating rent when you are paid hourly. http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/
      If you look at the chart for 30 hours at $8 /hr. you see that your max rent is $300. Your boyfriends max rent target is $319. Combined, you could go up to $619, even if we only include one of your jobs, so $550 looks doable, even with $150 in utilities, your student loan and other bills. Working 60 hours a week is a heavy load and you should not reach out to rent something that requires you to always work so many hours. At $550 rent you should do very well and be able to continue saving at a high rate. Good luck!

      Reply
  50. Carlee

    I get paid $800/ month roughly. I will be living with one other person. My car payment is $260. My car insurance is $130. My phone bill is $70. I have $1,500 saved up. I would like to move in about a month or so. What rent amount can i afford?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Carlee,
      On $800 income a month, assuming your rent is no more than third of your monthly take-home, your rent target is about $260. However, with your other fixed expenses of $460 a month, there really is no way you can afford to pay even minimal rent and utilities and still have money left over for food and other living expenses. It’s great that you have saved $1,500, but it will be quickly gone if you have to start paying even minimal rent. Continue saving, try to boost your income and wait to move out until you have brought your income up. Good luck!

      Reply
  51. Gabbie

    Hi I make 7.25 an hour. And i have a year and a jalf to move out. How much should i save???

    Reply
  52. Deserae

    Hello I make 9.25 hour I work 40 hours per week how much should I save to move out for all my expenses and what I can afford

    Reply
  53. avante

    Hi I make 9.00 an hour and I work part time. I have a car but it’s fully paid off. I’m on my mom’s insurance and the price is a little over 120 . I have money saved up. What a the max rent I can afford.

    Reply
  54. Tiffany

    Hi,
    I make $17.07hr set 40 hours a week, single mother with a 7yr old. My extra expenses are $645 this includes car ins, phone, and tuition at bare min because I have to pay for my sons schooling. could I afford a place on my own and how much.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Tiffany,
      Did you see our post about estimating rent when you are paid hourly? http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/
      If you look at the chart for $17 and 40 hours it says that your max. affordable rent is $850.
      Here’s how your very rough budget would look like at $850. It looks too tight, especially with a growing child. Not knowing where you live and what the rental market is like, can you get a decent place with good schools for under $700 a month? That would leave you a little more breathing room for all your other monthly expenses. Before you start looking for a place, you should save at least $2,000. Good luck!
      Tiffany’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $17.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $34,000
      Est. taxes 15% ($5,100)
      After tax take-home $28,900
      Per month take-home $2,408
      Max. rent -$850
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$170
      Other monthly payments -$650
      Cash after fixed exp. $738
      Per week $185

      Reply
  55. Kae

    Hi Sharon!

    I make $21,500 per year and I have a 9 year old. He is back and forth between dad and I every other day, and dad definitely plays his part. I need to find an apartment and the one I am looking at is $750 per month. I sometimes take home between $750-800, maybe a bit over that if I make over time, and I am full time. No car note, $108 phone bill that I plan to get rid of…
    I’m worried because I don’t have anywhere to go. Can I afford this? It is very very difficult to find an apartment for $500, in a good neighborhood and I just landed my first full time dream job.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kae,
      Based on your income, you maximum safe rent would be in the $550 range. Because you do not have many other fixed expenses, maybe you could push it to the $600 range, assuming your son’s expenses are mostly covered by his dad. If you take home $750 on a low pay-period, or $1,500 a month and pay $850 for housing ($750 rent plus at least $100 for utilities), you have $650 a month to cover all other living costs for you and your son. If the $750 place is in a better school district for your son, you might want to really push the overtime on days he is with his dad, so that you pick up another couple of hundred a month. That would leave you still tight but manageable even with a higher rent. Would your son’s dad maybe chip in a bit to get him into a better school?
      Also explore if there are some decent options between $550 and $750 that would be workable.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  56. Minh V

    I want to move out to Sacramento, CA from GA. I just a got a raise to $15.25/hr and get about $22.88/hr if i work sundays. I usually get around 32-38 hrs per week and bi-weekly pay. Right now im living with my parents and only pay internet and car insurance which is about $200 a month and $150 in miscellaneous credit card bills. I have save at least $10,000 in my savings plus about $1,500 in my checking. What kind apartment/condo can i afford? I will have a roommate, but im not sure when he will be arriving to Sacramento.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Minh V,

      Did you check out our new rent chart for hourly pay. http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/
      If you look at the chart, let’s say for 35 hour week at $15, your max. target rent is $656.
      Looks like you’ll be OK at that level, overall (see below). You have a little cushion from your higher Sunday pay and you are in great shape to handle emergencies with your savings. Good luck!
      Minh’s Budget:
      Hours 35
      Pay/hr $15.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $26,250
      Est. taxes 15% ($3,938)
      After tax take-home $22,313

      Per month take-home $1,859
      Max. rent -$656
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$131
      Car insurance -$200
      Misc. bills -$150

      Cash after fixed exp. $722
      Per week $181

      Reply
  57. sharon

    Hello, i would like to move out on my own. I get paid $15.40 per hour. I work 40 hrs a week. I get paid bi weekly. We also get paid time in half overtime. I do not have a car note. My car insurance is $130. My phone bill is $90. What can i afford based on that?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Sharon,
      Did you see our recent post on
      How Much Rent Can I Afford on My Hourly Pay? If you look at the chart you see that your max. target rent is between $750 and $800, based on your income. Since you don’t have very high other expenses and you sometimes make overtime, you could go up to $800, if that will get you a place you really love. Good luck!

      Reply
  58. Sarah

    So, I do have a question that you’ve probably answered before.

    I want to be in a new apartment by March of 2017. I’m actually shooting for March 10th to be exact. And because of unseen expenses I won’t be able to save until September of this year. I want to use my tax return and another check I’m receiving from another little job I’m doing this month towards this, which should be anywhere from $750-$1,000.

    I work a salary job that I’ve been at about a month. Base pay is $2,000 (before taxes) and I can make commission on top of that. Depending on how well I do, I could make anywhere from $50-$2,000 more a month. I’m just starting out as of right now so I don’t know what the coming months will bring. But my coworker who only has a month or two more experience than me is doing severely well for herself. The only expenses I have as of right now is my car and my phone, which total around $450 a month other than me paying a roommate my share of the rent, which is another $400.

    I know I need to start saving immediately but I just need to know what I can afford. There is this really nice little studio apartment that is $650-$695/month in Tacoma, WA and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it and even see myself living there. I won’t have any roommates and it will just be me paying all of my bills.

    So I guess I should be asking my question now. What should I be able to afford as well as how much should I be saving up each month to be able to move in without any issues?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Sarah,
      It’s smart of you to be planning your move well in advance. You should target your rent range based on your base salary, especially as you don’t know yet how much commission you’ll earn each month. Your annual salary of $24,000 divided by 40 = $600 max. target rent. Because you’ll be making at least some commission, $650 rent if you really love the place should be within reach.
      Let’s look at a rough monthly budget:
      Salary $2,000
      Est. taxes (15%) -$300
      Rent -$650
      Est. utilities -$130
      Car/phone – $450
      Cash left for other expenses $470
      Cash per week about $110

      You should target to save at least $2,500-$3,000 before your move. You should be able to $400-$500 a month after September and easily meet your target. Try to save your tax refund to start an emergency fund and make sure to sign up for your company’s 401K if it is offered. By your move-in date you’ll also have an idea of how your commissions are coming in to give your budgeting some extra safety. Good luck!

      Reply
  59. Rodrigo

    Hello, I would like to move out and get an apartment. I currently make $12.75/hour and work atleast 35 hours a week. My girlfriend makes $11/hour and works atleast 32 hours a week. My car, insurance, and paying for the family phone bills all add up to $1,000 a month. My girlfriend pays $300 each month in bills. What can we afford based off of that?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Check out our recent post about estimating target rent when you are paid hourly. You’ll get a rough target rent number when you look at the chart for $13 and 35 hours =$569 plus $11 and 30 hours = $413, totaling $982.
      Next you have to look if that rent is doable with all your other expenses. The answer is no. Because of your high other bills you cannot afford $982 rent, which would leave less than $100 a week for other expenses for you both. You should probably look in the $500-600 range, so that you’ll have enough money left for food, clothing, all other living expenses and savings. Good luck!

      Rodrigo’s Budget:
      Hours 35
      Pay/hr $12.75
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $22,313
      Est. taxes 15% ($3,347)
      After tax take-home $18,966
      Hours – GF 32
      Pay/hr $11.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $17,600
      Est. taxes 15% ($2,640)
      After tax take-home – GF $14,960

      Per month take-home $2,827
      Max. rent -$982
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$196
      Rodrigo’s bills -$1,000
      GF’s bills -$300
      Cash after fixed exp. $349
      Per week $87

      Reply
  60. Jacob

    Hey I’m Jacob and I was wondering how I can move out with a pay of 8.50 roughly 30 hours a week and my phone bill is usually like 70$ I have a roommate with the same money thing .

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jacob,
      You are in Luck! We have just posted an article that should help you. How Much Rent Can I Afford on My Hourly Pay?.
      Working 30 hours at $8 an hour, you can afford to pay $300 rent. At $8.50 its $319 (halfway between the $8 and $9 amounts). You and your roommate can afford to share a $600-$638 a month apartment. Good luck!

      Reply
  61. D'Asya Long

    Hi, I am thinking of moving out into my first apartment in Jan. 2017 and I wanted to know what should my budget be while searching for an apartment. I make 11.50 a hour and I work 40 hours a week and my car payment is 250 a month and my car insurance is 100 a month also my phone bill is 105 a month. I wanted to save up 3000 by Jan before I move but I need help with what price range I should stick to when searching for an apartment also should I look for an apartment that’s based off of income a month or just a regular apartment rent? Please Help Me!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi D’Asya,
      We have just published a post that helps you answer your question. http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2016/07/how-much-rent-can-i-afford-on-my-hourly-pay/How Much Rent Can I Afford on My Hourly Pay? It a handy little chart that calculates your target rent based on your hourly rate and hours worked. $11/hr at 40 hours gives max. rent of $550 and $12 is $600, so yours is in the middle, giving your your max. target rent of $575.
      Next step is to see if that works for you with your other expenses.
      D’Asya’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $11.50
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $23,000
      Est. taxes 15% ($3,450)
      After tax take-home $19,550

      Per month take-home $1,629
      Max. rent -$575
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$115
      Car Payment -$250
      Car insurance -$100
      Phone -$105
      Cash after fixed exp. $484
      Per week $121

      It looks tight, and does not leave much left over after paying for gas, food, clothing and other necessities of living. Let’s hope that in your market you have housing options for $500 or less. Good luck!

      Reply
  62. Michelle

    Hello,
    I make $12/Hr working 40 hours a week and my girlfriend makes $12/Hr working 25 hours a week. We are trying to rent an apartment together. She has a car payment at $280 a month, and I pay $225 a month for insurance and and 50 a month for my phone bill. I’m also going to have to start paying student loans in November which will probably be around 130 a month. How much do you think we can spend a month on rent for an apartment in Maryland?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Michelle,
      We have just published a post that helps you answer your question. How Much Rent Can I Afford on My Hourly Pay? It a handy little chart that calculates your target rent based on your hourly rate and hours worked. According to the chart your max. rent target is $600 and your girlfriend’s is $375 or $975 combined. Now you also need to see if that is doable. See budget below. Looks like the $975 rent works. However, you may be able to get a nice place in Maryland for less. And you do have to save at least $3,000 before you move. Good luck!

      Michelle’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $12.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $24,000
      Est. taxes 15% ($3,600)
      After tax take-home – Michelle $20,400
      Hours 25
      Pay/hr $12.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $15,000
      Est. taxes 10% ($1,500)
      After tax take-home – GF $13,500

      Per month take-home $2,825
      Max. rent -$975
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$195
      Car Payment -$280
      Car insurance -$225
      Phone -$50
      Student Loan -$130
      Cash after fixed exp. $970
      Per week $243

      Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Porsche,
      You need to make least $28,000 a year to qualify for $700 a month rent. However, with your high car payments, student loan, etc. you actually need to make at least $36,000 or so a year before taxes, in order to take home after taxes at least $2,500 a month. That would leave you couple of hundred a month left over for other living expenses. See below. Also, you need to save $2,500 or so, before your move. Good luck!
      Per month take-home $2,500
      Max. rent -$700
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$100
      Car Payment -$369
      Car insurance -$129
      Phone -$90
      Student Loan -$252
      Cash after fixed exp. $860
      Per week $215

      Reply
  63. Moe

    Hi,

    Im planning on moving out into a 1 bed 1 bath apartment that costs $857, I make $17.20 an hour and work 40 hours a week. I also make 16 hours of over time every month and get paid at a time and a half for those hours. I plan to have $4,000 saved up before making any moves. I have a car payment of $340 and insurance at $200, will this be sufficient for a move?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Moe,
      Looks like you’ll be OK at $857, especially with your nice savings rate. Even if you lose your overtime, you’ll still have $725 left a month after you housing and car costs. Enjoy your first apartment and good luck!

      Moe’s Budget:
      Hours/ week 40
      Pay/hr $17.20
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $34,400
      Hours/overtime/ month 16
      Pay/hr – overtime $25.80
      Total/yr (12 months) $4,954
      Annual income $39,354
      Est. taxes-20% ($7,871)
      After tax take-home – $31,483

      Per month take-home $2,624
      Max. rent -$857
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$171
      Car Payment -$340
      Car insurance -$200
      Cash after fixed exp. $1,055
      Per week $264

      Reply
  64. Dania Jones

    Hi,
    I’m a student in college and I am looking for my first apartment. I have 4,500 saved up from working. I get paid 9.00 and hour for 25 hours a week. I also have a boyfriend who is planning on moving with me. He gets paid 7.50 an hour working 20 hours a week. I am on my mom’s car insurance plan, so car insurance is pretty cheap. I was wondering what rent range I should go for, and how much do you think the utilities would be. We dont have any children. My phone bill is $45 a month. Thank you!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Dania,
      Use our new rent chart that tells How Much Rent Can I Afford on My Hourly Pay as a starting point. Your target rent is $281, your boyfriend’s about $190, for a total of $471. Since you don’t seem to have other big monthly bills, you can look in the $475 range. Both you and your BF have plenty of upside with your working hours and pay rate.
      Kudos for you for having saved $4,500!! Do not start using that money for paying rent or any normal household expenses. Continue saving towards school or your own home. Good luck!

      Reply
  65. Charmane Martin

    Hello,

    I am currently looking for an apartment. My salary is $51956. I have a 9 month old baby so I would need a 2 bedroom. Also I pay $210/week in child care. What would I be able to afford? Thank you!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Charmane,
      With you good salary you could qualify for a $1,300 a month apartment, even with your high childcare expenses. However, we don’t know what other expenses you have – car? student loans? credit card payments? You also need to save at least $4,000 before you move. The budget below is very rough because we have to estimate major items such as your tax rate. Good luck!
      Charmane’s Budget:
      Annual salary $51,956
      Est. taxes 20% ($10,391)
      After tax take-home $41,565

      Per month take-home cash $3,464
      Max. rent (annualpre-tax pay/40) -$1,299
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$260
      Childcare -$840

      Cash after fixed exp. $1,065
      Per week $266

      Reply
  66. Keyah glover

    Hello,

    I make $11.00 at 30.00 hours a week. I have my car insurances to pay which is roughly $160.00 a month, plus a phone bill that is $80.00 every month. I’ve been looking to move for awhile now, but don’t know roughly how much I need to save, and what price range I need to be in. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Keyah,
      It looks pretty tight on your income. Remember, you also need to get back and forth to work and eat. Maybe try to get a roommate share to start with. You should aim to save at least $1,500 before you move to have a little margin of safety. Good luck.
      Here are the rough numbers:
      Keyah’s Budget:
      Hours 30
      Pay/hr $11.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $16,500
      Est. taxes 10% ($1,650)
      After tax take-home $14,850

      Per month take-home cash $1,238
      Max. rent (annualpre-tax pay/40) -$413
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$100
      Phone -$80
      Car insurance EST. -$160
      Cash after fixed exp. $485
      Per week $121

      Reply
  67. Chantelle

    Hello,

    I make $8.80 at 30 hrs a week and my boyfriend works two jobs: $7.75 at 25 hrs and $8 at 30 hrs. i have a car note of $200/month. We have been looking at apartments for a while now and I don’t want to move having to worry if we can pay for next month’s rent. what range should we be looking in and how much should we save?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Chantelle,
      Looks like your combined income would allow you to rent a place in the $800’s, but if you find a nice place for less, more power to you. You should save at least $2,500 before you move. See rough budget below. Good luck!
      Chantelle’s Budget:
      Hours 30
      Pay/hr $8.80
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $13,200
      Est. taxes 10% ($1,320)
      After tax take-home – Chantelle $11,880
      BF:
      Hours 25/30
      Pay/hr $7.75/$8.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $21,688
      Est. taxes 10% ($2,169)
      After tax take-home – BF $19,519
      Total cash income/year $31,399

      Per month take-home cash $2,617
      Max. rent (annualpre-tax pay/40) -$872
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$174
      Car Payment -$200
      Car insurance EST. -$125
      Cash after fixed exp. $1,245
      Per week $311

      Reply
  68. Carmen

    Hi, I make $41.70/ hr and work between 32-38 hours a week. However, this is my hourly rate in New England and I believe if I move down south it will drop, maybe around low 30’s/he. My only expense is school bills which very (ex: $8,000 due by November of this year). My car is finally paid off. I have $5,000 saved for emergency use. And $2,000 saved for moving purposes. I’m nervous about rent and costs of utilities, water, heat, etc. Once I move! How much should I have saved and what should my rent be around? Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Check out our utility survey to see what the average utilities are Down South, if you are serious about moving. You’ll be trading higher heating bills to higher air conditioning and water bills. http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/08/average-utility-bill-survey/. Here’s a rough housing budget. Your big expense is missing, your loan payments. How much longer you have to make them?
      Based on a lower hourly rate you’ll be still making more than enough to afford the typically less expensive rents in the Southern states. You should be able to get a place for much less than your max. affordable rent of about $1,300 a month. Before moving you should save another $2,000. Can you renegotiate your loan payments. $8,000 a year will be hard to handle with the lower pay you are anticipating after move. Good luck!

      Carmen’s Budget:
      Hours 35
      Pay/hr $30.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $52,500
      Est. taxes 20% ($10,500)
      After tax take-home – $42,000

      Per month take-home $3,500
      Max. rent (annualpre-tax pay/40) -$1,313
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$263
      Cash after housing exp. $1,925
      Per week $481

      Reply
  69. Asher

    Hi I’m a single mom looking to move out in to a duplex in the next few months. I make 15.99/hr and work 40 hours a week with optional overtime. I have a car payment of 255 and Insurance 144. Childcare is 85/week and a couple other odds and ends. I have $3,000 saved up now. How much should I look for in range of pricing for place and how much should I save?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Asher,
      Here’s a simple budget format for you to use. We have included rough estimates of taxes. You should use actual paycheck amounts. $142 a week for food, clothing and all the other expenses sounds a bit low, living frugally doable. However, we hope that you live in an area where you can rent a place for less than the formula max. of $800. Your $3,000 in savings is enough to move in, but if you can build a bigger emergency fund you’ll be that much safer.
      Good luck! Being a single mom is hard, but you seem to be doing well.

      Asher’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $15.99
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $31,980
      Est. taxes/deductions 15% ($4,797)
      After tax take-home $27,183

      Per month take-home $2,265
      Max. rent (annual pre-tax pay/40) -$800
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$160
      Car Payment -$255
      Car insurance -$144
      Childcare -$340
      Cash after fixed exp. $567
      Per week $142

      Reply
  70. Alison Richardson

    Hey I’m looking at getting an apartment and wanted to see what I could afford. I make $10/hr working 40hrs a week. I do have a big car payment for my age, its $365 a month and few smaller bills. I’ve been looking into some a parts that were around 375, just wanted to see what would be good!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Alison,
      If you can get something in the $375 range you should be ok, even with the car payment. If you use this budget, make sure to deduct car insurance. Aim to save $1,200-$1,500 before move
      Good luck!

      Alison’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $10.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $20,000
      Est. taxes/deductions 10% ($2,000)
      After tax take-home $18,000

      Per month take-home $1,500
      Rent -$375
      Est. Utilities -$100
      Car Payment -$365
      Car insurance $0

      Cash after fixed exp. $660
      Per week $165

      Reply
  71. daysha

    i just grauated from high school im trying to move in my first apartment also get a car i make 9.55 the apartment cost is 800 dollars which i also recieve a disability check for my son witch is 733 a month

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Daysha,
      On the surface it looks like you can afford $800 rent, but you may have high expenses related to your son’s disability, so make sure to factor those in. As it is your rent and utilities will take over 40% of your monthly cash, on the high end.
      Hope you and your son will find a great new home. Good luck!

      Daysha’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $9.55
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $19,100
      Est. taxes/deductions 10% ($1,910)
      After tax take-home $17,190

      Per month take-home $1,433
      Son’s disability check $733
      Total cash income $2,166
      Rent -$800
      Est. Utilities – 20% -$160

      Cash after fixed exp. $1,206
      Per week $301

      Reply
  72. KaiKeir

    Hello,
    My husband and I are planning on moving into our first apartment. He makes $12.52 an hour 40 hours per week. The unit we are looking into costs $703 for monthly rent with water. Other monthly personal bills amount to $61 all year long and an additional $120 for car insurance (charged for only 6 months out of the year). We also have S.N.A.P assistance for groceries of $600 per month as added income, but only because my husband is the only one working. I’m planning on getting a job down the road, but for now are we able to afford something like this with our S.N.A.P assistance?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi KaiKeir,
      Looks like you can do it as long as you have SNAP for groceries. You mention that you pay car insurance only 6 months of the year, but typically car insurance is billed every 6 month but you have a payment every month. Also, you need to have at least $2,000 saved for the first month rent, security deposit and other moving related costs. Good luck!
      KaiKeir’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $12.52
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $25,040
      Est. taxes 15% ($3,756)
      After tax take-home cash $21,284

      Per month take-home cash $1,774
      Rent -$703
      Est. Utilities (20% of rent) -$141
      Other Expenses -$61
      Est. Car insurance -$120
      Cash after fixed exp./mo. $749
      Per week $187

      Plus: Snap/week $150

      Reply
  73. Tae

    I make around $7.75 per hour. I’m still in high school and this is my last year. Is there anyway I would be able to get a car and an apartment? If the apartment was like $500-$650 range?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Tae,
      Even if you work steady 40 hours a week, it looks like you can have either the car or the apartment, but not both. You also have to save at least $1,500 before you are ready for the apartment. Stay at home, work hard to boost your income, save as much as you can for a year, buy a used car with cash, and make your move a year from now. Good luck!
      Here’s a rough budget:
      Tae’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $7.75
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $15,500
      Est. taxes 10% ($1,550)
      After tax take-home cash $13,950

      Per month take-home cash $1,163
      Rent -$500
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$100
      Est. Car Payment -$200
      Est. Car insurance -$125
      Cash after fixed exp./mo. $238
      Per week $59

      Reply
  74. daijahA526

    me and my fiance make 9.75/hr 38 hours a week we get paid weekly we are currently looking for an apartment but the only ones in are area may just be out if our price range most apartments out here for one bed room is 500-600/mo we also pay car insurance that is 135$ a month what price range are we in HELP!!!!!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi daijahA,
      It is not clear to us if you each make $9.75/hr and each work 38 hours. If that is the case then combined you make $741/week or about $37,000 a year (50 weeks).
      With that income you can easily afford $500-600/mo and your car insurance.
      However, if you only work 38 hours a week total between the two of you, for about $18,500 a year, then your max. target rent is only $463. If after taxes you bring home maybe $1,300 a month, and pay $500 rent, $100 utilities and $135 insurance, you’ll have $565 left for other expenses, or $141/week. Is that enough? Do you have any flexibility to add hours at work? How frugally can you live? You need to save about $1,500 before you can move, but if you go with the higher rent, have a little more saved in an emergency fund, just in case you need it.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  75. Kyle

    Hi, I am 22. Me and my girlfriend make 50,000 pre tax combined. We currently have 4,000 saved, living at my parents house. Looking to move out in 4 months, planning on having around 10,000 saved before then at 1,500 a month saving a month between the 2 of us.(Have budget we stick to strictly) I was one, wondering how much you think I should/could afford, my area is very cheap comparing the figures I have seen, 600-700 rent will net you a really nice place to live.(for comparison 3 bd 2 bath+ places can be around 700-800$ in a good neighborhood.) Another main thing I was wondering is if you were in my situation would you A)Move out and never look back, B) Continue living with parents saving 1,500 a month for as long as we are allowed. Yes the relationship between me and family is good, but I do want to experience the world living on our own, but I fear I will miss/regret not taking advantage of being able to save so much (relative to my area).

    Thank you for your time.
    -Kyle

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kyle,
      You are one lucky guy, with supportive parents and a good job, living in a low-cost housing area. With your combined income of $50,000 you could afford rent up to $1,250 a month, so if you can get a nice place for half that, that’s great. If you move out in a few months, you can still continue saving at a good clip. But first consider what are you saving for? School? To buy your own place? To invest? If you have a specific target for savings, live with your parents a bit longer. If not, maybe it’s time for you to fly the coop and test your “adult wings”. In either case, you’ll do fine because you have already good financial habits.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  76. Carmyn

    Hi , me and my friend are looking to get our first apartment together , we are both 18 and we both make 8$ and hour working 40 hours a week . The apartment we are looking at is a one bedroom and the rent is 995$ a month . We were looking to move in before Christmas and it is July now . We already have some furniture and basic necessities . Also , my mom has offered to help with groceries and other things we might need (laundry detergent , soap , towels , etc.) How much do you think we should have saved up before we move in ?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Carmyn,
      You make $32,000 a year between the two of you, so your max. formula rent is $800. ($32,000/40) $995 looks high and you also need to plan for $150 or so for utilities. Maybe you can find something in the $800 range to start with. In either case, you need to save 3 times your rent before you move, at least $2,500- $3,000.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  77. Fabian

    Ok im 18 and im looking at a studio apartment with $450 a month rent, i get $8.25 an hr and work 40hrs a week, do you guys think its possible if i save 3-5 thousand and then go for it?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Fabian,
      $450 is just a little more that our standard formula rent of $412.50 ($8.25 x 40 x 50 = $16,500/year divided by 40). If you don’t have big car payments or credit card bills and you have $3,000-5,000 in savings, you should be safe at $450.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  78. Maria Garza

    Hi! My boyfriend and I wanna move out maybe by the end of the year or summer of next year? I make about $500 the least each two weeks and he makes about $600 something each two weeks? Really depends. I’m planning on getting a second job soon to save up! What would be our rent budget? And how much would we need to save before we move out? I’ve done the math but I would love a second opinion!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Maria,
      Between the two of you, you make about $2200 a month or $26,400 a year. (There are 2 months a year when you get an extra paycheck, but to be safe, don’t count those here.) Your max. rent target is $26,400/40 = $660. If you save at least $2,000 before moving you should be OK.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  79. Alina

    Hello.

    I make $10.35 per hour (or 40% commission of $30, which ever is higher for the week) at 35 hours per week.

    The apartment I am looking at cost $900 (water/sewer/trash/$20 basic cable included)

    I have a $60 phone bill

    I have $160 car insurance

    I have $75 worth of internet and streaming services.

    I also spend around $40 for pet food and necessities per month

    Will I be able to afford this? I currently have $2,345.16 saved up and I plan to save upwards of $5,000 before I move. Will that be enough or will I need to save more?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Alina,
      We are sorry to tell you that $900 rent is far out of your reach. You make about $1,450 in a 4-week month. After taxes about $1,300. It is not enough to even pay for rent, utilities, car, phone etc. bills, not to mention such items as food and clothing. With your income, you should be looking at rents in the $450 range, which probably means a roommate share.
      You are doing great with savings – don’t get an apartment that will force you to spend your savings on rent. You can dip into your savings for security deposit and furnishing your place but you should not do it for monthly rent.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  80. Lane

    Hi!

    I am pretty aware of how to figure out what is within my means, but somehow feel “guilty” moving out of my parents’ house because I know I make a very modest salary. I take home $1,540 a month, and am looking at an apartment that would cost me $425 a month, with heat/hot water included.

    Here are the problems:
    1. I currently do not have a car payment, but my car is struggling and I will probably have to replace it soon.
    2. I will be student-teaching for three months next January-March, so will not be making steady income at that time. I will save and plan to pick up babysitting and tutoring jobs to cover this.

    I am just weighing the cost of financial stress with the benefits of ascending the nest and finally feeling like I am starting my “real” life. Let me know if you think what I described is doable!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lane,
      The answer is easy and you probably already know it. Stay with your parents until you have finished your student teaching and have steady income. Continue saving so you can replace the car when it goes. There will be plenty of real life to experience even if you don’t jump into it quite yet. I don’t think you want to make your move now and risk having to move back with your parents in a few months.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  81. Ashley

    I make 10 dollars an hour and work 40 hours a week, plus I make about 500-700 in tips a month. I am trying to move into an apartment by myself that costs around 730 dollars a month. I would like to be able to afford cable, internet, and all other bills as well. Would I be able to afford it?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ashley,
      Based on your numbers it looks like you make somewhere between $26,000 and $28,000 a year. Dividing that by 40 gives your max. rent target of $650-$700/month. If you don’t have student loans, car payments, big credit card bills, you should be able to cover $730 rent, even if it is a little more than the formula maximum. After taxes and health insurance, you probably take home about $1,700 a month,leaving you $820 a month after budgeting $730 for rent and around $150 for utilities. Is $820 enough to cover all your other monthly expenses, including commuting, food and clothing? Only you can answer that. In any case you should target to save at least $2,500 before you move, so you’ll have a little bit of an emergency fund even after first month’s rent and security deposit.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  82. Charlie

    Hey there, so I wanted to know what I could afford for an apartment if I’m living with a roommate or two when I make $10 hr at a 22hr/week job. The roommates would be making around the same amount as I would. I ride the bus for free. Someday soon I can probably get my hours up to 30.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Charlie,
      On your own you can only afford a place that rents for $250-275 a month. If you and one friend can get a place for about $500 a month or for $750-$800 with 2 friends, learn to cook your own meals and live frugally, you should be able to make it. You do have to save at least $750 each before you can move. Good luck1

      Reply
  83. Jason Gaiters

    Hello,

    I make 20.47/hr and total 80 hours every two weeks. I also receive overtime here and there. For example this week I have 110 hours scheduled. My pay is Biweekly.

    I have a car payment of 354.54 every month with insurance being 225. I’m looking to get a two bed room for 725 a month. is this possible?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jason,
      You make about $42,000 a year, without overtime, so the basic max. rent formula is $42,000/40 = $1,050 a month. So, even with your high car expenses $725 is well within your means and the potential additional overtime income provides another safety net.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  84. Kai

    Hello,

    I make 13.50/hr and work about 35 hours per week, I also get a commission incentive which is an extra 600-1000 every end of the month. My pay is biweekly.

    I have a car payment of 275 every month along with insurance of 144. What do you think is a good idea of my max to spend on possibly a studio? This point in my life is very stressful and I just need my own place immediately. Or would rooming with friends be a better idea

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kai,
      Based on your numbers is looks like you make somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000 a year. If you base your rent target on the lower end, $30,000 divided by 40 = $750. Lets assume you pay about 20% in taxes (FICA, federal, state) then your monthly take home is about $2,000. Take that amount deduct rent $750, est. utilities $150, car $419, leaving you $681/ month for everything else. Is that enough? Only you know that.
      Also, do you have about $2,000 in savings to cover the costs of rent, security deposit, moving, bed, etc.? If not, get a roommate share to start with and save money to move into your own nice place next year.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  85. Simone Maximin

    Ok, so correction i work 30 hours a week with hourly pay 19.62. The apartment I am going to be renting is 1,189 for 2 bedroom. I get paid biweekly. Gas and hot water included. What are my options? Get another job or if I save ?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      If you get a roommate you should be fine. Then continue saving and looking for more work hours and in a year’s time maybe you can get rid of the roommate.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  86. Hope

    Hello,

    I make $12.18 an hour and work approximately 74+ hours every 2 weeks. The rent I’m interested in is $525 for a 1 bedroom apartment, that already includes cable and internet. The utilities would include electric, water, sewer, and trash. I do not have a car payment, but my phone bill is $50 with tax a month. What are my options? Would I be able to afford this apartment?

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Hope,

      Calculate your annual pretax income and then use our calculator http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/09/rent-calculator/. Your annual income number will be about $22,500 for 50 week year. (We like to give you a little cushion, because your hours could vary and you may not get paid vacation.) If you run the calculator for $22,500 annual salary, you max. rent is $562. Looks like $525 is doable.
      Re: cable and internet. Are you sure the landlord will pay those, or just provide connection for you to hook up a service you pay for usage?
      Good luck!

      Reply
  87. Josoph

    Hi me and my girlfriend are looking to get our own apartment I make 8.50 and work 40 hours a week and she makes the same with about 30 hours a week how much should we save before we try this

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Josoph,
      Calculate how much you both make a year and then use our Affordable Rent Calculator http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/09/rent-calculator/. If we calculate on 50 paid weeks a year, your total pretax income is $29,750. The formula divides that by 40 for max. rent, so yours would be $744. You need to save at least 3 times that before move, so your should aim to save $2,500.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  88. Simone Maximin

    Hi, I’m currently thinking about getting a new place. My income is 34,500 and the apartment fee is 1,189. Gas and hot water included. What’s my options?

    Reply
    • Simone Maximin

      Hi, I’m currently thinking about getting a new place. My income is 34,500 and the apartment fee is 1,189. I’m currently part time I work 30 hrs a week. I make $19 hr. Gas and hot water included in the rent. What’s my options?

      Reply
      • MFA Editors MFA Editors

        Hi Simone,
        At your salary your max rent target is about $850 (salary/40). If you want to rent an $1,189 apartment, you need a roommate or you’ll be rent-poor and have a skimp on everything else in your life. Don’t over-extend yourself with rent. Be smart!

        Reply
  89. Crystal ramirez

    Hi I would eventually want to get my own place I make 17 an hour I work 40-42 hours a week, I have a car payment of 400, insurance $130 cell bill $215 monthly. how much $ should In order to move out?

    thank you.

    Reply
  90. Michelle

    Hello,

    Currently I make $20.52 an hour, about $40,000 a year right out of college. I work about 36-38 hours a week, and my commute is an hour away. I have a car payment of $427 a month, my student loans are about $23-25,000 and I pay my own cell phone bill and car ins as well. I’m looking to move out with my boyfriend (still looking for a job) so we will be splitting costs. I also have about $15,000 in savings currently.

    What is my situation looking like for moving out?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  91. Robert

    Hello. I currently make $13.48/hr with a minimum of 40hr/ per week with tons of overtime oppertunities and two raises a year. Long story made short i need to now find my own place. I don’t need cable, or any premium TV subscriptions, just wireless internet. I saw comcast is offering just internet for $39.99. I get paid every two weeks and my paychecks can range from $950~ to $1200~ or more depending on how much overtime i did. Right now i pay a phone bill that is $118 (I do have the ability to downgrade my cellular package if nesessary) then I have a car payment and insurance which together adds up to about $472. Would I be able to live comfortably on my own? I still have parents that could help me out if i got into a jam with money but i want don’t want to have to rely on others to live. I have no kids, no pets. I will be by myself in the apartment. I do know that my parents can help me out with buying food.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Robert,
      If you can get an apartment in the $670 range a month you should be fine (see below). We calculated your target rent without overtime, so you have a bit of a cushion from extra overtime pays. Your car payment are pretty high but even then your should be covered.
      Good luck!

      Robert’s Budget without overtime:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $13.48
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $26,960
      Est. taxes 20% ($5,392)
      After tax take-home – $21,568

      Per month take-home $1,797
      Max. rent (annual pre-tax pay/40)-$674
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$135
      Car Payment -$472
      Cell phone -$118
      Monthly cash after fixed exp. $399
      Per week $100

      Reply
  92. Asia

    Hi! I’m 19 & making $15/hr with 40 hrs a week. So I was guessing I Would have to find an apartment for $660 a month, maximum? But I was wondering how much should I save in all until I move out. Also, I’m getting all my furniture from my parents so I don’t plan on spending anything on that.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Asia,
      You take in about $30,000 before taxes a year and our max. rent target on that income is $750 ($30,000/40), so $660 is certainly doable for you. You need to save at least 3 times your monthly rent, so about $2,000 in your case.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  93. Charlie

    Hey there, I’m 19 and going to be working only 20-25 hours a week for minimum wage of $10. I’m trying to figure out when I’ll (if ever) be able to move out of my parents house and into a cheap studio apartment? I live in Sacramento CA, if that makes any difference. Also, I won’t have to pay for a car/insurance because I ride the bus everywhere and I’m getting my community college payed for by family (including free bus sticker). I’m also trying to find someone to have as a roommate so hopefully i can have some help with money there, but currently I don’t.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Charlie,
      Sorry to say, but you are not ready for your own place yet. With your income and even with your minimal other expenses, you could only afford $200-300 in rent, if you also want to eat and go out with friends once in a while. Is there a roommate share in Sacramento on your bus line for $250 a month? Didn’t think so.
      Stay at home, continue saving, finish your school, get a full time job and then move out and have a great first apartment experience!
      Good luck!

      Reply
  94. Bridgette

    Hi I work about 40 hours each week and make $9.00 I have no kids just me and my partner how much can we afford? How much do I need saved before leaving thanks

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Bridgette,
      If it is just you earning money your maximum rent is $450 a month. 40 x $9 x 50 = $18,000 annually. Then you divide $18,000 by 40 = $450, you maximum affordable rent. If your partner earns the same, then you can go up to $900 a month. You need to save at least 3 times your expected rent before you move.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  95. stephanie

    Hello, my boyfriend and I are looking to get our own apartment in a couple of months. We both make $12.00/hour and work a minimum of 40 hours a week. What is the price range for rent we’d be able to afford?

    Reply
    • stephanie

      I forgot to mention that I also have a car payment of $450/month. And my boyfriend pays his insurance which is usually about $115/month

      Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Stephanie,
      Your maximum affordable rent is $1,200 a month (see below) and you need to save at least 3 times the rent or $3,600 before you move. However, you’d be smart to get a place for less, let’s say $1,000, and save more money so you can buy your own place down the line.
      Good luck!
      Stephanie’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $12.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $24,000
      Est. taxes 20% ($4,800)
      After tax take-home – Stephanie $19,200
      After tax take-home – BF $19,200
      Total cash income/year $38,400

      Per month take-home $3,200
      Max. rent (annualpre-tax pay/40) -$1,200
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$240
      Car Payment -$450
      Car insurance -$115
      Cash after fixed exp. $1,195
      Per week $299

      Reply
  96. Shawn

    Hello I’m currently working 6 days a week at 41 hours a week (will change when I hire someone probably going to average between 34-36 hours a week) and I make $18.50 an hour. Just curious as to what the absolute most would be I could afford in rent for an apartment just to gauge what I should be looking for.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Shawn,

      Here’s what you do.
      1. Estimate your annual gross income at 36 hours x $18.50 x 50 weeks = ,$33,300
      2. Divide your est. annual income by 40 $33,300/40 = $832.50
      Your maximum affordable rent is about $830/month.
      However, if you have high car payments, student loans, childcare cost or other unusually big fixed expenses, you need to run a full budget calculation to make sure that what’s left is enough to live on.
      Remember the $830 is maximum. Start looking in the $750 range and see how those places would work.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  97. Sara

    I am a single mom of a 2 year old. I am living with my parents but at 24 years old I am ready to move out. I work full-time 40hrs a week at $13/hr. I will have day care expenses in the fall at $140 a week. I use probably $50 a week in gas and will probably use more when I move out. Is this something I could afford? I am wondering if buying a house would be better? I have a reasonable credit score of 630… Can you help me figure out whether I should wait or what? I am working on saving money and getting furniture and other items together at the moment.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Sara,
      First, kudos to you for working 40 hour weeks while caring for a 2-year old.
      We did a quick budget for you and it leaves you only $80 a week for all other living costs after your fixed expenses. It is too tight. See below.
      Why don’t you stay with your parents one more year, and target to save at least $5,000 before you move. You’ll need to have $1,500-2,000 for immediate expenses (rent plus security deposit and misc. moving costs). Then you’ll have a $3,000 safety net for unexpected expenses. Buying a house at this point does not seem to make sense to us. Live in a rental for a while, while continuing to save for a house in a few years.
      Good luck!
      Sara’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $13.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $26,000
      Est. taxes 10% ($2,600)
      After tax take-home $23,400

      Per month take-home $1,950
      Max. rent (annual pay/40) -$650
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$130
      Daycare -$600
      Gas -$250
      Cash after fixed exp. $320
      Per week $80

      Reply
  98. Anthony

    I’m 25 years old and looking to move into my first 1 bedroom apartment and will be living alone. I live in VA but planning to move to MD and have my eye on a place that will cost me roughly 1,100 per month through a state affordable housing program. I make 16.75 per/hr and work a guaranteed minimum of 28 hr/week . I bought a new car back in 2015 in order to build credit and am paying 320 per month plus 150 for insurance. I’ve kept up with my payments so my credit is good. I currently drive more than 100 miles per day to and from work so I’m spending more on gas and servicing my car than most people and this place I want for 1,100 will place me less than 15 miles away from my job so I’ll save money on that front. I have family that is willing to help me with furnishing and to get through the initial cost of moving, so my main concern is if I’m able to handle the average monthly expense of living on my own. I have also put in for another part time job that should pay me a minimum of 15.00 per/hr so I’ll be working 6 days a week placing me closer to 35 hr/week worked.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Anthony,
      Your total annual income from both jobs will be about $30,000. ($16.75*28*50+$15*8*50=$29,450) If you pay about 20% in total taxes (Fed. Fica and state) you net after taxes $24,000 a year, $2,000 a month. After your fixed monthly expenses you’ll only have $180 a month for food, clothing, and all other living expenses. See below. That is clearly not enough. You might consider moving in with a roommate first, paying no more than $600 rent, saving all the money you make from the second job, and waiting until your income grows before getting your own place. Being so totally “rent-poor” in your first apartment will leave no money for entertainment and enjoying the experience. Good luck!
      Anthony’s monthly budget:
      $2,000 take-home pay
      $(1,100)rent
      $(150) est. utilities
      $(320) car payment
      $(150) car insurance
      $(100) est. other gas, etc
      $180 Left for food, clothing, etc.

      Reply
  99. Taylor

    Hi I just recently started a job getting paid $10.00 a hour 20 hours a week it’s a part time job. But I get paid every 2 weeks although I do work at a retail store and get paid $10 a hour but less hours then the other job. Of course I’m not ready to move in my first apartment now but I just want to plan it and get ready for it. I guess I was just wondering can I actually afford it an apartment??

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi,
      Does this mean you have 2 jobs, each paying $10/hr. One is 20 hours a week and other one is less. How may hours a week do you work in total? We need more detail before we can estimate.

      Reply
  100. Natalie

    I really want to move out this year, at the moment I make 10.50 an he and my boyfriend plans on coming with me and he makes 10 an hour. I plan on getting another job soon. I have a car payment which is 342 a month my phone is 100 and car insurance is 115. He also pays a car 400 phone 50 and insurance 50. Do you think we would be able to rent anything this year.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Natalie,
      Let’s say that you each work 35-40 hour week 50 weeks a year, making roughly $20,000 before taxes each, $40,000 combined. Let’s say your FICA, federal and state taxes total about $3,000 a year or 15% of your gross pay, so your after tax pay for the year is roughly $17,000 each = $34,000 combined or $2,833/month.
      According to the basic rent formula annual income/40, your max. affordable rent is $1,000 a month, plus estimated utilities of $200 for a total housing cost of $1,200. (See below.)
      Your Estimated Budget:
      Monthly take home pay: $2833 ($34,000/12)
      Rent and utilities ($1200)
      Car payments ($742)
      Phones ($150)
      Insurance ($165)
      Money left/mo. $576

      It seems to us that because of your high car payments, the usual formula is not working for you. You should aim to have $400-$500 each or $800-$1,000 in total each month left after all your fixed expenses – for commuting, food, clothing, incidentals and emergency fund savings. Can you rent something in the $700 range? Otherwise, can you trade your cars into less expensive ones. You need to decide what is more important to you, a nice car or your own apartment.
      Good luck!

      Here’s what our rent calculator says:
      What is your annual salary? $40,000
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $1,000
      Estimated Utilities: $200
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $1,200
      Target Savings To Move Out: $3,000

      Reply
  101. Kris

    Hi my husband and I along with our 3 young kids are moving to Texas he makes 14.50 an hr and works 40 hrs per week I make 12 dollars an hour working 40 hrs per week we want to rent a 3 bedroom apartment that’s 1350 a month. Can we do it? What’s your advice?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kris,

      Let’s estimate that your husband makes $29,000 a year ($14.50*40*50 weeks – 2 weeks unpaid vacation/sick days etc.) and you make $24,000 ($12*40*50), then your combined annual gross income before taxes is $53,000. The basic formula for max. rent is pretax annual income divided by 40, giving you max. rent target of $1,325.
      Here’s what our rent calculator says:
      Do you have an annual salary? Yes
      What is your annual salary? $53,000
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $1,325
      Estimated Utilities: $265
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $1,590
      Target Savings To Move Out: $3,975

      It’s close enough that you should be able to handle $1,350.
      However, you do need to consider all your other expenses. Your basic household expenses must be pretty high; 3 growing kids need a lot of shoes and clothes, not to mention food. Do you have big car payments or credit card payments? If you take home after taxes and health insurance about $3,500 a month, that would leave you a bit under $2,000 a month after rent and utilities. Then deduct car payments, insurance, gas, credit card payments and see if what’s left is enough to pay for all other essential expenses. If not, try to find something a little less expensive so you don’t need to worry about the rent money every month.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  102. Brianna

    Hi im brianna and i make 20 dollars an hour would i be able to afford a one bedroom apartment on my own ?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Brianna,
      You probably make before taxes between $30,000 and $40,000 a year, depending on weekly hours worked. If your divide that by 40 (the usual rule for estimating your max. affordable rent) you could afford to pay $750-$1,000 a month for rent. If that is enough in your area for a 1BR or at least a studio, your job is stable and you don’t have high debt, go for it.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  103. Aaron

    Hello, I’m looking to move out hopefully within next year or the year after that, I’m 25 and working part time making 9.75 a hour I’m thinking I’ll be getting at least 30 to 32 hrs each week cause I get weekly pay. So going into my main concern I’ll be having to get my own insurance soon but am also ready to get out on my own but no sure how much I’ll need saved up in both accounts to be well stable financially, I do plan on getting a roommate and have all my essentials besides a few things for a apartment.
    Advice would be greatly appreciated

    Reply
  104. gabbysodessey

    Hello! I’m looking to move out by next year. How much do I need to save in order to live on my own with roommates of course. I currently make $10 hourly, but I have $4000 saved up. I do go to school though and my tuition totals up to $4000 yearly. I’m also looking to transfer to a four year university that is $6000 a semseter. I live in Northern Virginia so its pretty expensive. I’m lucky if I can find anything below $600. Can I do this or should I just live at home until I graduate? Thanks! Advice is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Gabby,
      Since you go to school, you probably work less than 40 hours a week. Lets say you work 20 hours times $10 = $200 a week, or $10,000 for 50 week year. (See our answers to Mike and Kasey.) With that income you should pay no more than $250 a month in rent. And living on your own has many other expenses you don’t have at home, like laundry and food. Why would you want to live in a hole-in-a-wall roommate share when you can live at home, use your money for tuition, graduate debt-free, get a good job and be able to afford a nice first apartment? Think about it.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  105. Mike W.

    I plan on moving out late October/ early November this year. I make $17/hr and work 40 hours a week. I’m aiming for an 1 bedroom apartment around $950-1100 in Houston. How much money should I save?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Mike W,
      First calculate your annual income (see our answer to Kasey.) Then you can run our Affordable Rent Calculator. See below.
      It looks to us that your rent target of $950-1100 is higher than what we would recommend on your pay. In any case, you need to save 3 times your monthly rent or $2,500-3,300 before your move. Good luck!

      Do you have an annual salary? Yes
      What is your annual salary? $34,000
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $850
      Estimated Utilities: $170
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $1,020
      Target Savings To Move Out: $2,550

      Reply
  106. Kasey

    My boyfriend and I both work roughly 30 hours a week each, trying to find another job on top of the one I have now. I make $10 an hour and am paid weekly and he makes $11 an hour biweekly. How much should we save?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kasey,
      If you calculate your combined annual pretax pay, you can use our Affordable Rent Calculator. Here’s how it will look for you: Combined annual pay (assuming 50 paid weeks a year, 2 unpaid vacation weeks) BF $11*30*50=$16,500 you 10*30*50=$15,000 Total = $31,500 annually. Your maximum affordable monthly rent is $788 and your target savings is $2,364. See below.
      Do you have an annual salary? Yes
      What is your annual salary? $31,500
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $788
      Estimated Utilities: $158
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $946
      Target Savings To Move Out: $2,364
      Good luck!

      Reply
  107. Jenna

    I have a job making 11 an hour full time but I’m wanting to go back to school part time. Can I get my own apartment on that income? I live in Kentucky

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jenna,
      If you work 40 hour weeks 50 weeks a year, your annual income is $22,000. Using the standard formula, annual salary divided by 40, your max. affordable rent is $550. However, that level is too much if you need to cut your hours for school. Can you get something in the $400/mo. range in Kentycky? Perhaps a good roommate share?
      Going back to school is a great way to boost your income and be able to afford a nice place of your own. Good luck!!

      Reply
  108. Igothellajos

    Holy shit you can’t find an apartment in the Bay Area for less than 1200$ a month

    Reply
  109. Ariana

    I’m planning on moving out with my friend into a two bedroom apartment roughly 850$ a month. I have two jobs, one full time for 10.50 hourly and the other part time 10.25 hourly. My friend has one just paying him 9$ hourly full time. How much should we save up?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      If you save $2,500 between the two of you that should get you started. This assumes that you decorate your place with mostly with hand-me-down, tag sale and freecycle furnishings, in the time-honored first apartment fashion.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  110. Emmi

    I have 2 jobs, one that pays 8/hr and one that pays 9.85/hr. I plan on moving into my own place around October-November of this year. I’m aiming for an 1 bedroom apartment around $400-500. I’m not planning on buying cable. How much money should I save?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Emmi,
      Your rent target is in the ballpark based on your pay. You should aim to save $1,500 before you move out.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  111. Ethan W

    I’m starting a new job that pays $11/hr. I’m looking at apartments between $300-$600, and hoping to move out by December. How much money should I aim to save.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ethan,
      Our rule-of-thumb is that you need to have at least 3 x your expected rent saved by the moving day. If you are looking in the higher rent range, you should save at least $1,800. However, $600 a month rent will be pushing it at your pay, even if you work solid 40 hour weeks. Add up what you actually net after taxes for the first couple of months and keep your rent to no more than 1/3 of the average monthly take home. Then start saving 1 week’s pay each month between now and when you actually move and you’ll be in fine shape and even have a little money for basic furniture.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  112. Ronald Ballard

    I’m 20(I’ll be 21 by the time I move out in august 2017) I’m getting married in October 2017 and I’m making $15-$20+ an hour bi weekly (I work by production in a factory that’s usually what I make in a hour time) me and my fiancé want move in a apartment that’s $400-$600 a month let’s just say it’s $500 a month?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ronald,
      It looks like 2017 will be a big year for you, with first apartment and marriage. You are smart to start planning early so you’ll have plenty of time to save money for both.
      Let’s calculate your rent at the $15 pay, so whatever happens to your hours you’ll be safe. If you make $15/hr. with a 40 hour week, your annual salary equivalent is $31,200 (15*40*52). If you use our Affordable Rent Calculator http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/09/rent-calculator/
      This is what you see:

      Do you have an annual salary? Yes
      What is your annual salary?
      $31,200
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $780
      Estimated Utilities: $156
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $936
      Target Savings To Move Out: $2,340

      Based on these assumptions, $500 a month rent is well below the calculator’s maximum and well within your means and you’ll be able to start saving towards buying your own home.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  113. Shawn

    I recently was promoted into a managers position at my job and on average I work anywhere from 32-36 hours a week and get paid bi-weekly at $18.50hr. I’m looking into places that are in the $600-$800 range tops. What should I roughly be looking to have saved up for an apartment we will just say is $700 for rent a month?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Shawn,
      First, congratulations on your promotion! You are now making enough to get your own place.
      You can use our Rent Calculator if you first calculate your annual salary. We would estimate the average hours per week at 32 hours times $18.50 times 52 weeks = $30,784. (Use the low hours to be safe.) Here’s what the formula says:

      What is your annual salary? $30,784
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $770
      Estimated Utilities: $154
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $924
      Target Savings To Move Out: $2,310

      Based on this, if you save about $2,300, you’ll be in good shape to make your move even at your maximum affordable rent of $770. If you can find a place under $700, then $2,000 should get you started.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  114. Wyatt

    I’m currently 18 years old and I am working my first ever job. As of right now I roughly make around $377 a month (without taxes taken out) with the part-time job I’m working at. I’m living with my parents right now and I’m trying to educate myself on this stuff early on so I’ll know what I’m doing once I’m ready to get out on my own. I’m hoping on getting a second job in the coming months so I can have a more realistic chance at affording a decent apartment and have enough to pay for my bills/necessities when the time comes. Adding up the hours I would probably work for this second job and what I make with my current job, I’ve figured that I would make around $899 before taxes a month. Realistically, this would not be enough money to pay a monthly rent along with all necessary bills, right? If I could not afford it, then roughly how much more do you think I should make to where I can support living on my own? Before I find an apartment I hope to have an affordable car (I haven’t purchased my own car yet but hope to in the coming years) and a decent amount of money saved up in case of emergency. Anyways, I could really use any helpful advice with this question. Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Wyatt,
      You are so smart to plan carefully before moving out on your own. As long as you can live with your family, try to save a nice nest egg before you move out. In the minimum, you’ll need to have on hand an amount equal to 3 times your monthly rent when you get your place: first month’s rent, one month security deposit and some money for moving expenses and furniture.
      Your first place is probably a roommate share, even if you live in a low-rent area. That will cost you at least $500-600 a month, including utilities. You would need to take home, after taxes, about $1,500 a month to afford it. You’ll make that if you make about $9-10/hr and work full time. Then you are ready to fly the nest. Until then, keep on saving and aim to have at least $2,000 in the bank before you move.
      Good luck!

      Reply
      • Wyatt

        Thank you for the response! As of right now I have around $150 collected and put away in a savings account. It’s good to have a goal to aim for as for how much I need to have saved before I move out. I do hope to have more than $2,000 saved up when all is said and done though. I really appreciate the help!

        Reply
  115. Joseph Russell

    my friend makes 18k a year and i make 23-24k a year. We want to know how much each would have to save plus first day utility turn ons.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Joseph,
      Use our rent calculator http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/09/rent-calculator/ to estimate your maximum affordable rent and how much you should have saved by moving day. We have run couple of scenarios below.

      Assuming that numbers you gave are pre-tax incomes, and you plan to get a place on your combined incomes and split the total estimated rent ($450+$575=$1025) in proportion to income:
      – the person with 18,000 salary should save $1,350 and
      – the person with $23,000 salary should save $1,725.

      If you plan to split rent equally, then you have to limit your total rent to what the lower earning person can afford, in this case $450*2=$900 and each of you should save $1,350.
      Good luck!

      What is your annual salary?
      $18,000
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $450
      Estimated Utilities: $90
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $540
      Target Savings To Move Out: $1,350

      What is your annual salary?
      $23,000
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $575
      Estimated Utilities: $115
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $690
      Target Savings To Move Out: $1,725

      Reply
  116. Cole

    so i work you’re average minimum wage at 8.75. due to saving and a settlement for a vehicle accident, i’m looking at around 10,000 dollars to start of on. sharing an apartment with my friend splitting the costs. My job is also a very short drive and i get discounts on gas and groceries from my job. i feel like im beginning to put the pieces to the puzzle together but im still uncomfortable with how much money i could truely live on. any advice, support, or feedback would be greatly appreciated! thank you

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Cole,
      First, congratulations for starting with a nice nest egg of $10,000. Keep it in a separate interest bearing account, so you are tempted to use it for day-to-day expenses. Sharing an apartment with a friend to start with is another smart move. Here are a few more money tips from the MFA team:
      1.) Live within your means. It’s really hard if if you live in a expensive area, but try.
      2.) If your employer offers a 401K plan sign up. If there is a match, make sure you save enough to get the full match.
      3.) Learn to cook. Bring lunch to work. Get your coffee from the office pot rather than Starbucks.
      4.) Never carry a balance on your credit card. Pay the bill in full.
      5.) Pay all your bills on time to avoid penalty fees.
      6.) Couple of times a year review all your monthly bills (cable company, auto insurance, etc.) and shop for a better deal.
      7.) Be on the lookout for coupons and discounts for things you use.

      Good luck with your first apartment!

      Reply
  117. Mrs R

    Sometimes with the security deposit, if you work for well-known, established and reputable company, the management for the apartment you are wanting to rent may do an installment plan. They may want to see a letter from your employer.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Mrs R,
      Thanks for the great tip! It may be a long shot request in some markets, but worth asking.

      Reply
  118. R B

    I want to get my own apartments in Houston. I will average about 45-50k a year. What is the best max rent I should pay with no stress. Also how much should I save up before I move ?

    Reply
    • innomin

      If you have a steady income you will have the iron maiden album “piece of mind”.. duh.

      Reply
  119. Ashley

    I am in the process of saving up now to move out but I work as a personal banker so I only make $2 more than minimum wage. I also have my car note (which I will have to start paying shortly), car insurance, phone bill, etc. I thought starting off by saving $100/month would be good but that’s not enough. I wanted to pay a max of $900 but in the city of Chicago its hard to find a good place in a good neighborhood that isn’t super tiny or in an unsavory neighborhood.

    Reply
  120. Margarita

    I’m working for an architecture firm making 34k a year I thought I would at least be making 40k. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave my parents house with student loans car insurance and other bs I have to pay for

    Reply
  121. Andrew

    So expensive. I just graduated and got my first job. I’m making 45k a year yet it seems I can’t afford almost any decent apartments close to my work in NJ.

    Reply
  122. BootyCaller

    Damn, I’m 30 years old and work full time at minimum wage. I make about 1300 month so yeah. How the hell do i make more money??

    Reply
  123. Toki

    ….well according to this i can afford an apartment $216 worth…..my life sucks :'(

    Reply
  124. Ryan

    $40,000 a year as a new grad? I’m looking at about $25,000. I’m moving in with a roommate though, so rent will be about $550 a piece.

    Reply
    • Sammy

      Um yea, no recent grad is pulling in 40k year unless their parents got them that job through connections. The rest of us who had to work our ass off during and after university (AND have massive students loans to pay off without any help from anyone) are lucky to bank 25 – 30k at the end of the year.

      Reply
      • Raven

        Hey Sammy, I just graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May with a journalism degree, and got my first job in Jan and making 35k a year. I am a recent grad… So its pretty safe to say recent grads can make money. – A lot of my friends I graduated are making more.

        Reply
    • Erica

      I graduated two 5 months ago and make 57,000 no one is my family have ever graduated or has any connections. It can be done

      Reply
  125. Whitney Billings

    Renting definitely isn’t what it used to be, that is a fact. Years past you could get a nice rental for a very affordable value, on a nice, residential side of town. Today, young people can’t afford what most rental’s want, so they live at home with their parents a bit longer–which is absolutely fine. The best advice is to try and save and pay cash for your living expenses to avoid credit crippling. Making wise investments and proper financial decisions can help you choose a rental that you can afford comfortably, but remember, taking your time is important.

    The tips in this article are really great for those just starting out on their own. They make sense and are a reality. Take them to heart, it’s great information. I just wanted to put my two cents into this too.

    Reply
  126. Raymond

    Hello. I am moving in to a small studio apartment that costs 450 (that includes utilities). I live in a small college town in Montana. Do you think that the rent is high, or am I paying a good price?

    Reply
    • Admin Admin

      Hi Raymond,
      You need to look at the prices of other similar studios in your market. Are they comparable? Are utilities included? How much would the utilities cost separately? That’s the only way you’ll know if you have a fair deal. College towns are sometimes more expensive than neighboring areas, because you need to live relatively close to the school.
      Here in New York City, for example, $2,000 can be a really good price for a tiny studio in some neighborhoods and a rip-off in others.
      Good luck from the MFA Team!

      Reply
  127. fuckyou@gmail.com

    Ha. I wanna know who, moving into their first apartment, make 40,000?

    Reply
  128. Todd

    I think $1000/mo is a lot for a $40,000 annual income. I think the rule should be closer to %25 net monthly income for a rental, gross monthly for a purchase. Going higher is do-able, but it will mean making other sacrifices, which I think makes it not an ideal rule of thumb.
    If the resulting $583 seems too small, then that’s the “middle class income squeeze of our times” showing itself. I’m not sure you react to that by giving the landlord more money. Might be better to plan to share an apartment with family or friends until you marry, etc. But budget based on the ratios as a rule of thumb.

    Reply
    • Alicia

      Me too!!! According to this i can afford $800 a month rent which would basically put me in an area I would probably get shot!

      Reply
      • Mide

        me too. looking at all these expenses, I could live with my parent forever, but that’s just not gonna happen. Fresh out of college with a new job, definitely not up to 40,000 but I want a nice first apartment.

        Reply
        • Gregory Eaton

          I’m at a 2 years into the software field and I’m only making 38,875 a year lol. I guess if I had my bachelors I’d be making more so it is what it is.