The most frequent question we get is, “how much does it cost to move to an apartment?” We have covered the topic many times before, so this time we’ll start by looking at what it will cost to live in your first apartment. We estimate the cost at various salary levels, ranging from $20,000 to $50,000, so you can figure out if living on your own is affordable at your salary. The estimated taxes and expenses below assume a single individual who takes a standard tax deduction and who does not get medical insurance through employment. The state and local taxes and commuting costs are pegged to New York City levels and will be most likely less in other cities. The monthly rent is estimated at the HUD’s recommended maximum of 1/40th of your annual salary. Of course, your actual expenses will vary, depending on your personal tax and employment situation, but the chart below gives you some rough guidelines. Note: If you have student loans, car loans or credit card debt, those payments have to come off first from your take-home pay.
If it looks like you’ll be able to cover all your expenses and have a little left over for savings and for going out with your friends now and then, you’ll need to figure out next how much money you have to save before you start looking. In addition to the first month’s rent, your landlord wants a security deposit, too. There are also smaller expenses for credit check fees and possibly other fees related to securing the lease. (Typically, these fees are lower in a roommate situation.) And as it comes to furniture, in the minimum, you’ll need a bed to sleep on. If you meet the savings targets below before you start your apartment hunt, you’ll have a good chance of landing your first apartment. In terms of timing, if you can live with family or friends and save the money you’d otherwise pay for rent, you should be able to hit the savings target in just three short months.