Moving into your first apartment is very exciting, especially when it comes to furnishing and decorating your apartment within the first month! Starting off in a new apartment is also very expensive, with landlords often asking for first and last month’s rent, a hefty security deposit and any fees tagged on for using a broker or filling out applications. After all these upfront expenses, it can be very discouraging to start furnishing and living in your apartment when you don’t have much money left in your savings to work with. As someone who is struggling with this transition period right now, here are some tips for making your apartment feel like home even after moving costs have depleted your savings.
Cook simple meals and keep the ingredient list short
After paying for moving expenses and also for basic needs for your apartment (i.e. toilet paper, sponges, etc.) the last thing you might want to do is run to the corner store and spend a a lot of money on groceries. Also, resist the temptation to spend money on takeout, and stick to some easy options for cooking inexpensive meals. Think ham and cheese scrambles, pastry dough pizza, stir fry’s and pastas to help you get through. And check out this link at Cooking Light for meals that have 5 ingredients or less.
Also check this post about saving money on food.
Know where to shop for best prices on apartment items
In need of kitchen appliances? Check out IKEA, Groupon and Amazon for the best deals. Bedding and bathroom necessities? Hit up Bed, Bath and Beyond and use their 20% coupons (BTW, the paper ones NEVER EXPIRE!!!). Cleaning supplies? Head to the Dollar Store to get you started! Craigslist and thrift stores are great for used furniture! Point being, it’s important to determine where to buy certain items, so that you are spending the last bit of your money wisely and getting the best deals.
Try not to furnish and decorate your entire apartment within the first few weeks
While it may be tempting to start purchasing decorations to make your apartment feel like home (and to show it off to guests!), I’d advise starting off with the bare minimum in your apartment. Your taste in style could change, and the last thing you want to deal with is “buyer’s remorse” when your pockets are already feeling pretty empty. Make it a goal to purchase only one new decoration every few weeks to build your home over time. This allows you to think specific decorations over, really determine the style of apartment you’re after, and not waste money on junk later on.
Check out these first time decorating mistakes to avoid.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends
Moving into your first apartment also comes with the feeling of wanting to be independent and feel like you can manage your finances and set up the apartment by yourself. But don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling! See if a friend or family member has any extra furniture or kitchen appliances to use. Host a potluck housewarming and have leftovers the next few nights for meals. You can still be an independent adult and gracefully ask the people who care about you to help you during your first few weeks in your new place. Who knows, they may need your help one day and you can return the favor!
I hope these tips help you get through this tough financial time. But hey, at least you can enjoy the fun and excitement of the first few weeks in your new home, even if it means sitting on the living room floor eating Top Ramen and PB&J for a few days (or a few weeks, no judgements here!)
Also check out these posts about managing money when living on your own:
Living on Your Own: 7 Tips for Avoiding Budget Woes
Financial Planning to Keep Your First Apartment