When you’re on the hunt for your first place, a HUGE thing to remember is that you need to have about 3 TIMES your expected rent ready to go. This money goes towards paying a security deposit equal to (at least) one month’s rent, your first month’s rent due on signing of the lease, plus all the other expenses you’ll have moving out on your own. The security deposit gets put away by your landlord to make any repairs to damage you may cause to their property. At the end of your lease, the landlord will pay you back the deposit, minus any money required for repairs. The good news is that if you get back your deposit, you can use the money towards the deposit on your next apartment. (Read this post for tips on getting all of your $$$ back at the end of your lease.)
To land the apartment of your dreams, this all means that you need to become a super saver in advance of your apartment search. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than being turned down for an apartment because you aren’t well-prepared!
Saving the $2,000-$3,000, or more, your move will require can be difficult, but if you can do it over a few months you are also proving to yourself that you will be able manage living on your own. Follow these five tips to ensure you are ready to sign on the dotted line when you find the perfect apartment for you!
1. Make a separate savings account or piggy bank
If you already have a savings account (you should! Check out these tips to learn how.), consider opening a separate account (if your bank allows you to do so with no fees) or save cash in an envelope or mason jar stored in a safe place. It’s motivating to see your stockpile of money grow over time, and knowing that money has ONE use only…your first apartment…can keep you moving forward with saving.
Mixing your normal savings or checking account with apartment saving not only makes the process less motivating, but it becomes much more difficult to track progress. If you’re a visual person, write out a goal and track how much progress you make towards it every week.
2. Stay in…then save the money you would have spent going out
Instead of going out to eat, to the movies, or to costly activities during the week and weekends, try staying in and cooking meals, hosting at-home movie nights, or having friends over for a game night.
Then, move the amount of money you generally spend on a night out (think dinner ($), activities ($), transportation ($)) into your apartment deposit account. Your checking account won’t miss the funds, since you’d usually spend it, but your apartment deposit account will thank you!!
3. Limit shopping and excess spending
Another easy way to cut down spending is on shopping, morning coffees, or other expense habits built into an average week. When I started saving for my rental, I had to unsubscribe from promotional emails from my favorite clothing stores to limit the temptation of online shopping! And guess what? It really helped!
Look over your bank statements over the last couple months to identify where your excess spending lies. Then, try to cut it out for a short period of time. Instead of spending, move extra money into your apartment savings.
4. Find ways to bolster your income
Whether you take on extra jobs or hours at work or be deliberate with holiday gift asks, try to think of creative ways to add to your normal income. Then, save all of that money 1n your apartment savings!
5. Save AS. MUCH. AS. POSSIBLE.
It’s hard to ever know for certain how much money your actual move will cost and how much a landlord will require as an apartment deposit, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. For my last place, my deposit was a full month’s rent, PLUS a significant extra deposit (think over $1000) because we brought two dogs. If we hadn’t been saving extra, we wouldn’t be in the apartment of our dreams now.
What other tricks have you found that can boost your savings? If you are in your first apartment already, how long did it take you to save the money to move out? Please share in the comments.