Rent payments tend to comprise a massive chunk of the average person’s budget. If you’re looking to move into your first apartment, your rent payments might feel like even more of a strain on your finances if you’re also paying off debts such as student loans, an auto loan, or credit card debt. Thus, if you’re facing a lot of debt, you might want to consider putting your paycheck toward your debt before moving into your first apartment. Here are some reasons why moving with debt isn’t right for everyone.
A clear budget is a clear mind
Let’s say you’re paying $1,000 per month for your one-bedroom apartment in your city’s thriving downtown area. Your utility bills might cost around $150 per month, with items like your food budget, transportation budget, and other everyday costs adding up (though by following some simple supermarket tricks, you can reel in your grocery spending without drastically altering your quality of life). That’s already likely around $1,500 per month spent on your basic costs – spending more money on debt will only cause you more stress as you adjust to living in your first apartment. Pay off those debts now to feel more at peace as you move.
Finding your first apartment will be easier
The more debt you carry, the more it impacts your credit score. When you’re looking for your first apartment, your credit score will prove a major factor in whether potential landlords will accept your application. Once you’ve mentally committed to moving into your first apartment, begin paying off your debts, whether credit card bills or student loans, as quickly as possible.
Once paid off, you should follow credit score best practices to keep yourself in good standing. If your debts are especially large, consider pursuing a debt repayment plan to show creditors that you’re actively working to pay off your loans. As for credit card bills, financial experts and economic researchers have devised additional best practices you can easily follow to pay those off (hint: pay your lowest credit card bills first).
You’ll feel less guilty about other spending
When you live alone, you have a unique kind of sacred space. You have an apartment that’s entirely yours rather than shared with friends or family – how much better does it get? On the other hand, living alone can get lonely, so you’ll likely find yourself wanting to go out with friends a few times a week. And usually, going out requires money.
Thus, when you’re about to move into your first apartment, your social life might suffer if you’re contending with the stress of paying off debt. There’s a social learning curve that comes with living alone – how do you balance your social needs with the lack of regular interaction that family living or roommates bring? – and if you have less money to spend, you might feel more compelled to stay home than go out and be social.
How do you go about lessening the impact of debt on your life? Sound off in the comments, and feel free to share any tools you use to help with budgeting!