My First Apartment https://www.myfirstapartment.com Mon, 18 Feb 2019 17:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 Things To Declutter This Month https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/10-things-declutter-month/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/10-things-declutter-month/#respond Mon, 18 Feb 2019 17:00:40 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29947 The decluttering craze has taken over the world, and is making us all a little KonMari crazy. I personally love the KonMari method, however it’s not for everyone. If you’ve caught the decluttering bug but don’t want to go full stream with it, try starting your journey on a smaller scale. Here are 10 things…

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The decluttering craze has taken over the world, and is making us all a little KonMari crazy. I personally love the KonMari method, however it’s not for everyone. If you’ve caught the decluttering bug but don’t want to go full stream with it, try starting your journey on a smaller scale.

Here are 10 things you can declutter from your apartment this month:

1. Old Textbooks

We all tend to hold on to textbooks longer than we should just in case we might need them someday. Now is the time to get rid of the ones you know you’ll never open again. Chances are you’ll find another college student who needs them and will buy them from you.

2. Expired Make-up

We all have an old mascara or two that is wayyy past it’s expiry date. Now’s the time to get rid of them, and any other expired make-up that may be lurking in your cosmetic bag. Aside from not working well, expired make-up can cause infections, breakouts, etc.

3. Expired Medications And Old Prescriptions

Most pharmacies will accept and dispose of expired medications. If you’re like me, your medicine cabinet may need a clean out, and now’s the time to do it.

4. That Huge Pile Of Mail And Flyers

This falls under the “I might need it someday” category. If it’s older than a few months and completely useless to you in the future, get rid of it.

5. Those Too-Small Clothes You Wore In High School

You will never fit into them again, trust me. I decluttered recently and found clothes that were 10 years old that I was holding on to “just in case”. Of course we all want to be healthier and our best selves, but fashion changes over the years, and if by some miracle we do happen to get back down to our 15 year old size, we can just repurchase new, better clothes.

6. The Bag Of Cables And Chargers

We all have this bag of cords that we no longer remember what they were used for. We all need to get rid of it, like yesterday.

7. Old Manuals And Handbooks

Why do we hold on to these? Do we ever really go looking for the manual that came with our blender or vacuum cleaner anymore? Worse yet, with the vacuum cleaner we threw out years ago. Personally, I just google any and all problems that may occur with my appliances, and most manuals are online in PDF form if you do need to refer to one for something.

8. The Gifts We Received And Hate

Why do we keep these? Chances are, most of us have a piece of decor or an outfit that we keep just in case the person who got it for us comes over someday and might see it. I also attach memories to belongings and tend to feel super guilty when I discard something that was given to me by a loved one. If we simply admit it, we are just adding to clutter and stressing ourselves out over something we don’t even like. Let’s get rid of it.

9. Product Packaging And Boxes

Raise your hand if you have at least 1 cellphone box, a few shoe boxes, the box your computer came in, etc., in your apartment. Yeah, me too. If you can’t re-purpose it, get rid of it.

10. The Junk Drawer

If you look in my junk drawer right now, you’ll find spare and expired batteries, broken sunglasses, glow sticks, thumb tacks, pens that don’t work, random kitchen items, a phone book I’ll never use, and more..so much more. It’s time to clean out our junk drawers, even if they will be full again in a month’s time.

Have you caught the decluttering bug? Comment below and let us know how it’s going!

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Apartment Splurges for Your Tax Refund https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/apartment-splurges-for-your-tax-return/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/apartment-splurges-for-your-tax-return/#respond Fri, 15 Feb 2019 13:00:53 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29814 Tax season is HERE, which for many can also mean Tax REFUND Season! Depending on how your income is set up, you may expect some of your tax money coming back to you in the coming months. Add that to any holiday cash you may have received, and it’s surely burning a hole in your pocket!…

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Tax season is HERE, which for many can also mean Tax REFUND Season! Depending on how your income is set up, you may expect some of your tax money coming back to you in the coming months. Add that to any holiday cash you may have received, and it’s surely burning a hole in your pocket!

While saving or investing this money is always, always your smartest bet, there’s no reason not to treat yourself to a few small apartment splurges to improve your daily experience. Think of these new items as investments, too, and choose wisely!

Some ideas…

Looking for COZY?

Bedding by West Elm

Tiny upgrades can make your apartment feel more grown up and cozier at the same time. Consider items that will last a long time in styles that aren’t too trendy. If you’re going to splurge in linens, quality counts!

  • Coordinating bedding and sheet set
  • Throws and pillows
  • Mattress toppers

Need FURNITURE?

Table by Wayfair

Think about the furniture you’ve been missing since you’ve moved in. If you something doesn’t already come to mind, you likely shouldn’t splurge on it. But, take this chance to get a nightstand if it drives you crazy that you don’t have one.

  • TV stand
  • Coffee table / end tables
  • Nightstand
  • Headboard / footboard for your bed

Love to COOK?

Instant Pot by Williams Sonoma

Like linens, quality is king in the kitchen. Whether you love to cook already or are newly exploring the kitchen, high-quality items can last you for years.

  • Knife set
  • Pots / pans
  • Cutting boards
  • Bakeware

Hoping to HOST?

For the host or hostess in you, consider some coordinating serving ware or other small touches to upgrade your apartment get-togethers. Again, go with classic styles and look for bargains!

  • Serving ware
  • Place mats or table runners

Into TECHNOLOGY?

Nest Thermostat by Amazon

Tech can be touchy in an apartment, but if you’re looking to splurge, find something that: #1 is allowed in your apartment (duh) and #2 you can easily take with you when you move to your next place!

  • Nest or smart thermostat
  • Roomba or automatic vacuum
  • Smart home device (Google Home, Amazon Alexa) and smart sockets

Looking for EXPERIENCES?

Experiences can also be a great investment if you’re looking to upgrade your apartment lifestyle. Focus on a small experience or two that will help you feel more well-rounded as an individual – like seeing places you’ve never seen.

  • Day trip to local getaway
  • Tourist activities in your own city
  • Art classes

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

While you shouldn’t have to deny yourself a few key purchases with your tax return of extra cash, make a commitment to yourself to put the majority of it in your savings / investment account or use it to pay off debt. No upgrades feel as good as being debt-free or as building up a safety net or feeling prepared for your next move. Take the time to think wisely… then enjoy shopping!

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5 Ways to Treat Your SO Roommate for Valentine’s Day Without Breaking the Bank https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/5-ways-treat-roommate-valentines-day-without-breaking-bank/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/5-ways-treat-roommate-valentines-day-without-breaking-bank/#respond Wed, 13 Feb 2019 13:00:44 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=30006 With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of how you can celebrate your significant other on that day! If you don’t live with your significant other, or don’t have one for the holiday, consider throwing a “Gal – / Dude – Valentine’s Day” party to celebrate all of your closest friends instead.…

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of how you can celebrate your significant other on that day! If you don’t live with your significant other, or don’t have one for the holiday, consider throwing a “Gal – / Dude – Valentine’s Day” party to celebrate all of your closest friends instead. And, if you live with roommates, consider choosing one of the below options to make them feel special anyway.

When your significant other is your roommate, you have lots of opportunity to be thoughtful without spending much money. Living with your SO can be a lot of fun, but it’s also easy to stop appreciating the little things once seeing each other every day has become the norm. Instead of spending a ton of money on fancy Valentine’s Day gifts this year, try treating your SO with thoughtful gestures.

Consider the below options to make them feel appreciated and special!

1. Take on their least favorite chore for the week (or forever)

Most roommate-couples split household chores, leaving each roommate to take on particular tasks to keep the house up and running. Think about the chore that your SO hates doing the most, but they still do for you. Maybe it’s laundry, cooking dinner, doing dishes, or vacuuming the rugs. Take on that task for the week after Valentine’s Day! If they REALLY hate it, consider taking it on for good.

2. Home cook a meal

Cooking together can be a blast, especially if it’s not something you do often. If your SO generally does the cooking, consider treating them for the night and cooking up something special. The meal doesn’t have to be fancy…it’s the thought and effort that counts!

3. Bring home flowers or a treat

Small gifts like flowers, your SO’s favorite snack or candy, or a new book are sweet and inexpensive ways to show you thought about them during the day. These don’t need to break the bank, again, it’s the thought that counts when you think about small gifts!

4. Give them the control of the TV remote

He loves his sports and you like to wind down in the company of your favorite Real Housewives.  Or maybe you love to watch shows about animals and your SO is into crime series. Most couples have different tastes when it comes to TV – as the old saying goes, “opposites attract”! So, for a Valentine’s Day treat, yield the remote for a day or a week and let your SO binge on their favorites.

5. Leave handwritten notes around your apartment

A sweet and romantic gesture is also to leave small handwritten notes around your apartment for your SO to find. Think about their bathroom mirror in the morning, their sock drawer, a kitchen cabinet, of your front door! Bonus points if you leave multiple notes in a few different locations!

If you want to spend a little more money, consider choosing something to experience together, like a weekend getaway, concert, or night on the town to celebrate your relationship!

This post was first published in 2017.

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Do You Need a Financial Adviser? https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/do-you-need-a-financial-adviser/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/do-you-need-a-financial-adviser/#respond Mon, 11 Feb 2019 17:00:38 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29450 When you venture out on your own, there are plenty of new responsibilities that come your way… like being financially responsible and planning for your future! A financial adviser may help you set and meet financial goals and introduce you to the world of money management during this new chapter of your life. Here are a…

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When you venture out on your own, there are plenty of new responsibilities that come your way… like being financially responsible and planning for your future! A financial adviser may help you set and meet financial goals and introduce you to the world of money management during this new chapter of your life. Here are a few reasons you may be ready for a financial adviser…

You have some cash ready to invest

If you’re already saving some money in a traditional savings account and the amount is exceeding the recommended 3-6 month emergency fund, it may be time to get in touch with a financial adviser to ensure you’re making the smartest choices with your money. They’ll talk about things like increasing the interest you receive based on the type of account you open or investing your excess savings into stocks and bonds to see continual growth over time.

There are plenty of options to grow your savings – although some financial institutions will require a minimum investment ($) amount before partnering with you, not all do, and some minimums are fairly low.

You don’t know how much to save

This is another common question – how much saving is “enough?!” While “The more the better” may be a common answer, you should think through what logically makes sense for you and the goals you have set for yourself. Hoping to buy a house in the next few years? Make a plan to get your down payment in the bank before then. A financial adviser isn’t required for this type of conversation, but if you know you won’t set aside a couple hours to think through your goals and build an action plan, it may be best to partner with one.

You don’t feel experienced enough to manage your funds

If you thrive on watching the stock market every day or checking out the latest and greatest rewards credit cards or savings plans, you may serve well as your own financial adviser! Keep up to date on the latest trends by reading financial advice offered by key industry publications.

If that doesn’t sound like you, a financial adviser can take the guesswork out of saving and investing money. It’s their job to be up to date and knowledgeable on changes to the market or best practices and they can act accordingly. If you’re not interested in doing the research yourself, they can walk you through various options based on your tolerance for risk and your long term goals. A good one will also tutor you and explain why they are making certain recommendations, so over time you’ll learn a lot about managing your own finances.

You are getting married

Talking about money is difficult for most people and that includes couples about to get married. Even if you plan to keep your finances separate, you should know your partner’s attitudes about money. Visiting a financial planner will let you bare all in front of an impartial third party who can advice how you should structure finances towards common goals. This step may save you from many future money arguments.

How to pick a financial advisor?

After you decide you’d like to work with an advisor, how do you find one? First, ask for recommendations from friends in a similar financial situation. Next, set up a meeting with the financial institution where your money is. Also check with companies like Charles Schwab and Fidelity and find out what kind of minimums they have. You want to meet face-to-face with your potential advisor to see if you’d be comfortable working with them.

Here are articles you can read about picking an advisor from Nerd Wallet, Forbes and CNBC.

How much will it cost?

Financial advisers can be a great asset, and while their services aren’t free, they generally will charge either a percentage of your invested funds (depending on account balance, typically 1% and up annually) or a flat hourly fee. Remember the concept of “Pay Yourself First”? I learned that from my financial adviser, who has helped me build out my savings account and a plan for retirement. I meet with her once or twice a year to talk through results and goals, and that’s it!

Talking to a financial advisor may not be for you, and that’s fine! But, take this as your reminder to set financial goals and action plans to achieve them. Now’s the time!

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Should You Hire Movers? This Investment Could Be Worth It https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/should-you-hire-movers/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/should-you-hire-movers/#respond Fri, 08 Feb 2019 13:00:55 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29470 Moving is stressful. From packing up all of your personal belonging to weeding out what you need to get rid of, there’s a ton of work that goes into moving to your first apartment. To relieve some of that stress, you may be wondering should you hire movers? This is a complicated question. Is it…

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Moving is stressful. From packing up all of your personal belonging to weeding out what you need to get rid of, there’s a ton of work that goes into moving to your first apartment. To relieve some of that stress, you may be wondering should you hire movers?

This is a complicated question. Is it an investment? Yes. Is it worth the investment? That’s going to be up to you to decide. Here’s 3 things to think about before you decide to take the plunge and hire movers to help get you into your brand new place.

1. Budget

When considering whether to hire movers, the first thing you should think about is your budget. Even without the assistance of movers, getting into a new place can be expensive. There are deposits for rents and utilities, and you’re probably going to have some apartment essentials you need to buy. Call around and get a few estimates on the cost before making your decision.

2. Consider Friends And Family

Do you have friends or family who would be willing to help you move? If the answer is yes, movers may not be required. Sure, you’ll be majorly pitching in when it comes to the work, but you could also be saving some serious cash. Plus, when your friends and family help you move, there’s almost always some sort of pizza party after.

3. Distance

If you’re moving a long distance, you may want to consider movers. Can you move across multiple state lines by yourself or with a friend? Of course, you can! However, this is one instance where movers may be worth the investment. Not only do you not have to worry about renting and driving your own truck, but it’ll ease the stress of such a big trek.

Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when looking to hire movers, but if your budget works and you want to take a bit of stress off your plate, it may just be the way to go.

 

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New Habits To Improve Your Daily Apartment Life https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/new-years-habits-to-improve-your-apartment/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/new-years-habits-to-improve-your-apartment/#respond Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:00:24 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29763 New Year, New YOU! Well, even if you’re not reinventing yourself for 2019, the new year can be a great time to reset on habits to level-up your daily life. Don’t miss this motivating chance to pick up new habits (and drop some bad ones!) that also make your apartment a better place to be.…

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New Year, New YOU! Well, even if you’re not reinventing yourself for 2019, the new year can be a great time to reset on habits to level-up your daily life. Don’t miss this motivating chance to pick up new habits (and drop some bad ones!) that also make your apartment a better place to be. Check out these top new year habits and jot down a few of your own! And, how to keep these habits in check? Make them specific! For each habit, we’ll give you some specific ideas to make it happen.

Live by the 2-minute rule

The concept? If you can get a task done in 2-minutes, do it right away! This could be things like doing dishes immediately after the meal is done, folding throw blankets when you get up to go to bed, or making your bed in the morning. These 2-minute tasks can pile up and lead to a lot of effort if you choose to wait and do them all at once – but they’re really no biggie! Plus, you get to benefit from a tidier space – a win/win.

Sample habit goals:

  • Leave no dirty dishes in the sink 6 of 7 nights each week
  • Make bed every morning
  • Wipe down kitchen counters 2 days each week

Pay bills on time

This is a habit that will literally pay you back! In your first apartment, there are plenty of different bills to pay each month, and it’s important to stay on top of them to avoid late fees and dings to your credit score. Take a few minutes to build a list of each payment due, when, and how much (Excel is a great tool for this list!). Refer to this list each month when you go to pay bills, or print a copy for your refrigerator so you’re consistently reminded!

* All costs are illustrative only.

Sample habit goals:

  • Pay rent and utilities on time 12 of 12 months
  • Schedule 15 minutes to review your bills and expenses each Saturday morning
  • Set up auto-pay for 2 payments

Be friendly with neighbors

When you’ve moved out or away from family and friends, meeting new people can be difficult! Consider taking the new year as an opportunity to get to know the people around you. Don’t count them out if they’re older or younger than you or if they have children or not, for instance. Great friends can be made in various scenarios!

Sample habit goals:

  • Wave or say hello when you pass a neighbor
  • Invite neighbors you’re friendly with to a party you’re hosting

Try something new

Take time to explore new hobbies that could bring you some joy in the new year! Maybe it’s a dedication to spend more time outside, pick up a new exercise routine like yoga, or try to start cooking more meals. Think about things you’ve always been interested in exploring… and go explore!

  • Plant 2 small potted plants (and keep them alive!)
  • Attend 3 yoga/Pilates/spin classes in the first quarter of 2019 – check your local YMCA for discounted classes too!
  • Cook 4 meals each week

Spend time with people you love

The new year is a great time to reflect on what’s truly important in your life – and friends and family tend to rise to the top! Make a commitment to yourself to spend more time with those people that mean so much to you… consider inviting them to hang in your apartment!

  • Host 2 dinner parties in the first 3 months of 2019
  • Spend three weekend days a month with friends or family
  • Plan at least one social activity each week

Save for your next place 

Finally, set a financial goal and habit for the start of the new year! Whether your first apartment is perfect (or not) – you will likely move eventually. Plan to save for the future in 2019!

  • Save every $5 bill you end up with in a jar for the year
  • Set a budget and schedule 15 minutes to review each month
  • Commit to cooking dinner at least 5 times a week to save money
  • Open a high-interest savings account

Quickly, these habits will become second-nature and you’ll be well on your way to an exciting and productive New Year. What other habits are top on your list? Leave them in the comments!

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Make It a Frugal February – 6 Tips to Recover After Holiday Splurges! https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/29973/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/02/29973/#respond Sun, 03 Feb 2019 15:00:16 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29973 If the holidays wrecked your budget, it’s time to catch up. Are you among the 57% of Americans who don’t have enough cash to pay a surprise $500 bill? Here are some of our best frugal living tips that will get your Frugal February started. Check your January bank and credit card statements Go through…

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If the holidays wrecked your budget, it’s time to catch up. Are you among the 57% of Americans who don’t have enough cash to pay a surprise $500 bill? Here are some of our best frugal living tips that will get your Frugal February started.

Check your January bank and credit card statements

Go through every charge and decide if you could live without that item for a month. We are talking music streaming, satellite radio in your car, gym that you rarely visit, subscriptions to beauty boxes, Netflix, Hulu, etc., really any services that you can live without for a month. (If you are lucky, after the month you might realize that you can cut the service off for good!) Just make sure you are not under contract before you cancel or suspend. More cord cutting tips  here.

Use what you have in your fridge and pantry

Organize your fridge and pantry and start using anything that is about to hit its expiry date.  You may be able to skip one weekly grocery run and the internet is full of recipes like these that helps you use up your pantry staples.

Price compare your cable and internet services

Many cable companies have been upgrading to 5G service and are offering good deals to new customers. If you are out of contract with your service, give all the competing services a call. Even if you end up staying with your current provider, they may price match or at least lower your bill.

Ask for lower credit card interest rate

If you carry a balance and have good credit, call your card company and ask for a lower rate. You have nothing to lose and nice savings to gain.

Watch out for Valentine’s Day!

A big splurge day is coming in on the 14th, with roses and gifts and fancy dinners out. Agree with your SO to go easy this year and use these 5 tips to plan for Valentine’s that will not break your bank.

Make it a month of Saturday nights at home

If your routine includes Saturday nights out with friends, it’s easy to spend $50 or more on food and drinks. That’s $200 over four weekends. See if you can’t convince your friends to take turns hosting simple, inexpensive dinner parties for the month. The Italians have a fancy name for those, Spaghettata. You make a big pot of pasta with a simple sauce, salad, bread and wine, add good conversation and it’s a party. Maybe end the evening with a Netflix movie or board games and count your savings.

What are your best money saving tips. Please share in the comments.

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Make Your Small Space Feel Bigger! https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/01/make-your-small-space-feel-huge/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/01/make-your-small-space-feel-huge/#respond Wed, 30 Jan 2019 13:00:21 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=28052 In your first apartment, cost likely takes precedence over square footage. Budget-friendly apartment hunters may settle on a small space they can afford… and that’s perfect! Once you’re in your small space, it’s time to get decorating. The great news is that with a little thought, you can make decisions that actually make your small…

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In your first apartment, cost likely takes precedence over square footage. Budget-friendly apartment hunters may settle on a small space they can afford… and that’s perfect! Once you’re in your small space, it’s time to get decorating. The great news is that with a little thought, you can make decisions that actually make your small space feel huge! (Or, at least bigger.)

Use light-colored paint

If you have the option to paint or select finishes in the apartment, go lighter! Dark colors make the space feel even smaller than it actually is. Light greys or blues or off-white colors are great, neutral options. If you can’t paint, consider hanging light-colored artwork or tapestries to brighten dark walls. You can also use rugs on dark floors to brighten and open your space even more!

Limit clutter & utilize organizational options

Nothing shrinks a space more than clutter everywhere! When you move in, take time to make space for your stuff so you are organized! Consider investing in organizational cubes or bins that can help you find a place for every little thing. Try not to leave throw blankets, dishes, shoes, and tech accessories laying around, and always tidy up before you go to bed each night (that keeps a mess manageable!). By having places to put everything, the clean-up process will be quick and easy.

If you start to feel that countertops or other surfaces are feeling cluttered, remove some items and find new homes for them! My kitchen countertops get cluttered quickly, so every few months I’ll re-assess what I need at arms-reach and what should get put into cabinets.

Choose furniture wisely

 

Your furniture selections can also make a small space feel smaller or larger! Choose pieces that don’t overpower your space – think of bed frames that are light colored or feature open space, find skinny desks or dressers, and limit the pieces you place in each room. Your space can feel cozy without feeling claustrophobic if you’re particular when shopping for furniture.

Go vertical

Use your vertical space. Whenever you can, move things off the floor to wall shelves, fold-down desks, hooks and racks. This will make your space look larger two ways: it will open up more floor space and it will draw your eye up.

Add mirrors

Finally, don’t forget the oldest trick of all for making a space look bigger – strategically placed mirrors! A tall mirror across from the window will reflect light while giving the illusion of more space. Inexpensive mirrors are available at all big box stores and if you are into DIY you can built yours a nice frame from hardware store supplies.

What tricks have you used to make your apartment feel larger than it really is?!

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MFA IRL: How Much Rent Can Olivia Afford? https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/01/mfa-irl-how-much-rent-can-olivia-afford/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/01/mfa-irl-how-much-rent-can-olivia-afford/#respond Sun, 27 Jan 2019 17:00:26 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29906 We are starting today a new series, MFA IRL or My First Apartment In Real Life, where we answer selected reader questions that were posted in the comments. You can also email your questions/comments to Editor@MyFirstApartment.com. Olivia, 23, moving out of her parents’ house later this year, asks: “How much rent can I afford?” Income:…

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We are starting today a new series, MFA IRL or My First Apartment In Real Life, where we answer selected reader questions that were posted in the comments. You can also email your questions/comments to Editor@MyFirstApartment.com.

Olivia, 23, moving out of her parents’ house later this year, asks: “How much rent can I afford?”

Income: $23.19 an hour, with occasional/optional overtime
Monthly bills:
Credit cards – paid off before move
Student loans: $400
Phone: $50
Car: $275

You can find Olivia’s full comment here.

MFA Answers:

First, congratulations on your new $23 an hour job! Consider yourself double lucky – you got a well-paying job and you are able to live at home for now.

You should be totally ready to move out by the end of the year and you can afford up to $1,000 a month in rent. (See below.)  In fact, depending on your location, a landlord may approve you (and push!) for an even higher rent, up to $1,200, but don’t fall into that trap. You have pretty high student and car loans to pay, so don’t stretch on rent.

Between now and your moving out date, start practicing living on your own. In addition to knocking off your credit card debt, see if you can save each month an amount equal to your estimated housing budget (rent/utilities), less what you pay now. At the minimum, you need to save 3 times your expected rent to cover your initial expenses, such as first month’s rent, security deposit, moving costs and some furniture.

While you are still living at home, learn to cook if you don’t know yet. Take-out and eating out will quickly blow a hole in your budget, so plan to put your new kitchen into good use. Make a housewarming wish list of kitchen items you’ll need to get started.

We have estimated your monthly budget with the listed expenses plus other bills apartment renters typically need to cover. You should double check all the numbers and run your own budget by downloading this worksheet. The budget does not include health insurance, assuming that you are covered by your parents’ plans. It also does not include a savings target. We recommend that you get into a habit of putting 10% of your take-home income into savings.  Start by earmarking any overtime pay for that purpose.

Good luck!

 

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Making the Best of Your Community Laundry https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/01/making-the-best-of-community-laundry/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2019/01/making-the-best-of-community-laundry/#respond Thu, 24 Jan 2019 17:00:36 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=29880 One chore that is pretty much impossible to escape? Laundry! At one point or another, you’ll run out of clothes and will be forced to face the task. Having to use a shared laundry facility adds difficulty to a chore that many aren’t interested in in the first place. Whether your laundry room is within…

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One chore that is pretty much impossible to escape? Laundry! At one point or another, you’ll run out of clothes and will be forced to face the task. Having to use a shared laundry facility adds difficulty to a chore that many aren’t interested in in the first place. Whether your laundry room is within your apartment building or at a laundromat down the street, check out these quick tips for making the most of your community laundry space.

Prepay when possible

In my last couple apartments, our building provided a prepaid laundry card that worked a bit like a debit card in each laundry machine. I would add funds to the card at a machine in the apartment building’s office then use it to pay for washers and dryers in their community laundry space. Whether you have that experience or need to bring cash and change to do your laundry, get your money together ahead of time!

Add funds to your prepaid card on your way home or while you’re already passing by the apartment office. Keep a cup full of quarters and loose cash easily accessible for when you need it. Be sure you don’t wait until the last minute to get your laundry money together – I promise, searching for quarters in the couch cushions is not fun!

Understand your laundry room rules

Check with your landlord or stop by the community laundry room to check on policies. Things to consider include:

  • What laundry detergent / softener are accepted? Which should not be used?
  • Can you leave clothes while they are washing, or must you stay in the laundry room?
  • What’s your apartment’s policy on clothes that are left behind?
  • How much does it cost to wash clothes? To dry them?
  • What facilities are available for folding or ironing clothing?

You don’t want to come in blind, especially during your first couple times of doing laundry in this new space.

Give yourself a schedule

Few things are worse than schlepping an overflowing laundry bin to your community laundry space – plus that adds risk of not having enough money available to complete multiple loads! Instead of waiting until you’re out of clean socks, set a laundry schedule for yourself.

Perhaps you plan to do laundry each Sunday morning, or Wednesday night after work. Pick a day and time that generally works with you and get that laundry done consistently! Bonus points if you find a time when the laundry room is used less and there is no wait for the machines!

Come prepared

Now, you’re ready to tackle community laundry with ease. Be sure to come prepared with your money (coins or otherwise) and a sturdy laundry basket that can withstand coming and going from your apartment.

You may also want to invest in a bag for your detergent, softener, or dryer sheets so you don’t have to juggle multiple items on your way in and out. To reduce weight, measure our the detergent into a ziploc bag before you leave and just bring that along!

Pro tip: Commercial front-loading washers require surprisingly small amounts of detergent. Make sure to measure carefully or you’ll be wasting money to run extra rinses to get the suds out.

Before loading your clothes in the washer and dryer, check to ensure it’s working by starting the cycle. Then, quickly add clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve loaded all of my clothes in the washer only to find that it was out of order! Also check that the machine is empty. You don’t want to discover that someone’s black sock ended up in your whites load.

Once you hit “start,” set a timer on your phone to remind you to come back and flip the laundry! Set it for a few minutes early to give you time to get back to the laundry room.

Make it fun

If you’re sticking around with your clothes, bring your favorite book, laptop to get some work done, or headphones to listen to music, podcasts or favorite book. Wear workout clothes and walk laps around the room or building. Plan to do laundry at the same time as your neighbor-friend and spend the time catching up. Laundry doesn’t have to be boring! Okay, that may be a stretch. But it doesn’t have to be a chore you dread.

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