How to Budget for an Apartment

By Amy Wood in Moving, in Evaluating Apartments, in renting an apartment
New Jersey Apartment  Budget

21

January
12 hours ago

Are you planning a move to an apartment in Central New Jersey this year? Although your monthly rent payment is an important consideration, you’ll also need to consider a few other factors when creating your budget. Here are few things to think about before you make your move:

Rent 

Rents can vary significantly, even in the same town, based on an apartment’s location, age and amenities. Although a low-cost rental may be good for your budget, you may face unending maintenance issues if the building is poorly maintained. Of course, renting a very high-end apartment that strains your budget may not be such a good idea either. Should you face any unexpected expenses during the year, it may be difficult to pay your rent. Experts recommend spending no more than 30 percent of your monthly income on rent.

Fees 

Will you need to pay a deposit and first and last month’s rent when you sign a lease? Are there pet deposits or monthly or one-time fees for amenities, such as garage parking, extra storage or use of the fitness facility? Will you need to pay an application fee to apply for a rental unit?

Utilities 

If utilities aren’t included in your rent, you’ll need to determine how much you can expect to pay for electric, gas, water, cable, internet and cell phone service. Apartment List recommends multiplying your monthly rent by 20 percent to get an estimate of your utility costs. In some areas, a deposit may be required to start utility service. Don’t forget to consider the cost of streaming services and subscriptions too.

Renter's Insurance 

Your landlord’s insurance policy covers damage to the apartment and building but doesn’t protect your belongings. A renter’s insurance will provide liability insurance and ensure that you can replace your things if they’re damaged by a fire, hurricane, flood or another disaster. Nerd Wallet notes that the average renter’s insurance policy costs $168 per year.

Furnishings

Chances are you may want to buy a few pieces of furniture or accessories for your new apartment. A virtual window shopping trip can give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay for a couch, dining table, bed, artwork, bedding, curtains and other furnishings. Be sure to consider delivery costs if you need to buy large pieces of furniture.

Groceries, Entertainment and Other Expenses

Groceries can take a bite out of your budget. Do you know how much you spend on food and entertainment every month? If not, now is the perfect time to start a spreadsheet or download a budgeting app to keep track of your expenses. Car loans, student loans, credit card bills and other expenses must also be considered when deciding how much rent you can afford.

Moving Expenses

Don’t forget about moving expenses when creating your apartment budget. The average national moving cost is $1,366, according to Home Advisor. Of course, your actual cost will depend on the amount of furniture and belongings to be moved and the distance of your move. Even if you handle the move yourself, you’ll need to consider the cost of a rental truck and boxes.

Transportation

Depending on where you move, you may be closer or farther away from work, shopping and family and friends. Don’t forget to include monthly gas costs for your vehicle in your budget. If you’ll be taking the train or bus to work, find out how much monthly passes cost.

Storage

If you’ll be downsizing or moving into an apartment with a roommate, you may not have enough room for all of your belongings. Luckily, some apartment communities, like Fairway 28, rent storage units. If your community doesn’t provide storage units, you’ll need to look into the cost of renting a unit at a nearby storage location.

Temporary Accommodations

Will you need somewhere to stay if you must leave your current home or apartment before you can move into your new place? If staying with friends or family members isn’t an option, you’ll need to budget for a hotel or Airbnb stay. In some cases, it may be possible to move into your new apartment a few days early for an extra fee. If you anticipate that you’ll need a place to stay, ask the leasing agent if this may be possible.

Have you been looking for a comfortable, modern apartment with plenty of amenities? Take a look at the Country Classics rental communities in Bridgewater, and Somerset, NJ or plan ahead for a move to our future community in Frenchtown. Contact us for information about current availability.

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Amy Wood

Vice President of Operations at Country Classics

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