A new apartment provides a sense of freedom and a new start. With that said, apartments come with a number of expenses. Before moving into a new apartment, it is important to understand the expenses associated with the move and the monthly bills. We will cover the major expenses when moving into an apartment to help you prepare yourself for the next stage in your life and establish a first apartment budget.
Expenses when Moving into an Apartment
Expense #1: Security Deposit
One of the major expenses associated with moving into a new apartment is the security deposit.What is a security deposit for an apartment? A security deposit is a payment made by a new tenant to the leasing company or owner of a building before they move-in. If the apartment experiences damage while the tenant lives there, the cost of repairing the damage will come out of the security deposit. The leasing company may also take out money for cleaning expenses if the tenant leaves the apartment in disarray when they leave. If the tenant exits with the apartment in perfect condition, they will get the security deposit back. Learn more on how to get a security deposit back here.
Do not forget to take pictures of your apartment when you move-in to have proof of existing damage. Be as thorough as possible. Keep all pictures saved on your computer and backed up online with dates. Hopefully, you won’t have a disagreement with your landlord when it is time to leave, but you will be happy you have the proof if things go awry.
On average, security deposits equate to one month’s rent to a month and a half’s worth of rent. Some landlords will insist on first and last month’s rent at the time the tenant pays the security deposit as well, i.e. apartment move-in fees. For a one bedroom apartment that costs $1,000 a month, that can add up to over $3,000 just to move-in.
You may need to save up more money in order to meet your financial goals before you move into a new place. Get extra cash by asking for extra hours at work or working a side gig.
Costs Associated with Pets
If you have a pet, there may be an additional charge for the pet. Sometimes, the pet charge will be an extra non-refundable pet fee. Other times, the additional charge will be added to the security deposit. Clarify how pet fees will be handled at the end of the lease before you sign. At Cass Lake Front Apartments, we make everything clear and transparent. Read a copy of our apartment pet policy online.
Credit Score and Your Security Deposit
It can save you money in the long run to work on your credit score before moving. In many cases, a landlord may charge a higher security deposit if the tenant has a low credit score (see what credit score you need to rent an apartment).
To improve your credit score, you should make payments on credit cards on time. You should also take care of any delinquent accounts that went to collections. Get a jump on your credit score as early as possible, as it takes 3-6 months for new financial habits to positively impact your credit score.
Expense #2: Moving Expenses
After you pay the security deposit, you will need to move your items into your new apartment.
In order to move large items, such as your bed and dresser, you will need to rent a truck. You will also need to hire professional movers to help you with heavy items.
Costs for professional moving services may surprise you. The average cost to move two people comes to $1,200. The cost will depend on a number of different variables, including how many items you plan to move, the distance between the two locations (it costs more for international moving household goods), and the weight of the items. We suggest expecting to pay a significant amount and getting estimates before you sign the lease. Checkout these tips for moving into an apartment.
You can cut costs if you do as much of the work yourself as possible. Move small boxes yourself in your car. If you have friends or family who are willing to help, that can add to the savings. Of course, you will have to step up the next time they ask you to help them move.
Furnishing Your Home
You probably do not have everything you need for your apartment off the bat, especially if you are moving into your first apartment or need to replace a lot of items. You will need to pay for all furniture and household goods you don’t have, including any delivery fees included in the purchase.
The basic furniture you should have for a one bedroom apartment includes:
- Television stand
- Coffee table
- Dining table
- Discount Cabinets
Learn how much it costs to furnish an apartment here.
You will also need household items to ensure your apartment is functional. Some of the things you want to buy include:
- Storage containers
- Area rugs
- Air fresheners
- Shower curtain
- First aid kit
- Extra light bulbs
- Scotch tape
- Garbage can
- Garbage bags
- Pots and pans
Finally, you will need to get items for the kitchen, such as a microwave, toaster, blender, coffee machine, and air fryer.
Saving Money on Furnishing Your Home
You can still make your apartment feel like a home without spending a lot of money by accepting furniture from your family and making your own artwork. You can also find used items for sale at thrift shops and on online marketplaces.
Expense #3: Rent
Naturally, rent is one of the most important aspects of moving into an apartment.
Before you pick an apartment, you should examine your income. Rent should make up 30% of your income. Any more than 30%, and you risk falling behind on your bills. Therefore, if you make $3,000 a month, you should find an apartment for no more than $1,000 a month.
Be sure to clarify what is included with the rent. Sometimes, the rent only covers the ability to stay in the apartment. Other times, the rent also includes things like garbage pickup, water, electricity, gas, internet, and other utilities. The rent may also include access to laundry facilities, a fitness center, and common areas. Checkout the top five apartments in Oakland County with utilities included here.
After you establish a rent that you feel comfortable with, your apartment search begins. Start by determining your favorite neighborhoods. Next, establish how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Finally, consider the amenities you want and the type of community you want to live in. Compare costs, but prioritize value over cheap. Here are some of the top websites to search apartments for rent online.
Do not forget that you will likely pay an application fee for each apartment you like. The application fee covers the cost of a credit check and criminal background check. Most apartments clarify their requirements upfront. Do not waste money applying at a place if you don’t meet the prerequisites, as you will lose the application fee.
Once you sign the lease agreement, you will be responsible for the rent for the duration of the lease. Be wary of rent increases after your lease expires. Learn when your landlord can increase rent here.
Expense #4: Living Expenses
You will have to consider your monthly expenses outside of rent to arrange a reasonable apartment budget. To make things as easy as possible, consider using budgeting apps to help keep you on track.
Some of the additional expenses you will need to consider include:
Food costs money. You can save money by buying groceries more often than eating out. For example, you can bring sandwiches and chips to work for lunch. You can also make coffee at home or drink coffee at work instead of buying expensive coffee every day. Of course, you will need to spend money eating out from time to time for special occasions and professional networking. Plan your apartment budget accordingly.
In order to cook, you will need to set yourself up properly with the following items:
- Aluminum foil
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Ice trays
- Ziplock bags
Cleaning supplies will be an upfront expense at first, but regular cleaning will save you time and money later. Set up a regular apartment maintenance program to keep you on track. A clean apartment will save you money that may otherwise be taken out of your security deposit.
Some cleaning supplies you will need include:
- All-purpose cleaner
- Bathroom cleaner
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- Laundry basket
- Laundry detergent
- Fabric softener
- Toilet scrubber
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
Do not forget personal care items, such as razors, hair care, brushes, moisturizer, and skin care products.
Utilities, such as water, gas, and electricity do not always come with the apartment. Learn average costs and requirements according to the local utility companies. You may need to put down a deposit if you don’t have great credit.
Depending on the apartment complex, you may have options on what companies you can use for utilities. Other apartment complexes work with one specific company to keep things simple throughout the building.
You can save on a gas bill if you stick to apartments with all-electric appliances. Of course, that will increase your electricity bill. Learn more on how to keep utility bills low in an apartment here.
Cable/Streaming Services and Internet
Most people enjoy unwinding with some TV at the end of a long day. For that reason, most people purchase cable. Streaming services tend to be less expensive than cable, but they may not provide live services or offer all of the channels you want to watch.
Most households also rely on the internet to support streaming services and for professional/personal communications. Bundle internet and cable together to get the best deal possible.
Do not forget to schedule your hookup with the cable company well before your move-in date! Otherwise, you may have to wait.
In some cases, an apartment complex may offer WiFi in a community business center. Some apartments may even include internet access for all tenants included in the rent.
You need to go out from time to time. Entertainment expenses include going out to the bar and vacations. This is generally one of the easiest expenses to reduce when you need to save up for something or stay within your apartment budget. Instead of going on an expensive vacation, you can visit a nearby lake or campsite. You can also invite people to your home instead of going to expensive bars and clubs (adhering to apartment rules regarding quiet hours and guests, of course).
Your budget should include your future financial goals. You need an emergency savings account in case you run into a car problem or get unexpectedly let go by your employer. You will also need a separate savings account for long-term goals and retirement. Ideally, your company offers a competitive 401k. If not, you will need to contribute to your own retirement account. It is never too late to start saving for retirement. Get started now!
Expense #5: Renter’s Insurance
In your own apartment, you will need to consider renter’s insurance. Some management companies require tenants to get renter’s insurance. Others leave renters insurance up to the tenant.
The owner of the building has property insurance. That insurance will cover damage to the building according to the policy. However, the insurance will not cover any of the tenant’s personal property.
If a flood damages your electronics and you do not have renter’s insurance, you will be responsible for replacing the damaged items out of your own pocket.
Renter’s insurance will replace any damaged items you claim on your policy in the case of an accident. The insurance will only cover items claimed on the insurance, so be sure to claim all electronics. Furthermore, you should claim any jewelry or expensive items you own. Items with sentimental value can not be adequately insured, so do your best to protect them in the case of a fire or flood outside of insurance, such as keeping your invaluable items in a safe. Find out if everyone in an apartment needs renters insurance here.
Expense #6: Parking/Transportation
Most Michigan residents travel 13 miles to work each day. People in Cass Lake Front Apartments may drive even more if they commute to cities like Detroit. However, they may have a shorter commute if they work in town.
Consider your commute to work every day. You will need to ensure you set aside enough money for gas if you drive. To help everyone save money, ask people at work if they live near you. You can carpool to save money and stay green.
Many people opt for public transportation to get to work every day. While less expensive than gas (especially with prices these days), you will still need to budget accordingly.
You do not only commute to and from work. Account for personal transportation to complete errands and to see loved ones. If the transportation costs are truly getting you down, don’t forget to utilize the phone and video call options.
Your apartment complex may offer a parking space. They may also include visitor parking with passes. However, some apartment complexes don’t offer parking. You will then have to rely on street parking. Depending on the city, you may need a sticker to park on the street.
Moving into Cass Lake Front Apartments
Cass Lake Front Apartments offers everything you can possibly want living in Southeast Michigan.
We have one bedroom and two bedroom apartment layouts available. You will have access to the community amenities, including access to nearby Cass Lake and views of the lake from the premises.
Whether you rent regularly or plan to move into your first apartment, we can help!