Moving out is exciting–you have freedom! You have no curfew! No one’s bugging you to clean your room! It’s awesome, for sure. But it’s also quite a bit of work, time, and money to get a decent place you’ll feel comfortable, safe, and happy in. When you’re ready to kiss mom, dad, and free food goodbye, here’s everything you need to know.
Your rent should cost, at max, 1/3 of what you take home in pay each month (this means after taxes). If you make $2,500 a month after taxes, your rent should be no more than $833. You’re going to need the rest of your paycheck for other things. You know, like food.
It may be a good idea to set up separate accounts for rent and each of your utilities (if they’re not included in your actual rent – check your lease/contract to be sure). Check your bank’s website for online options – you can set it up to have money from your checking account automatically moved to these periodically, so you don’t have to worry about it when your mind is on other things (like the cute guy in 4B!).
Finding a cool pad
Scouring an apartment from long distance can be tricky, and you’ll have more luck the more time you give yourself to look (a two-month minimum is recommended). To help yourself remember to search online every day, set an alarm on your cell – you know you’re glued to it anyway! If you’re trolling Craigslist, be sure to ask for multiple photographs and references, and never sign a lease until you have actually seen the pad for yourself.
Location will be the biggest factor in determining your rent costs. Things to consider: Is it close to your school or job? Is there parking, or are you close to transportation? Once you figure those out, do a thorough inspection of the apartments themselves: Do the toilets flush? Is there heat/AC, or will you have to install your own? Is there a washer/dryer or nearby Laundromat?