Affording Urban Living: Tips for Paying off Your First Apartment

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  • Time spent managing the financial obligations associated with renting an apartment may not be exactly how you envision spending your leisure time, but having a good understanding of the costs involved in getting you into your first digs will go a long way toward making life on your own possible. The following financial tips are aimed at helping you afford the costs of your first apartment and will give you the budgeting skills needed to get in the door.

    Bank Your Tax Refund Checks

    If you get a decent income tax refund each year, and if time permits, you can use those checks to bankroll your first apartment. Just open a separate bank account into which you can deposit these checks. It’s a pain-free way to save up for your future.

    Looks into other ways of financing as well. Mortgage lenders in Austin are often good resources for finding an appropriate home mortgage loan you will be able to pay off quickly. Discuss how much you are willing to put into a loan and what your options are for paying it off as well.

    Look For Free and Inexpensive Furniture

    The online classifieds, flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales are your best bet for finding free and very inexpensive tables, chairs, and whatever else you need to set up housekeeping. The less you spend on furnishings, the easier it will be to save up the cash you need for your big move. Sometimes people leave perfectly good furniture behind when they vacate apartments. The trick is to be smart and develop good connections with people who manage rental properties where abandoned furniture accumulates.

    Sell Your Car

    One effective way of raising cash to afford a new apartment is one that folks rarely consider. Try swapping out of an expensive car (or car loan), and into a less expensive option. If you have a new car and a financing package to go with it, you can save up to several hundred dollars per month by trading a new car in for a used car that is fully paid-for. The savings can build up fast, and when you finally move in, you can trade up again.

    Budget for Utilities and Miscellaneous Costs

    In addition to rent, security deposits, and other fees, you and your roommates will also need money to set up gas, electricity, water, internet, and possibly parking. Long before you move out of your current place, you should arrange to sell everything you no longer need, and use the cash raised to fund the costs of turning on your utilities.

    Opinions vary as to the minimum amount of cash you need to save up before being ready for independent living, but one thing is for sure: it’s surprising how fast things add up. It’s impossible to state with clarity the appropriate amount you might need for an emergency or "rainy day" fund, so it’s often better to have a good cushion ready. Like many of life’s lessons, the right way to save up for that first apartment is something you will learn best by actually going through it.

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