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Money Matters Blog

Monday, May 12, 2014

Best Apartment for Your Budget

Searching for an apartment can be overwhelming, and trying to find a nice place to call home while sticking to a budget can get tricky. Before you begin your search, consider these tips for determining how much your apartment will really cost you and how to find the best place without going broke:

Do your homework.
Before you even begin your apartment search, make a list of everything you are looking for in an apartment. This way you’ll know what questions to ask the landlord while you’re checking the place out. The next assignment is researching your prospective area. Know the average rent prices so you know what to expect. You might find that the next town or neighborhood just a few minutes away has significantly lower rent.

Consider the amenities.
Many apartments offer amenities that could end up saving you money. For example, an on-site gym can save you hundreds per year on a pricey gym membership. A business center can save you the cost of paying for Internet, a printer, ink, and paper. Some apartment communities offer discounts at local businesses, free events for residents, and much more.

Know all of the costs.
While your apartment’s amenities may help you save, the extra costs can do some damage. First, know what utilities are included, if any. If they aren’t, ask your landlord what the average price is for a unit your size so you can determine what your monthly bill will be. Parking may also become an expense, especially if you’re moving to a large city.

Factor in location.
The location you choose for your apartment can severely affect your cost of living. For starters, how close are you to your job? If you are choosing to live further away, you’ll have to include the costs of gas and transportation. If that’s the case, you might choose an apartment near public transportation to save on commuting. How close are you to affordable activities and entertainment?

Consider downsizing.
When I rented my first apartment, I opted for a second bedroom because I thought I’d really need the extra space. I soon realized that while it was great for occasional company, it was not worth the extra money each month. I much would have rather had a little smaller space but an extra $200 a month to save or go out and have fun around my area.

Look for a deal.
Before you sign the lease, look for a deal. Rental websites like and often offer move-in deals if you say you found that apartment through their website. They may waive your first month’s rent, give $100, or even throw in a new TV.

Compare many different apartments during your search to see what’s out there and to see what various places offer. While rent may be cheaper at one place, once you factor in these above issues, it may not be the best place after all. Be flexible, but also be sure you’re getting what you want so you’ll be happy in your new home.

Photo credit ryarwood via cc.

By Kristen Kuchar Copyright 2014 brass Media, Inc.

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