Set Up An Online Account
The first thing that you need to do is forget about the traditional way of saving. You need to take advantage of tech in order to maximize your efforts. Digit is a service that can help you do that and it is free for 30 days when you sign up for Digit here.
Digit is an online saving service that will help you automate savings, set goals and will even give you a bonus from time to time just for saving.
Once you have your online savings account setup, you can determine how much you need to save and then look into freeing up some extra money to put in it.
How Much Do You Need To Save
If you do not have an accurate goal, you are limiting your ability to save for an apartment. Let’s take a little time and determine how much you need to save. Assuming that you will be renting an apartment and not buying a condo, here are a few expenses that you need to plan for.
Obviously you will need rent money but just how much. This will depend on who you rent your apartment from. If it is from an individual, you might need first and last months rent. If you are renting from an apartment complex, you may only need to come up with the first months rent.
Beyond the initial rent payment, you should also save up several months of rent, just in case. Your first apartment is a life changer and you do not want to go into it stressed for money.
So, just to be safe, you should set your goal at 4 months of rent to cover your initial move and backup money.
Deposits are another big expense in the move in process. This can be as little as a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It just depends on who you will be renting from and the expense of the apartment. The nicer it is, generally the more you will need to put down.
If you plan on pets, also consider the pet deposit which will typically be around $500.
Finally, do not forget about utility deposits. Most utilities will want a few hundred dollars for a deposit in order to get things started. You will have the power company, internet service and possibly gas and water utilities.
Overall, your deposits could easily run you 1500 dollars or more.
Furniture & Accessories
Assuming that you are just starting out, you probably have nothing more than a bed and a television to get you started.
The best choice here will be used but even then, you could need to shell out $500 to $1000 to get yourself fully equipped.
After your furniture, you also have a bunch of little expenses that will quickly add up. You need dishes, cookware, utensils, towels, cleaning supplies, etc, etc. Think about all of the little things that you use every day at home. You have to buy all of this stuff.
Add It Up
Everyone magic number will be a bit different, but it will probably be substantial. Sure, you could try to move on a shoestring budget but, if you have the time to save, do it right.
Increasing Your Savings
Once you have your magic number of how much you need to save up for an apartment, let’s look at some ways to boost your savings. Your online Digit account will help you out here but you can go beyond that by making some cost cuts and income improvement. Here are some areas to look at.
Cut Your Food Expense
This is one of the most variable expenses that we have. If you are saving up for an apartment, you are probably living at home which means that many of your meals are free of charge. That does not mean that you have no food expense though.
What do you eat at lunch? If it is fast food, you could be spending up to $10 a day on a meal. That is $200 a month and that is an expense that adds up.
Instead of wasting that money on greasy fast food, bring your lunch to work. For about a dollar a day, you can have a much healthier meal and you will be one step closer to that apartment.
Save On Entertainment
This is another area where you may have to make some cuts to supercharge that saving attempt. Saving on entertainment can mean a lot of things.
It could mean skipping that weekly movie matinee in favor of a dollar theater. It could mean not going to a few concerts or maybe even skipping on some digital downloads.
Sure, you still need to have some fun but every time you reach for your debit card, consider how the money that you are about to spend could get you into your apartment sooner.
Increase Your Income
Your young and capable, so there is no reason that you should be working just 40 hours a week right now.
Luckily, you have a lot of ways to make extra money on the side, especially if you have a good vehicle.
One of the easiest is to drive for Lyft and make a cool $25 an hour. Pick up just a short four hour shift and walk away with 100 dollars towards your savings each and every time.
Beyond driving for extra money, you can also pick up shifts at your current job, get a job stocking shelves at night or even cut lawns on the weekend. Whatever you can do to save an extra buck will get you into that apartment far sooner.