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Moving into a New Apartment: Keep Start-Up Costs Down

October 14, 2011 | Apartment Hunting, Moving Tips

Deciding to rent a new place is no small decision. So before you take the plunge, make sure to ask yourself one very important question: Can I afford the start-up costs? Regardless of your answer, we’ve put together some helpful ways to save money when moving so that your dream rental property can become a reality!

Roommate or No Roommate?

Bottom line: living alone is expensive. You’re responsible for covering the full rent, all utilities bills and money for furnishing your place all by yourself. Sometimes deciding if you want to find a roommate is more of a question of “do I need to find a roommate?” Not only does a roommate serve as a nice companion to come home to everyday, but a roommate also reduces the cost of many expenses! In addition to the monthly payments, roommates also help to reduce costs such as lease application fees, down payments and security deposits.

Picking a Price-Range

Once you’ve decided on the roommate situation, the price discussion comes next. When debating on how much to spend each month, the most important rule to keep in mind is: Be honest with yourself! Take a look at your income and map out what qualifies as an affordable apartment given your budget. In addition to the monthly rental rate and security deposit, it’s also important to factor in monthly expenses such as utilities, cable, groceries and transportation costs. From here, set a price-range for how much you’re willing to spend on rent each month, and commit to not exceeding your limit. Luxury apartments typically have higher start-up costs, so having that limit will allow you to keep that overall number down.

Moving Your Stuff

The lease has been signed, security deposits paid, and you’re ready to move in! Well, almost. If you find yourself having to move your furniture and belongings from another location, think about your options before you throw down the money to hire professional movers. Renting a truck or van and moving your furniture yourself may be a much cheaper alternative (and if you have the family/friends to help you out, could be a fun adventure!). Self-service rental truck companies such as U-Haul have locations all over the country and offer affordable rates for daily rentals of their equipment. Just remember to thank your friends and family who help with the move!

Furnishing Your Apartment

Spending money on furniture can add up quickly. However, if you devote a little extra time to searching, there are many ways to circumvent investing thousands of dollars on new items. One path you can take is asking around. Put the word out to people you know through word-of-mouth, email and social media channels. Friends or even friends-of-friends will usually sell you their used furniture for a fraction of the original cost, if they’re trying to get rid of it themselves. Renting your furniture could also be a money-saving option to look into if you plan to only live in the apartment for one year a shorter amount of time. Lastly, don’t be afraid to refurbish! If you find a piece of furniture at a yard sale or second-hand store, don’t pass on it because of looks alone. New upholstery or a fresh coat of paint can do wonders!

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