Rent Calculator:

How Much Should I Spend on Rent?

Let us know where you’re looking, your income and your monthly expenses. Then, we’ll help you determine the right rent price for your budget and lifestyle.

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Frequently asked questions

A general guideline is to spend up to 30% of your gross income on rent. So, if you make $60,000 per year ($5,000 per month), you should be paying a maximum of $1,500 per month for rent.

However, while the 30% rule is a popular guideline for how much of your income you should spend on rent, you should also consider your lifestyle and any debts or financial obligations you have to pay off each month. If you have student loans to pay off, you may want to keep your rent closer to 15–20% of your income to account for the additional monthly costs.

Additional methods used to calculate if you can afford rent include the 50-30-20 rule and the ⅓ of net income rule.

The 50-30-20 rule states that you should spend 50% of your after-tax income on needs (including rent, food and utilities), 30% on wants and 20% on savings. With this rule, you can afford a higher rent if you carefully determine the rest of your budget.

The ⅓ of net income rule follows the idea that you should spend no more than 33% of your post-tax salary on rent each month. If you make $5,000 per month ($60,000 per year) and take home $3,750 per month after taxes, this rule states that you should spend no more than $1,238 on rent.

If you make $50,000 per year, your rent should be no more than $1,250 per month using the 30% rule or $1,111 using the ⅓ of net income rule. Using the 50-30-20 rule, your rent, food and other needs should cost no more than $1,667 total. As a ballpark average, you can afford rent of around $1,200 per month on a $50,000 salary.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and has not been adjusted since July 2009. While some states abide by a higher minimum wage, there are 22 states that default to the federal minimum wage. At a rate of 2,080 hours per year, this would bring your total annual income to $15,080, meaning you could afford up to $377 in rent with the 30% rule.

While average rent in the U.S. varies greatly by region, the national average rent in 2020 was:

  • Studio apartment: $1,691
  • 1-bedroom apartment: $1,621
  • 2-bedroom apartment: $1,878
  • 3-bedroom apartment: $2,017

Many people choose to live with roommates to save money on rent. Nearly 32% of adult renters live in a shared household to save on rent costs. However, if you choose to live with roommates, it’s important to be clear on how much rent each roommate will be paying.

Splitting rent or bills with roommates is an important topic to discuss before moving in together. Here are a few ways to determine how much rent each roommate will pay.

  • Even split: An even split is perhaps the easiest way to determine rent splitting, but it’s important to make sure all roommates are satisfied with the agreement since it might mean some roommates get better living spaces than others.
  • Split by income: When splitting by income, roommates use their salaries as a basis to determine what they can afford. This would be determined by dividing each roommate’s personal income by the sum of everyone’s income to determine the percent of rent each person pays.
  • Split by square foot: Splitting by square foot is an unambiguous way to determine how much rent each roommate would pay. To split by square foot, calculate the square footage of each roommate’s personal areas (including bedrooms, bathrooms and closets) and divide this by the total square footage.

Splitting rent with a couple can be a tricky situation to navigate. Since the couple shares one room, splitting by square footage would mean the single roommate ends up paying a much larger share of the rent.

A good way to determine how to split rent with a couple is to use the “perks” approach. Starting with a number in the 60-40 range (60 total for the couple, 40 for the single person), you can bargain up or down based on the perks each roommate receives.

For example, if the couple has an ensuite bathroom, you can bump that number to 65-35. Since rent splitting with the “perks” method is a little more ambiguous, it’s important to do periodic check-ins to make sure each roommate feels they are paying a fair share of the rent.

Disclaimer: This calculator displays an approximation of how much rent you can afford based on your location, income and debt. Real numbers may vary based on your lifestyle and fixed expenses.