How Much Money Do You Need to Rent Your First Apartment?

House In Hands Of BusinessmanMoving into your own place is a new adventure. You are in charge of your day, what furniture you have, and you’re finally on your own. But, before you start hunting for your own place, you need to consider the finances. The rental market is pretty tight, and vacancies aren’t as high as they used to be. That means you’ll need to start saving, especially if you want a prime spot downtown.

Get Your Income Straight

You need a steady income if you want to get your own apartment. This isn’t just for your benefit, but most apartment managers require proof of a steady income before they will even give you the apartment. You not only need to have a constant flow of cash, but you need to make sure you have enough left over after rent to pay for other things. The best way to tell how much rent you can afford each month is to take your monthly income and divide it by three. The result is how much, maximum, you can pay each month in rent. So, if you make $1,000 per month, you don’t want a rental payment over $333 per month.

Remember the Security Deposit

Most apartments require a security deposit to hold the apartment and prove you’re capable of paying the rent. Some have a fixed fee, such as $500, while others charge first and last month’s rent. Contact some of the apartment complexes you’re considering and see how much they want for a security deposit. In some cases you might need your first and last month’s rent, plus a security deposit. And, all of that is due the day you want to sign the lease.

Moving Costs

Most people forget about the moving costs. But, it is likely you will need a moving truck or you need to hire a full-service mover. Start pricing these services. If you are going to rent a moving truck, expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $200 for a local rental. If you are thinking of hiring a full-service mover, you could pay a few thousand dollars.


Unless you have lived on your own before, you are going to need to purchase some furniture for the new space. This might include dining room chairs and table, couches or even a new bed. Price out the items you need and start saving. While you don’t have to buy them before you move, it wouldn’t be fun to have your own space without a couch.


Some utilities require you to pay a month ahead – such as internet and cable. So you will want to save for these expenses before you move. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 per month depending on everything you add.

So How Much Should You Save?

  • Your First and Last Month’s Rent
  • Your Security Deposit
  • Furniture
  • Moving Costs
  • Utility Deposits
Apr 2014