Deciding how much apartment they can afford is one of the most important decisions a renter will have to make. This decision will help to determine a number of factors including the size and location of the potential apartment as well as the types of amenities offered. Those who are interested in renting an apartment will have to consider all of their current expenses in comparison to their monthly cash flow. They will also have to determine whether or not there are changes that they can make to their current budget to make a larger or more well situated apartment affordable.
Consider All of Your Expenses
When deciding how much apartment they can afford, renters should carefully consider all of their monthly expenses in relation to their monthly income. Expenses may include, but are not limited to, utilities such as gas, water and electric, telephone, cell phone, Internet services, cable television, car insurance, renter’s insurance, gas for car, cost of commuting to work, groceries, and other incidental charges. Subtracting these costs from the monthly income will give the renter a good idea of how much money they can afford to spend on rent each month. Renters might also consider subtracting an additional amount out of their monthly income to give them the opportunity to save some money each month.
Expenses to be considered should also include expenses for entertainment purposes such as dining in restaurants and going to movie theaters or cultural events. Even movie rentals should be considered in this category. Considering these expenses is necessary because otherwise the renter may not allot a portion of their budget for such purposes and may find themselves unable to participate in some previously enjoyed leisure activities. Alternately, they may go ahead and do these anyway and wonder why they are strapped at the end of the month.
Is There Room for Improvement?
When examining the monthly budget, renters should take the opportunity to determine whether or not there is room for improvement in their current financial situation. For example, a renter may find that they are able to minimize their monthly bills by obtaining their car insurance and renter's insurance from the same insurance carrier. The carrier may be willing to offer a discount to a customer who utilizes their services for more than one type of insurance. Likewise, there may be the opportunity to minimize expenses by bundling services such as telephone, Internet, and possibly even cable television.
Also, consider entertainment expenses as an opportunity for financial improvement. If a renter currently eats out in restaurants for dinner on both Friday and Saturday of every week, they could consider limiting these dining experiences to only one night a week or even only one night every other week. This can result in a significant cost savings which may enable the renter to afford a more expensive apartment.
Other areas where renters can sometimes cut expenses are on cell phone bills and cable television bills. Examine your cell phone bill carefully. If you are not using all of your minutes each month, it might be worthwhile to switch to a plan with fewer minutes. This would lower your monthly bill without causing you to make any sacrifices. Another area where sacrificing might contribute to more monthly cash flow is with cable television. Renters who pay higher fees for premium channels can consider eliminating these channels. All of these small changes to monthly spending can contribute to the renter being able to afford a more expensive apartment which may be larger or in a better location than the apartment they would be able to afford without making changes.
Is There a Need for Improvement?
Although trimming superfluous expenses is always a good financial strategy, renters should determine if this is necessary in terms of their rental situation before making drastic changes. Once a renter has established the amount of money they can afford to spend in rent, they can start to look for available apartments in that price range. If the renter is happy with the choices available to them at this time, there may not be a need to make immediate financial adjustments. However, if the renter is not happy with the options available, financial changes and stricter budgeting are warranted.