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Can I Afford to Move Out? The Do’s & Don’ts of Renting Your First Apartment

Posted on September 11, 2020 by Jake Ward

You’re getting ready to make the jump from college housing or your parents’ to your first official place. Apartment shopping gives you a rush of excitement – and a dose of reality.  Rent, utilities, furniture? Where to begin?

R.I.A. Federal Credit Union is here to help you make the jump as confidently as possible.

Setting Goals.

First off, do you have anything in savings? If not, now’s the time to start getting serious about budgeting. Make a goal for yourself, “By spring, I want to move out.” Shop around and look at the cost of rent in your area. Can you go it alone? Or will you need a roommate (or two). Can you buy a new couch, or will you be getting a hand-me-down? Consider things like the cost of utilities and extras like paying for a parking garage. It all adds up quickly. The sooner you have a small nest egg, the better.

“There are multiple R.I.A. Federal Credit Union products to help with this major life transition, including our Smart Checking Account,” says Chelsea Bagley, NMLS #1824546, Moline Branch Manager. “ Also, our X-tra Kash Account is a great place to start when you begin to set aside money to eventually move out. You’ll earn dividends on your account as you save.” 

Reality Check.

Make sure you have one month’s worth of bills set aside and be practical about your options,” says Chelsea. “Experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your gross monthly income on your rent payment. But, if this seems overwhelming try to find a roommate, or opt to live in a less expensive part of town.”

In addition to saving for rent, you’ll also need to calculate and plan for additional costs if you’re moving to a new town – things like paying for a U-Haul or moving truck. And don’t forget your rental deposit and possible application fees.

Do you have a student or car loan? Or credit card bills? Take a critical look at what you already owe, and what your creature comforts are.  You may have to give up your daily coffee run or lunch out to make ends meet. With no college cafeteria or mom’s full fridge, you’ll also need to calculate grocery bills.

So, after all of this, will you be able to get to the fun part – like decorating or streaming your favorite shows on a new TV? If you budget wisely – yes! Making your new apartment feel like home is the best part of budgeting – and spending.

Ready to make the jump? Call your neighborhood R.I.A. Federal Credit Union to open a Smart Checking Account or X-tra Kash Account and start saving!