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First Apartment Tips: Renting and Utilities

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first apartment tips

First Apartment Tips

Renting your first apartment can be a fun, exciting rite of passage for many people, but there are a few first apartment tips to keep in mind in order to avoid unexpected budgeting problems. Although the biggest expense will more than likely be rent, other expenses can also add up quickly.

Your Apartments Utilities

When renting your 1st apartment, it is easy to focus on the cost of rent as the only expense you must address, but the fact is that utility costs can sometimes be even more expensive than rent. Electricity, gas, oil, water, and trash pick-up are often not included in the rent payment, and must be paid by the tenant. Utility rates will vary depending on where you live and how large the apartment is, but in most cases, you can plan to spend between $50 and $100 on electricity. Natural gas or oil will also vary, depending on where you live, but may cost as much as $50 per month. Water averages around $10 to $30, while trash pick-up could be as high as $40 per month. The best first apartment tip is to budget for the higher amounts to be sure you can pay for these essential utilities

Your Apartments Non-Essential Utilities

Everyone loves to have cable and Internet services, but keep in mind that these utilities can be very expensive. The average cable bill runs between $50 and $100 per month, and could be higher if it includes high-speed Internet service. One first apartment tip is to discuss your needs with the cable and Internet service provider before signing up for the service to be sure you don’t choose options you don’t need. This will help you keep your budget in line and you will only pay for the services you absolutely need.

Other Tips

There are other tips to be mindful of when renting your first apartment and knowing when and how to use them could aid you in successfully keeping your costs down while helping you to find a great new home. The key is to allow yourself to remain receptive to information while taking in the bigger picture. There are a number of things that may have a future cost and by factoring those in with your other decisions, you’ll also be able to secure yourself a better experience overall.

Call Before The Visit

Even before signing a lease on your 1st apartment, you can begin saving yourself some money by calling in ahead of time. The reason for this is that the second you step into an apartment, the agent may try and offer you a wide variety of features or utility plans that, although impressive, will cost you more each month. If you are unable to keep up with the all of the rates and plans being offered, you could quickly lose track of the flat fees. If that’s the case, you’ll likely either feel like an apartment is out of your price range or end up paying more than you have to for your new home. One tip that could hel would be to call before the visit. That pre-visit call will give you base numbers to compare against prices listed online and the ones you see from your visit.

Have A Bulletproof Budget

When it comes to utilities, sometimes our usage exceeds our expectations. In those moments, it is critical to have properly budgeted in order to be able to make the appropriate payment. Early on, it may be difficult to make the estimates of how much we consume and giving yourself some leeway will pay off in more ways than one. Not only will you be able to handle your financial responsibilities but a budget may give you the basis for playing around a bit and devising new ways in which to save on utilities.

Service Bundles

Another first apartment tip to keep in mind is that many utilities come in service bundles that can help you save money. Not only does this allow apartments to be more competitive, it ensures you at least some added savings when it comes time to pay your monthly expenses. In addition, other services including phone and internet may be able to be bundled allowing you access to high speed fiber optics and premium channels for prices within your range. Especially for those looking to stretch some dollars, bundling is a great way to get exceptional features affordably.

Get A Roommate to split the apartment rent

If possible, get a roommate to share expenses and be sure to implement as many energy conservation tips as possible in order to keep utility bills at a minimum. When you are able to split the costs of an apartment, you will enable yourselves to increase the capabilities of your spaces and the overall quality of your living. At the same time, it is important to note that mixing finances in such a manner can affect relationships so be sure to maintain transparency and do your best to be mindful of each other and the expenses you share.

Prepaid Electricity

Look into prepaid electricity programs that allow you to deposit money in advance for added savings. Often for prepaid electricity plans, there is no initial credit check or deposit required, as renters can simply provide a sum and receive service up until the point that that sum is used up. When that happens, they will be given the ability to put down more money for more service. Many utility providers even allow for text and email notifications that alert consumers when they are close to using up their prepaid amount. For those looking to simply pay as they go, this plan provides an easy way to continuously fund utilities.

Find Out What The Previous Apartments Tenant Paid

For those moving into an apartment that had a previous tenant, there exists the possibility to ballpark utility costs by calling the energy provider. By giving the utility provider the address, service companies may be able to provide you with the monthly expenses of the former renter. In doing this however, it is important to note that the amount you actually pay may vary slightly based on your usage. To try and minimize that monthly cost, establish a good rapport with you landlord. You may be able to use your relationship as a means of asking for energy efficient appliances that would be installed on the apartment’s dime but will save you money each month.  

Always Update Your Budget

As you are deciding between apartments, make sure that you ask about included costs and take that into consideration when budgeting. When the cost of utilities is included, that may present you with a little wiggle room when it comes to your spending or other added features that you may be able to receive. One tip would be to always update your budget. Constantly update your notes to ensure you have a complete understanding of all of your options and can make an informed decision that allows you to maximize what you are putting in. When it is all said and done, you want to be able to be comfortable without having to spread your budget too thin.

Following these first apartment tips will help you stick to your budget and avoid any surprises each month when the bills start coming in.

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