Knowing how to budget for an apartment is crucial for a first-time renter. Knowing how to budget with limited funds is a skill in itself. Understanding what you need and what you don't can take you a long way to save up your first apartment.

Getting Started With Your Budget For An Apartment

It's your first time living on your expenses, congratulations! Here's the difficult part: keep realistic expectations. You have to start dealing with costs you weren't familiar with during college. Follow these easy steps to figure your budget for an apartment:

  1. Calculate your total monthly income.

  2. Calculate your total monthly expenses.

  3. Subtract your expenses from your pay and check what's left.

  4. Use a small portion of what's left for your living expenses.

Budgeting like a boss: The 50/30/20 rule

Popularized by Senator Elizabeth Warren, the 50-30-20 rule has become a standard to help people reach their financial goals.

  • 50%: Needs: This includes all things necessary for survival and the bills you must pay: rent, utilities, insurance, health care, and groceries are in this category. The best way to save up for your needs is by downsizing your lifestyle.

  • 30%: Wants: This include all the money spent on things that aren't essential. Things like eating out, vacation, cable TV, and recreational activities come under this category.

  • 20%: Savings: 20% of your net income should be allocated towards savings and investments like stocks or mutual funds.

How to budget for an apartment?

Finding a suitable apartment may be challenging, but it's even harder to account for living expenses. Saving up for your apartment could mean accounting for multiple components. Here's a list of the components you must account for budgeting an apartment.


  • Moving: It's a one-time expense but an important one. Hiring professional movers can cost you anywhere between $500-$3000 depending on the distance and the amount of stuff you're moving.

  • Rent: Rent will take up a significant chunk of your budget for an apartment. Average rent can range from anywhere between $1,400 to $2,800 for a one-bedroom apartment depending on the city and state.

  • Electricity: Unless your rent covers utilities, you must account for electricity bills in your budget. Each bill can range from $100 to $150 in different cities.

  • Water: If your landlord doesn't cover water bills in your rent, you have to account for an additional $40 to $100 in your utility budget.

  • Gas and Heating: Natural gas is a utility typically covered by rent. However, if it's not covered, you need to add $30 to $80 to your utility budget.

  • Internet and Cable: The average monthly internet bill is around $45. Cable services can cost you $50 a month on average.

  • Amenities: Your apartment might come with several amenities like a gym or parking facilities. Some buildings charge a  one-time fee and some charge monthly. 

  • Renters Insurance: Renters insurance helps cover your belongings and protect your assets from unsuspecting events. It can cost you $15 to $30 a month.

Use a Budgeting App

What's better than trying to budget for an apartment on a notebook? Using an app, of course! Budgeting apps connect to your bank accounts and credit cards. They collect the information and automatically categorize your expenditures. They help you keep track of your expenses and often build your wealth using intelligent algorithms. Here are some budgeting apps that we recommend:


Budget For An Apartment Using These Tips To Save More!

  • Save up to three months of rent before you move to a new city.

  • Look for an apartment that includes utilities in your rent.

  • Thoroughly read your lease! Being informed can save you from unsuspecting penalties.

  • Choose a studio apartment instead of a one-bedroom apartment.

  • Live close to your workplace or college to reduce commuting costs.

  • Bundle your renter's insurance with auto insurance for a discount.

  • Ditch the cable company and opt for streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.

  • Be more eco-friendly; shift to energy-efficient appliances and LED lights.

Tracking your finances is an integral part of adulting. The earlier you start budgeting for an apartment, the easier it will be when you finally move in.