Wednesday, 31 May 2017

How much cash should I stash - before I dash?

So you’re thinking about moving out? If this is your first time away from your parents, then you may be thinking party time!

That said, you must be careful not to neglect what’s really important here - How are you gonna afford to pay your own bills? In this article, we’ll break things down!

So first and foremost, you must ask yourself - Am I truly ready for this? This is an important assessment because you’ll accumulate a wide range of expenses outside of just paying the rent.

To get things rolling, you can get key insight from the people you trust the most, like friends, siblings, parents and loved ones. They’ll be able to provide first hand experience about what it was like when they moved out for the first time.

You’ll also want to gauge your current expenses. This can give you a good indication of how much you’re already spending. And once you come to a hard figure, then look for any hidden expenses that may occur.

Additionally, you’ll want to make a budget. This will help you determine just how much you should pay for rent. There’s generally two ways of going about this. The first and most common method is to divide your monthly income by 3. And the second way is to divide your annual income by 4. It really doesn’t matter which way you choose. But what’s most important here is that you stay within your means.

Most apartments will want a security deposit up front. This figure is generally double the amount of the rent you should pay. That said, you should get your cash back at the end of your lease - that is, if you don’t trash the place! And don’t forget to factor in any additional charges, like credit and background checks. These should generally between $30 and $100.

As for moving costs, they can vary depending on how far you plan to live, and can range up to $1000. If you rent a truck for around $40 - $150, and move everything yourself, you’ll save on paying for labor. Heck, you can even use cheap moving boxes that you may have laying around. The downside to this method is you may mess up some of your own stuff in the process, being that you’re not a professional. That said, hiring a professional moving company can be a bit pricer at around $300 - $600, but chances are, your stuff won’t break, even though they’ll most likely be using their own cheap moving boxes as well. :-) Keep in mind that it’s more if you’re planning on leaving the state. Then you have to factor in gas prices, motel stays and other transit expenses that may apply.

If this is your first move, then furniture may not be a huge deal for you, and you probably won’t have much to fill those cheap moving boxes with. So you’ll save money up front. If you look into a partly furnished placed, it may be more expensive, because of the furniture add-ins. And with furniture, keep in mind that the better the quality, the more you’ll pay for it. I’d recommend picking up lamps, chairs and tables piece by piece from thrift stores and garage sales.

Utilities are always mandatory. After all, you gotta have your light, water, heat and electricity. Other utilities like cable and internet may not be as important. Getting renters insurance may be a bit pricey, at around $185 a month on average. But it may come in handy in the event of a flood or fire.

And food will always be at the top of your list of needs. You’ll most likely be eating out more initially, until you get the basic things for your kitchen, or learn how to cook without burning the place down! I’d say $150 should fill your pantry enough for the time being.

Transportation expenses will vary, depending on the location and proximity of your apartment. You’ll probably spend upwards of $100, depending on how you choose to move about.

That said, you should always be prepared for any unaccounted expenses that may pop up. Who knows when you’ll be out with friends and see that must-have hand bag, or that coveted roach farm you’ve been pining for all your life! You’ll probably want to have about $250 - $500 saved up, just to be on the safe side. I’d say after adding all of your expenses, you’ll be looking at around $2800 to $3700, to get things situated.

Happy Moving!