What’s your biggest monthly expense? For many, it’s housing. finding the right apartment can help to build your net worth faster.
If you are in a a lot of debt already, having a modest amount for rent can be a huge way for you to have money to pay down debt. You can always upgrade later, but let’s admit it, it can much harder to downgrade. When we were first married that’s how we handled our apartments.
We had a very small first apartment, but it was across the street from the beach. That allowed us some wiggle room in our budget to build savings and pay off some of our debts faster. Plus with the location we also saved money as we didn’t have to go far to relax and have some fun.
As we moved from apartment to apartment we upgraded each time, but we kept the rent amount based on one of our incomes. This allowed us to get a down payment ready for when we bought our house.
Finding the Right Apartment for You
A few years ago when we were trying to find an apartment on short notice, I shared a few tips on apartment hunting. A lot of them still work and since then, readers have added some great tips themselves.
- Visit on a Friday or Saturday night. This visit lets you know if the place is too noisy and rowdy for you or if it’s not exciting enough. My cousin is a city girl, so she needs things to do and happen. (She’s a great salsa dancer.) My sister likes someplace peaceful and quiet at night. Each would have a different opinion of the same neighborhood.
- Look to see if your bank is located nearby. With banks charging $3 for out of network users, this is something to seriously consider. I wrote some tips on how to cut down the ATM fees.
- Ask for directions a few times. Try and see if the area is generally friendly or not.
- See if good public transportation is available. Fluctuating gas prices at the pump have made public transportation a consideration in some cities. If the area you’re considering has a great mass transit system, then you can save thousands of dollars a year and reduce the stress of sitting in traffic.
Thoughts on Apartment Hunting
What percentage of your net income goes to your rent? How do you save money with rent?