The Bay Area is a wonderful place to live, but new Bay Area renters may get nervous when it comes to expenses. If you’re concerned about how to afford an apartment in the Bay Area, intelligent apartment budgeting is a great way to start. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Make a Budget
One of the most important apartment budgeting tips for renters should be the most obvious: Make a budget and stick to it. The first thing you need to know is how much of your income should go to living expenses. The standard rule of thumb is that you should spend no more than 20 to 30 percent of your monthly income on rent.
This may not seem like much, but keep in mind that your living expenses are a lot greater than just rent. There are utilities, renters’ insurance and costs like phone, cable, transportation and entertainment. When planning your budget, be realistic about what your monthly costs are. If they are too close to your total monthly income, look for ways to cut expenses right away.
2. Get a Roommate
Obviously, there are disadvantages to having a roommate, especially if it is someone you did not know before. You have less privacy and have to share some resources. But the effect on your budget can be dramatic. Suddenly, your rent and utilities can be cut in as much as half or more, depending upon your arrangement and the number of roommates you have. This reduction in costs can make budgeting much easier.
3. Reduce Spending
The more you can reduce costs other than the rent, the better. If you can put away 20 percent of your monthly income in savings, it will serve you well in emergencies or for other things like saving for a home. You would be quite surprised at how easy it is to cut costs when you make an effort, especially with respect to entertainment spending. Streaming movies at home rather than going out to the movies, cutting or reducing cable expenses, buying in bulk, eating out less and comparison shopping are all great ways to make more room in your budget.
4. Get a Budgeting App
The great thing about modern technology is that you don’t even need to take all the responsibility for budgeting yourself. There are a wide variety of budget apps you can download to your mobile device that does almost all the work for you. You input your income as well as the various expenses you have each month. Not only can these apps help you get organized, but they also give you the ability to take a much more honest look at what you spend each month and how many of your monthly expenses you really need.
For more great tips and info about renting in the Bay Area, get in touch with us today.