Planning to get your first apartment? Amazing! If you’re ready to move out on your own, renting or owning an apartment can be a great option. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time creating a budget for living expenses, you’ve come to the right place. 

Read on to find out what saving methods you can apply, the expenses you’ll be responsible for, and how much money you should have saved up before renting an apartment.

How Do I Budget for My First Apartment?

Figuring out the budget for an apartment and considering the added living expenses can get overwhelming. Especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck on a salary.

You want your monthly income to make your life less stressful — it shouldn’t be the other way around. Fortunately, it isn’t rocket science — just some basic math. 

So here’s what you’re going to do:

  • Set aside 50% of your income for priority bills. This includes the monthly rent, utility bills, groceries, and internet services. If it’s not adding up right, try to cut down on a few things until the budget is regulated.
  • Then, set aside 30% of your salary for non-essential items like takeaways, cable service, getaways, etc. To balance your budget, you could downsize here and use the amount for priorities instead.
  • Save up the remaining 20% for your first apartment. You could use this amount and invest in gold, furniture, stocks, etc. Not only will this build up your savings faster, but it’ll also get you a steady profit which you can use to keep the side hustle running. Why are we saving? For upfront advance payments and for rainy days.

What Expenses Will I Be Responsible for?

Here is an extensive list of all the living expenses you need to take into account when saving up for an apartment: 

Upfront Fees

Also known as the initial deposits, most apartments will ask you to pay a month or two’s rent as the security deposit. This amount is refundable but it’ll likely depend upon the condition you leave the apartment. If the utility bills are required to be in your name, you’ll be asked to pay a registration fee too — also refundable. Depending on how worn down the space is, you may want to do some home improvement.


This is where the biggest percentage of your paycheck will go. You’ll be charged with the rent of the apartment every month. Depending upon your lease, this amount may be consistent for a given time or may increase steadily if you agree to it. The rent excludes the security deposit you’ll pay upfront.


Whether it seems necessary or not, purchasing a renter’s insurance policy is worth the expense in the long run. You have liability coverage in case there’s a break-in, water damage, or even a natural disaster. Some apartment complexes may even require you to get one before moving in.

Utility Bills

Here lie all the service bills you’ll get while renting out an apartment. This includes payments for electricity, gas, and water. These may be paid by you every month or taken care of by the landlord by adding them to your monthly rent.


Who can live without the internet in this global village? We know we can’t! You’ll be billed the network payments monthly. This allows you the freedom to choose the service provider as well as the speed of the internet. 

Additional Charges

At this point, your paycheck might be hanging on a loose thread. But, have no fear, these additional charges only pertain to your lifestyle and can be subtracted easily. This includes the movers you might hire to haul your stuff, the initial renovations, pet insurance, parking, storage unit, and garbage pickups.

If you’ve got the time, you can choose to move everything yourself or call up a few friends to help you out. If the apartment’s good enough, you can delay some of the repairs until your budget is stable. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to take out a loan and use your savings to pay it back.

How Much Money Should I Save For An Apartment?

Now that you know how to divide your paycheck and what expenses to take into account, it’s time to get a numerical overview of how much money you should generally save up before renting an apartment:

  • Depending upon the distance covered, movers may charge you around $500 to $2000.
  • You’ll need to have at least three months’ worth of rent in the bank (one part of it will cover the security deposit).
  • Ideally, you should have $200 to $400 saved up for the first month’s utilities.
  • A good internet service will cost $45 per month, on average. Take into account the streaming service you’ll subscribe to as well.
  • Most importantly, narrow down a good renter’s insurance policy and save up at least $50 — this will cover two to five months easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any hidden charges in an apartment that I should save up for?

That depends on your contract as well as the age of the apartment. Always make sure to read the fine print, ask the landlord detailed questions for reassurance, and get everything in writing. If the apartment’s old, you might need to get a few repairs done over time which can squeeze your pocketbook dry.

What documents will be required to rent an apartment?

You’ll need your original ID, social security card, bank statement of the last six months as well as proof of employment. If you’re a student with a minimum wage income, you’ll be asked to bring a guardian to co-sign the official rental documents.

In a Nutshell

Saving up for your first apartment can be a bit challenging especially with a divided income. But, there’s a first time for everything. Follow the blueprint of budgeting above, narrow down the numbers, look up rental offers, and you’ll be all proud and home sweet home before you even know it.

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