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Updated: Jul 27, 2023

9 $hmoney tips you need to know before moving out and into your first apartment

Feeling Grown but Living at Home?

Do you ever scroll past those “Just got my first keys” posts on social media with Ari Lennox singing “I just got a new apartment” in the video background?

Or you’re binging Living Single for the first time and wish you could plan and find your own place like Khadijah, Regine and Sinclair?

Of course, it goes without saying you love your childhood home. But let’s talk facts: you’ve outgrown the space and feeling ready to move as you evolve into your next phase of #adulting.

first apartment video walk in door

You’re not alone. Many young adults living at home with their parents1 feel this way because of the financial pressures, the student loans, the high costs of living and the job market challenges.

But that's why this guide is perfect to help you navigate and prioritize moving into your first apartment with these 9 tips

Ready to walk into your new place like this?

1. Do thorough research early

Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for a place. Start by hitting up online rental websites and visiting neighborhoods you're interested in.

Next, make a list of your needs and must-haves. What do you absolutely need in your place? Is it a lot of sun light, a central location, or a big kitchen to learn how to cook like an auntie or uncle in training? Figure out what's important to you and prioritize your list when you're searching.

And don't forget about the rental laws in your area. You should know your rights as a renter, so take some time to research the basics. That way you'll know if your landlord is pulling a scam on you.

2. Assess your financial health

It’s important to assess your financial health before you sign up for an apartment you cannot afford. Ask yourself these 3 questions as you’re starting your process:

Do you make enough income?

Usually no more than 40% of your take home should go towards rent. For example, a monthly take home income of $2500 should afford you a $1000/month in rent. Keep in mind most neighborhoods require at least 3-4 times the monthly rent to be eligible. Regardless if you’re splitting rent or not, address your income if you're missing the requirement by actively seeking a promotion, requesting a raise or promotion or switching to an in-demand higher paying industry.

Do you have a strong credit foundation?

Credit matters in getting secured for an apartment. Landlords want to see that you're a responsible, reliable renter. Aim for a credit score of 680 or better by practicing good credit habits to increase your chances of getting approved for your next apartment.

Are you paying too much in debt payments?

You don’t have to be completely debt free to move into your first apartment but trust it’s not fun balancing expensive a** debt payments and rent. If more than 20% of your take home income goes towards minimum payments, make a No Toxic Debt plan to pay down as much debt possible to be financially ready.

3. Budget for before and during the move

If you think moving out does not take proper budget planning, be for real. When preparing your budget, it’s best to split it into two sections: before the move and during the move.

Expenses like the first month’s rent and security deposits (another month of rent) are required at the time of applying for an apartment. Landlords will want to know if you can pay for the apartment before move-in.

Any costs leading up to moving in, such as movers and access to a car or truck or furniture, should be considered as well. A good estimate is to have no more than another month’s of rent as your move-in budget.

4. Automate saving in a moving fund.

Now it’s time to start saving since you know how much money you need. My favorite way to be intentional about this through automating a specific amount into your budget (insert link to secure the system page) in a high yield saving account every paycheck until you reached your budget.

5. Living with friends > Living with randos

Think back to Living Single. From emotional support to being able to split and save money on bills, moving in with a friend or 2 who can pay their bills on time helps balance such an important transition in your 20s. Learn how to be a financially health adult with someone you trust, love and support instead of going solo or living with complete strangers.

6. Ask for referrals.

There is definitely power in word of mouth when asking people for their recommendations on available apartments they may know of. Feel empowered to ask your community to help you find your place.

7.Invest in a new credit card

The amount of money spent on moving can have our expenses all over the place. Organize everything on one new credit card so it’s clear how much you’re spending. Plus you’re in a better position to earn the new credit card welcome offer because of how much money is spent in a short period of time.

8. Declutter your sh*t before packing

Don’t try to cram your entire childhood into your new place. Decide what you plan to keep, sell, donate, or repair before you start packing away. Selling on secondhand sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist can help you make some extra cash to put towards moving fund.

$hmoney Tip: Don't waste your money buying new boxes. Ask people or storefronts in your community who have spare boxes to give away for free. You'll save some cash and reduce waste at the same time.

9. Book a moving company or truck ASAP.

Many moving companies, especially in popular cities like New York, get booked quickly. Do your research and reach out to a company as soon as you know your move-in target date.

Final Thoughts

Moving out of your childhood home and into your first apartment is an exciting and liberating step towards independence. However, it also comes with financial responsibilities that require careful planning and preparation. By doing thorough research, assessing your financial health, planning your process, you can successfully navigate this transition and make the most of your newfound freedom.

Make moving out a new goal in your budget with a free chapter from the YGB$ Bundle

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