How to Calculate Your Rental Budget

February 26, 2019

When you begin the search for a new apartment, there are many factors to take into account. The location, the amenities, the square footage—and, of course, the cost. If you’re not sure how much you can comfortably afford to pay for rent, follow these steps to figure it out.

  1. Crunch the numbers. First things first: do some arithmetic. Add up how much income you bring in each month (or at least get a rough average if it tends to vary). Then figure out what your monthly expenses are. Subtract the expenses from the income and see how much money is leftover. Add a bit of a buffer for any unexpected costs, then set that remaining number as your budget. You can also use an online rent affordability calculator to do the heavy mathematical lifting for you. 

  2. Factor in the extras. Your rental fee is obviously going to be the biggest expense, but you can’t forget about the smaller bills that come with living in an apartment. Factor in reasonable dollar amounts for utilities, cable, Wi-Fi, and any other regular expenses. This will give you a better idea of what you can actually afford.

  3. Find ways to stretch your dollars. Is your budget a bit smaller than you’d like? You can still get into the home of your dreams if you’re willing to get creative. Consider a smaller rental, look in a neighborhood just beyond city limits, or consider getting a roommate to help offset costs.

How to Budget for Your First Apartment [The Balance]
Rent Affordability Calculator [Zillow]
How to Find the Perfect Apartment for Rent [Money Crashers]

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