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Have you recently graduated from college and are planning to rent your first apartment? Or perhaps you are relocating to a new city alone for a career opportunity. Living on your own can be challenging since there’s no one to share expenses with. But let’s face it, sooner or later, there may come a time when we’ll have to live on our own, so it’s a good idea to consider some of the expenses you may have to cover.
Regardless of where you live, rent will make up the lion’s share of your monthly expenses. Depending on the neighborhood, rent can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Rent prices are typically higher in more metropolitan areas. Factor in a security deposit during the application phase—it usually equals one or two months’ rent.
Your electricity and gas bills are likely to be the highest utility expense. The monthly electricity bill will depend on the size of the apartment, how much electricity you use, be it to power appliances or run your air conditioning unit or furnace. Having energy-efficient appliances will help cut down on costs.
The water bill sometimes also consists of trash collection and sewage. If it is not included in rent, it may cost you $50 monthly depending on where you live.
Whether or not you have to pay for parking depends on where you move to and if you own a vehicle. In some neighborhoods, residents may have free parking. But in more metropolitan areas like New York City you’re less likely to have access to free parking. And if you do, it may be first come, first served, and not in close proximity to your apartment.
Sometimes, landlords make it mandatory for tenants to get renter’s insurance. This is because the landlord’s home insurance policy does not cover a tenant’s belongings should they be damaged in a fire or stolen during a burglary. Therefore, a tenant has to get their own insurance policy to protect their personal belongings. The monthly cost depends on the policy and the level of coverage you select.
Internet and cable are usually not covered in your rent. The monthly expense will depend on the provider and which plan you select.
Since most rental properties come with the appliances like refrigerators and stoves, you’ll have to focus on other pieces of furniture like sofas, desks, and bedroom sets. One alternative to spending money on furniture is to rent a furnished apartment. Be advised that furnished units are generally more expensive.
It is not necessary to get a roommate, but it’s a way to offset monthly living expenses. Having a roommate will allow you to split monthly rent and the average cost of utilities. With this in mind, you may be able to afford a bigger apartment, which would be a win-win for both of you.
Before you decide to live alone, make sure that you are financially stable enough to manage all possible expenses comfortably. We’ve provided a list of the most common expense types, but it’s up to you to crunch the numbers and determine whether your current budget will allow you to make the leap.