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How much should I have in savings to move into a new apartment?

How much should you have in savings before renting an apartment?

The first question to ask is, how much rent can I afford?

Whether you are a student moving out of your dorm or a new graduate moving out of your home for the first time, it’s not going to be cheap. But, how much should you have in savings before making the leap? That depends on a lot of things.

You need to spend some time analyzing your budget and determining what you can afford first. This is vital before you can determining how much to have in savings when moving.

It will not be cheap for sure and you’ll have to balance the excitement with your budget for furnishing and living. But, having an apartment of your own is worth it!

Let’s discuss a few tips on savings before you move out into a new apartment to ease your calculation strategies.

How much rent should I be paying? And how much should I have in savings?

The first common question occurring naturally in the mind is how much rent should you be paying? You’ll soon realize that the month feels much shorter when you start paying rent! A good first place to start is, how much rent can you afford?

There are of course different formulas based on a percentage of gross income, net income, etc. to calculate the rent you can afford, with or without utilities.

A straightforward answer to this question is that about 25-30% of your gross income can be reserved for rent. Now, there are extenuating circumstances to this.

Perhaps 25-30% of your gross income isn’t available due to other bills or debts? In this case, you want to reduce the percentage until it fits into your own personal budget. Maybe that’s 20%, or even 15%. You have to be realistic if you expect to be able to make your payments.

This can be discouraging, but it’s necessary. If you complete your budget and find that you only have 15% left in your budget to put towards rent, your monthly rent payment needs to align. Alternatively, look for other places in your budget to cut back to increase your rent allotment.

Average move in costs.

If you are planning to move locally in town, you cannot escape average moving costs although we all want to. Often times people choose to do the heavy lifting themselves, which can certainly save some money. But even if all the labor is eliminated, most places have a defined amount due on move in day.

This amount is usually:

  • A security deposit (generally equal to one month’s rent but can be more or less)
  • First months rent (if moving in the middle of the month, this should be a prorated amount for the reminder of the month)
  • Last month’s rent – This one is not always required. Some renters require first and last, others only require first. This may also be based on your credit score. A lower score could warrant a request for both first and last.

Stick to what you can afford.

If you don’t want to fall into stressful situations, make up your mind to spend on necessities only for a while. Plan your savings by following some techniques like 50-30-20 rule! Reserve 50% for Fixed expenses, 30% for your variable expenses and 20% for your Savings. If this ratio tumbles drastically, you know you have problems elsewhere in your budget and need to reevaluate.

Monthly utilities and Expenses.

Plan savings for the household utilities like cable, internet, electricity and other ongoing bills. If you have bad or no credit, you may also face some deposits to get these services started. Deposits can range anywhere from $40 for water service, to several hundred for power service.

Plan ahead for these expenses. Spending your first night in your new apartment with no electricity is not a great time.

Always be prepared and know how much to have in savings.

Life brings surprises all the time, especially when you don’t want it to! A broken appliance, a flat tire, a stolen laptop or mobile can be daunting when you are about to move into a new apartment! Always be prepared and plan some savings for additional expenses unrelated to your move.

Checklist to ensure smooth transition.

What is the average amount an American should have saved before renting an apartment or buying a house?

Per the Google reviews, The American Moving and Storage Association states that the average cost of an interstate household move is about $4,300 (distance of 1,225 miles) and the average cost of an intrastate move is about $2,300 (4 movers at $200 per hour). Both average moving costs are for 7,400 pounds.

Here are a few things costs to consider while you plan to move into a new apartment:

Rent: $1000 (Plus $1000 for last months in some cases)
Security Deposit: $1000
Management Fees: $100
Moving: $40-$450
Furniture: $500
Extras: $250-$500


Moving into a new apartment is all about planning, and living within your means. You may have the savings now to rent a nice place, but do you have the ongoing income to sustain it? Work within your budget. Determine what you can afford monthly, then start saving. An easy way to start is by asking yourself, do I have three months of rent covered in my savings? If you can answer yes to that question, you’re ready to start planning for a move.


Your partner in debt relief, 

Consumer First Financial