Ready to strike out on your own? For most of us, true independence means moving out of our parents' place and into our own. That may be an efficiency or one-bedroom apartment you have all to yourself, or a place you share with roommates. Whatever you choose, it won't be as cheap as living at home. Just how much will it cost? Here's what to consider:
Rent. This will be a big chunk of your budget. How big depends on what situation you choose. But rent is only part of the picture. Make sure that all names of those living in the apartment are on your lease so you aren't held solely responsible!
Security deposit. This is a sum your landlord gets upfront to cover damages you cause during your tenancy. It's refundable if no damage occurs. Some landlords don't require a security deposit, but instead ask you to pay the final month's rent before you move in. Again, it's good to get in writing in the lease who this deposit will be returned to if you move out.
Utilities. Does your landlord pay heat, electricity, and water? Or are you responsible for these expenses? Your landlord or local utility companies can tell you how much past bills have been. If you have roommates, decide who will be responsible for which bill so you know whose name to list these under when you go to open your accounts. Phone, internet, and cable are usually not included in your rent. Think carefully about your needs so you can make an intelligent decision about the minimum services that you need. If just using the internet recreationally, can you use the computer at your local library or university? If you're going to college and need to use a computer heavily, ask around to see what the best and least expensive packages are for phone/internet/cable. Don't be "sold" into signing up for more than you need.
Utilities deposits and hookup charges. Utility companies assess a deposit to assure you don't skip out and leave bills unpaid. Check when and how you get the deposit back. Hookup charges are fees for connecting you to the service and are nonrefundable. *Note* that if you maintain a good payment history you can use the utility company as a reference to avoid deposit charges in the future and also to show your good track record when you apply for loans.
And we haven’t even talked about furnishings, moving expenses, and rental insurance. They easily can add hundreds of dollars to the tab. Shop garage sales and your local Salvation Army-type stores for clean and sturdy second-hand furniture. While you're still in high school, start asking your family and friends for gifts of dishes, pots and pans, towels, etc. for birthdays and holidays. This way you can move into your new place with some of the basics that you'll need. It's astounding how much little things like shower curtains, sheets, pillows, and kitchen items can add up to! Along these lines, if you have accumulated enough that you couldn't afford to replace it, rental insurance is an option. It insures your personal property for either actual or replacement value should your belongings be destroyed, or in some cases, stolen.
As you see, renting a place costs extra cash right at the start. Plus you have other ongoing monthly obligations, not to mention groceries! Keep the latter to one-third or less of your monthly income, or your new haven of independence may feel like a burden.
If you need help in sizing up your budget or a modest loan to get started in your new abode, ask to speak to a loan officer or Member Service Representative at your local branch!