How to Budget for Your First Apartment

What’s more exciting than moving into your first apartment sans roommates? There are many things to look forward to: having your own bathroom (no more sharing!) and being able to truly call a space your own.

Yet the costs of living solo can add up. Have you accounted for everything? If not, read on to get a clearer picture of how to budget for your first solo apartment.

Common expenses

One of the first costs that you will incur will probably be a security deposit. It’s common for landlords to ask for a security deposit equal to the first month’s rent up front. Some even ask for that and the last month’s rent, so your initial costs may be pretty high.

The monthly rent will almost certainly be your most significant ongoing expense. Experts recommend that you spend no more than 30 percent of your income on rent. (This percentage might be a little higher depending on where you live and if you have a car.) 

Besides your monthly rent, one of your biggest monthly expenses will include utility costs for things like:

  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Cable/internet
  • Water
  • Trash
  • Sewer

You may be responsible for some, all or none of these utility costs depending on your lease. To get a clear idea of about how much you’ll need to budget for utilities each month, talk with your landlord about what you’re on the line for well before signing the dotted line.

A common expense that many renters fail to consider is renters insurance. Your landlord’s policy typically doesn’t cover you if your stuff is stolen or destroyed, or if someone files a lawsuit against you if they’re hurt in your apartment. The good news is that renters insurance is probably more affordable than you may think. Plus, with Erie Insurance, you are eligible for a discount if you also have auto insurance through the company.

In addition to your common expenses, you might have other expenses based on your personal situation. These include a parking pass, a fee to cover amenities like a pool or gym, or a monthly fee if you have a furry companion. (Landlords will often require a non-refundable pet deposit as well.)

Lastly, your new place also needs to be furnished.  Unless you have very generous relatives or a penchant for curb-diving, you’ll probably have to buy a least a few pieces of furniture for your new place. (To score a deal, don’t overlook consignment stores, thrift stores and estate auctions. If used isn’t your thing, discount stores like Target and Ikea are perennial favorites for renters on a budget.)

With a little frugality, some creativity and a sound budget, you can stay out of the red. And that will go a long way toward helping you enjoy your new digs. Who’s #adulting now?


Renters insurance can help protect your belongings in the event they’re damaged or stolen. If you bundle your policy with an existing auto policy, your renters policy can practically pay for itself. Talk to an Erie Insurance Agent to learn more and get a free quote.

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