We all struggle to keep a budget. Most of us have good intentions, but can’t always follow through on our commitments. According to a Gallup poll, only 32 percent of Americans currently maintain a household budget. But with about one-third of your income going towards rental payments, it’s time to start a budget.
Here are a few ways you can improve your budget as a renter:
1. Figure Out Your Monthly Income
Most financial experts will recommend that your rent payment should be roughly 25 to 30 percent of your income (before taxes). So if you make about $4,000, you should pay $1,000 to $1,200 for rent. Calculate your monthly income before you decide what your expenses should be. In doing so, you’ll ensure you have enough money to pay your bills and pay yourself.
2. Create a Savings Plan
You have dreams. We all have dreams. You can make those dreams become a reality by saving part of your income each month. Start with the bare minimum you can afford, like 10 percent. If you feel like you can increase this amount, go ahead. You should always pay yourself first before you pay anything else.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” – Warren Buffet
3. Don’t forget to include extra fees
When you move into a new apartment, don’t forget that there are typically some move-in expenses such as application fees or security deposits. Know what these are ahead of time so you can plan for them.
Ensure that you are also budgeting for the things that you care about such as pet deposits, a washer and dryer or parking.
3. Buy Renter’s Insurance
While this fee may seem like a small burden to add to your budget at the moment, it is the only thing protecting you if there is a robbery or fire in your apartment. Paying renter’s insurance is just as important as paying health and car insurance. Protect yourself for tomorrow by paying a small fee today.
4. Cut Back on Expenses
There’s always something you could cut back on when it comes to your expenses. Make a list of the necessary, month-to-month expenses:
- Renter’s insurance.
Now, are there any unnecessary expenses you can cut back on? What about unnecessary subscriptions, dining out or reducing your entertainment expense? You might also try to conserve more energy. Now look at the rest of your expenses. Is there anything else you could cut back on?
5. Use a Budgeting Tool
How do you even know what you should be spending on groceries and gas each month? What is the best program to use? Should you use a written budget or an online program, like RentPlusMoney? It can be a lot to comprehend. The best way to start is to monitor your expenses for a few months. Don’t make any adjustments, just keep track of where your money is going. Once you have an idea of where your money is going each month, you can start making changes to your expenses to better afford the things you want and need. You’ll have a better understanding of where your money is going, and you’ll make your money work for you… instead of the other way around.
Living in an apartment can be a lot of fun. The community, reasonable rates, and amazing amenities are enough to make renting worth your while. But if you don’t keep track of your budget, your experience might be tainted with financial stress. So hop onto RentPlus right now and get started on your budget today.