Posted April 04, 2016

You’ve spent four years studying and working towards graduation and now you’re finally finished. It’s time not only get a job but to get an apartment that isn’t on a college campus.

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Posted December 05, 2014
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 Are you moving to your first apartment or home soon?  Congratulations!  We know how exciting moving can be. However, before you pack up the boxes, make sure you are financially ready to move.  We have some information that is great for first time renters.  This will help make sure you are financially ready for the next phase of your life.  You can learn more at moneycrashers. 

1. Educate Yourself on Living Expenses

Living on your own involves more than paying rent or a mortgage each month. Water, electricity, gas, cable, and phone services are just a handful of expenses you may not immediately think of when contemplating the big move.In addition, you need to consider renters’ insurance, security deposits, grocery shopping, and association fees – plus personal expenses, such as student loans, auto loans, and any credit card debt you may have built up in college. If you’re not accustomed to paying your own way and don’t sufficiently educate yourself on the costs of living alone, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew.


2. Set Up a Budget

While you’re still living at home, make an effort to familiarize yourself with common household expenses. How much do your parents pay for utility services every month? How about groceries, transportation, and cable? Your own expenses may be lower if you move into a smaller home and have only yourself to provide for, but this can still provide a valuable basis for an estimate.When you have all these numbers in hand, write out a prospective personal budget for yourself to get a better sense of what you can afford on your own. Determine how much income you’re going to need for various insurances, gasoline, food, and other personal expenses. Are you going to have to start making additional payments, such as student loan payments, or are you going to need to buy or lease a car? When you answer all these questions and have all the appropriate numbers in hand, you can get a better sense of what you’re going to be able to afford.Next, set out to find an apartment. Compare average rents of different neighborhoods, and view a wide sampling of apartments, considering factors such as square footage, light, views, safety, and convenience. Weigh the cost of rent plus associated fees against your take-home pay. Once you’ve done this, you’re going to know whether you’re ready to make the leap.
 

3. Pay Rent to Your Parents

Adjusting to life on your own is difficult if you’ve never paid a bill. If your parents are generous and don’t ask for rent, consider yourself lucky – but realize that this will not prepare you for the real world. Therefore, offer to contribute. If your parents refuse to accept a rent check, offer to pay your own auto insurance, or give them money toward utilities or cable.By assuming responsibilities one at a time while still living at home, you can slowly acclimate yourself to financial independence. And if your parents won’t take any money from you, put what you would have given them toward your savings. You can eventually use this money for a security deposit and first and last months’ rent for your own home.


4. Build an Emergency Cushion

When bearing the burden of all household expenses on your own, disposable income can quickly become a thing of the past, and saving money is nearly impossible – at least in the beginning. While you still have a surplus income, put it toward a high-yield savings account to help your money grow at a quicker rate. If you contribute 10% of your paycheck each month, you can build up a nice cushion to rely on in case you lose a job, incur a medical expense, or encounter some other unexpected financial burden.Remember, if you want true independence, you can’t rely on your parents as a safety net – you have to create one for yourself.


5. Pay Off Debt

If you’re not careful, debt can hinder your financial growth for years. Use your time at mom and dad’s to pay yours off – paying particular attention to high-interest debt, such as your credit cards – and resolve not to venture out on your own until that weight is cut loose. For lower-interest debts such as student loans, it’s okay to pay the minimum for a while as you establish yourself (and pay off higher debt). Chances are your student loan interest rate is just slightly higher than inflation and therefore not costing you much to maintain.It’s a lot easier to eliminate debt when you have only a few monthly expenses, so do as much as you can before you’re on your own.


6. Establish a Credit History

Getting an apartment with no credit history can be challenging, and landlords frequently ask that parents cosign a lease for first-time tenants. However, you can avoid this roadblock by establishing a credit history before moving out on your own. Apply for a secured credit card or a retail charge card, which can be easy with no credit history. Make a charge, pay it off immediately, and then pocket the card. Then, unless you’ve proven to yourself that you’re 100% financially responsible, don’t touch it – a card in good standing is enough to establish good credit. You can also take out a federal student loan and make timely payments on it to slowly build a good credit score.
Posted June 05, 2014

Are you looking for your first apartment, or do you need to stay on budget?  You can furnish an apartment for $500 or less!  We have gathered some great tips that will help you get quality furniture without breaking the bank.    In the blog below, you will find tips on how to acquire the essentials for your apartment.  You can learn more at myfirstapartment.com.

The $500 Apartment

We’ve selected 10 items we think you shouldn’t live without, as well as how much we’d estimate you spend on them – minimally. Let us know what you think  – and if there any must have items we missed!

1) Bed/Couch – $200

The first item on the list has to be a bed. Without a bed, you’re just going to feel like you’re couchsurfing and won’t feel settled.   But, yikes, a bed is probably the most expensive item in any first apartment. What can you do to avoid spending your entire budget?

First, do some futon research. My cousin actually preferred sleeping on his futon even though he had the cash to get a bed. They can be truly great, especially for those living in studios – as they will, of course, double as a couch.  Try to find one from a friend or check Craigslist – but beware bed bugs. Plenty of people need to sell furniture and are bed bug free – but just FYI.

You should also be able to find beds on craigslist for $150 or less if you feel adventurous  .  .but then you’ll need to spend money for a couch separately.

2) Dining Table, chairs – $100

Try finding larger items either at Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  You can find a total gem for very little $.  The trick here, though is time – as it will likely take longer as every item is unique.

You can also check out the organization FreeCycle – which is all about free-recycling. My old roommate gave away her TV and her desk through this network, and said she’d also had successful finding dining room chairs., so def give it a go: http://www.freecycle.org/

3) Dresser/Hangers for Closet $50

Depending on the apartment you find, you may not need a dresser as you have enough closet space. But, if you do, dressers go for pretty cheap on Craigslist – and can also be found easily in resale shops. I got mine 4 years ago for $50 – an Ikea model already put together by a guy who was moving to Iowa. His loss – totally my gain.

As for hangers – see if your local dry cleaner would have any extra to spare. Or, see if you can bring some from home.

3) Silverware/Dishes $0-50

See if your family has any older dishes that they have stored in the basement. I was surprised that my parents had two sets from my childhood that they never got rid of. . . that I quickly claimed.

If you aren’t so lucky – Ikea has some pretty reasonably priced cutlery that doesn’t look worse for the wear after use.

4) Bedding $0

Additional items to see if you can borrow from your parents. While it’d be great to get a new comforter, that’s an item that can wait for the holiday gift list.

Especially if you’re coming from college, you should already have bedding that you can re-purpose. If not, try a site like overstock.com that often has bedding sales.

5) Shower Curtain $20

Water on the bathroom floor is slippery and not ideal. Spend the twenty bucks.

6) Trash cans $20

Find the cheapest ones you can for the moment. You can always upgrade later.

7) Laundry hamper $0

Again, just bring whatever one you stuck in the closet after the last time you lived in a dorm. Or, spring for a small basket that can serve as a laundry hamper for the moment.

8) Towels: $0

Another item you should already have access to. If not, go to Target and get some cheap towels.

9) Pots/Pans $40

If you must – you can get buy on one cheap frying pan and one cheap pot to boil water. You’ll replace when you can.

10) ETC Items $20-70

When you’re at IKEA getting dishes, see what else you’d want to spruce up your apt, mixing fun with necessity. They have all sorts of little fun items like $2 candles and $5 mirrors. Also, see if they have extension cords – which are always needed. Also, try to find a cheap lamp, as light’s always important.  Another item to consider are bedroom curtains, to keep out that always pesky morning light.

Hope you found the bare bones list above helpful. You’ll note that we didn’t include a TV (as streaming computer content can suffice) or some typical items like coffee tables/nightstands.  If you can spring for these items, by all means – you will enjoy them.

Also, we *did* assume that you would have a few items to start out with, which hopefully isn’t an unfair assumption. If that’s not true, try adding items for resale shops, stoop sales, and friends who may have extras!  Using Facebook, for instance, would be super easy to ask friends to contribute their slightly used furniture items to your new pad. Someone else’s castoffs could totally be your treasure!

 

Posted May 13, 2011

So you’re planning to move to a new city and are not sure where to move. How do you gauge which neighborhood is right for you? Sure, you can get the closest place to your office, school, or family, but what if you come to find that the neighborhood you really love is on the other side of the city, and you still have nine months on your lease? As it turns out, there are a few tricks to learn more about neighborhoods before you move into them which can help you join the neighborhood that’s right for you.

Wiki it. City Wikipedia pages often have some information about neighborhoods. They will usually tell you about the most historic areas, the richest neighborhoods, and the most popular places to visit. Look into these neighborhoods by punching them into your browser and looking for their website. Most large neighborhoods will have a dedicated site, and if not you will undoubtedly find a site dedicated to it by someone who has lived there for a while.

If you don’t like any of those neighborhoods, try using services found on apartment searching sites, such as Rent Jungle, to find out more information about apartments. A lot of these sites will have dedicated information about certain areas including rent averages, crime rates, and general information to keep you informed about what you might expect.

Finally, use those long hours spent on Facebook and Twitter to good use. Social media sites are great for getting individual feedback on neighborhoods, the type of information you generally will not be able to find elsewhere. Find the city page and ask around about where people live and how they like it there, ask about the best places, cheapest places, whatever you happen to be looking for. You might even be able to ping bloggers about some questions too, and they’ll most likely love to tell you about their favorite neighborhood.

Posted May 09, 2011

Do you ever find yourself at the mercy of a bad roommate? Is your sink piled high with dishes, the trashcan overflowing, and the bills inconsistently paid? Have you woken up at the sound of a party happening just a few feet away from your bedroom? Are your delicious leftovers inexplicably missing from the fridge?

It sounds like you have a case of the bad roommate. But don’t worry; there are still ways to deal with this dilemma. Believe it or not, there are tried and true ways to get your roommate to shape up or ship out.

5. Talk to your roommate. Maybe he or she hasn’t had the experience of living with a loud, messy, grouchy, or otherwise unpleasant roomie before. If they don’t know what habits bug you, they probably won’t adjust them.

4. Adjust your own habits. If you are a neat freak and your roommate is even slightly messy (or vice versa), you can bet your sweet OCD that there will be issues. If you are the neat freak, try setting up clean borders around the house or scheduling cleaning days for the two of you.

3. Chat with your friends and family about it the issues. The annoying things about your roommate might just be side effects of having any roommate, meaning that it’s just something you’ll have to get used to. The best way find out is by bringing some of these issues out of the dark and into the light of trustworthy friends.

2. If your talk with your roommate didn’t solve anything and has in fact gotten worse, ask them to move out. If living together is too hard, or is otherwise keeping you from leading a happy and successful life, asking them to leave might be a good solution. Sometimes you might find that two roommates can be better friends if they don’t live together. This should, however, be a last resort.

1. Move out. That’s right; if you are serious about the pending issues in your living situation, change them by finding a new one. You might not necessarily even have to cite the reasons you are leaving if you are worried about hurting his/her feelings. There are plenty of reasons to want to move out, and it will definitely solve the bad roommate issue for you. If you can handle it, stay until the end of the lease before moving out. If not, speak with the landlord about it before taking off, just to be on the safe side.

Posted May 09, 2011

We all know that finding an apartment can often be a hassle. Searching and finding apartments are just the first hurdles, but they are the most important steps. That’s why we’ve put together CheapApartmentsLocator.com, the best affordable apartment site on the internet.

So how do you use the site? Go to our homepage and type in your location in the “where” box. Try the map view to see apartments from a bird’s eye view, or click the list view to search for them based on search filters.

Once you have found your perfect apartment, contact the owner/manager to set up a visitation appointment. Be sure to get all information upfront, and don’t forget to read the entire lease before signing it.

So happy hunting, and good luck!

Posted May 09, 2011

If you’re looking for a great affordable apartment, don’t rush through the search! Unless you're in an absolute hurry to move, you can expect apartment hunting to take a few weeks (sometimes months) in order to find the perfect place. Read on to find the top 5 reasons why taking your time while apartment hunting will benefit you most...

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