What Living Expense to Include in the Budget when Renting an Apartment?

Moving into a rented apartment on your own for the first time can be a tad bit intimidating.

There are so many questions that run through your head each moment about the whole moving in process.

But the most critical question is that of the budget.

If you have little or no experience involving renting and moving into a newly rented space, you may not be fully aware of all the expenses that go into it.

Many inexperienced renters fail to include some key expenses when budgeting for an apartment. This causes several financial problems for them in the long run.

Having a budget that covers all costs is essential to managing your finances effectively and living within your means.

Sometimes people fail to include certain costs in their budget because they are less obvious or vary more than others.

Therefore, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all the associated costs that come with moving and starting a new life in a rented space.

If you want to avoid unexpected costs, you have to do your due diligence and create an all-encompassing budget.

To make it all simpler for you, we have created a thorough guide for new renters that includes all the expenses that go into a standard budget for renting an apartment. Let’s dive right in and learn all about it!

Monthly Rent of the Apartment

Let’s start with the most obvious one. Renting an apartment essentially means paying its rent every month. The renting process is made official when you sign a lease.

The lease has a fixed duration and monthly rent that you’ll be paying throughout that period. Rent is one of the simplest expenses to put down in your budget because it’s fixed.

You know exactly how much you’ll be paying in rent each month.

As a new renter, you probably aren’t sure how much of your income should go into the rent. Generally, your rent shouldn’t be more than 30% of your take-home income every month.

So, make sure the rent you’re paying is well within that range to ensure that you can get by comfortably.


Utilities are another essential big cost that comes with renting an apartment. The cost of utilities usually varies based on how much you use them each month.

The utilities are the costs associated with the functionality of your living space. Sometimes utility costs are included in the monthly rent on your lease, while other times, you have to pay for them separately.

So, make sure you study your lease properly and understand what the things that it covers are.

The common utilities include:

The cost of utilities varies based on several factors, such as the municipality of your rented apartment, the neighborhood, and even the street.

Therefore, it’s important to inquire about the standard monthly utility charges before signing the lease, so you don’t overstep your budget.

Renter’s Insurance

Some landlords make it mandatory for their tenants to get renter’s insurance, so they are covered along with their belongings during their lease term.

Even if it’s not mandatory in your case, it’s still a good idea to get renter’s insurance. First, it is not expensive at all. It costs around 17$ on average each month, and you can get a decent deal for as low as $10.

Secondly, it’s always best to be safe than sorry. Having coverage for yourself and your personal belongings will provide you with the safety net that you need as a tenant.

Laundry Cost

If your apartment doesn’t come with a laundry machine and dryer, then you’ll have to include the cost of laundry in your monthly budget.

The amount that you should specify for your laundry largely depends on your location and how frequently you’ll be using the laundry machines.

That’s why you may only be able to determine this cost after moving into the apartment.

Once you have started living in your new apartment, make sure you explore different options.

If a neighborhood laundromat costs less than the cost of operating a laundry machine in your building, then making the economical choice is in your best interest.

Parking Fee

This fee isn’t applicable to all renters, but if you live in a crowded city, you may have to consider renting a parking spot monthly.

Big cities are usually overcrowded and going through the exhausting task of finding parking space every day just becomes an unnecessary hustle.

That’s why renting a parking spot with a fixed fee may be in your best interest. It’s also an essential cost for areas where it snows frequently.

Adding a monthly cost of parking to your renting expenses will help you budget more effectively.

Pet Fee

Do you have a pet that will be living with you? Well, some landlords might charge an extra monthly fee for bringing in your furry friend.

The cost could vary depending on the type of your pet or their size.

But if your pet is going to live with you, it’s important to let your landlord know beforehand so that you’re not taken aback by the surprise fee after moving in.

Furniture and Supplies

Renting an apartment and actually starting to live in it are two different things. A rented apartment doesn’t instantly become a livable apartment.

You need certain home essentials to make it yours, to make it homely and comfortable.

For that, you also need to budget for things like furniture, groceries, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc.

Although these costs aren’t directly connected to your renting expenses, they are essential for when you move in. Furniture and décor are the instant expenses that you’ll need while you’re moving.

Meanwhile, the groceries and other supplies should be added to your monthly budget.

The Moving Costs

While you’re busy with the lease signing and understanding the terms of your contract, it’s also important to remember the one-time costs that you’ll have to pay for the move.

If you are moving from one state to the other, you will probably need the services of professional movers. Even if it’s a local move, hiring a moving company will ease your burden and make the process smoother.

It’s important to budget for your moving costs, so you stay on track financially. Make sure you get the quotes from different truck rentals and moving companies, so you get the best price.

If you aren’t moving furniture, then a low-cost option would be to buy used furniture in the city of your rented apartment.

Final Words

Renting an apartment for the first time often feels scary and intimidating.

But if you know what you want, and you prepare a budget to cover all the costs, you’ll feel more confident about the move. Make sure you stick to your budget throughout.

If it needs adjustments, don’t hesitate to address them along the way. If you really want to reduce your cost, another great option is getting a roommate.

We wish you the best of luck!

Other articles you may also like: