8 expenses to expect before moving into an apartment
Tired of living at home? Looking to spread your wings? To make sure you don’t end up in a nose dive, here are the expenses you can expect to pay.
Look before your leap
To your notepad!
There are many expenses you will be expected to pay after leaving the nest… so make a realistic list of all fixed AND variable expenses.
It’s best to be extra conservative in your estimates.
Are your finances in good shape?
Make sure you can handle the move. Carefully evaluate all your sources of income.
Be realistic here too. You definitely do not want to be forced to go back home after a few months.
Is your analysis conclusive?
The time has come to prepare a detailed budget based on your wants and needs, from which you cannot deviate… or at least, very little.
Plan for everything, even the most unlikely events, just in case, to make sure you have enough savings.
Your rent cannot be more than 25 (ideal) to 30% (maximum limit) of your gross income.
Several criteria determine how much you will pay for rent:
- Proximity to services (public transportation, businesses, etc.)
- Square footage
- Type and floor (apartment building, duplex, triplex)
- What’s included: electricity, heating, hot water, appliances
If you can’t afford anything in the neighbourhood you want, then consider roommates or renting a room (private home or dorm).
If you opt for roommates, you will all be jointly responsible for the rent.
So, you found the apartment of your dreams! Remember that the landlord cannot require more than one month of rent in advance and that it is illegal for him to request:
- additional amounts for keys or furniture
- post-dated cheques
If the owner promises that specific work will be done to the apartment before you move in, make sure this is written on the lease.
Think second-hand: check out online classified ads, specifically the Free section.
Dust off your family’s old furniture or go bargain hunting.
Ask around – your family, grand-parents, aunts and uncles – they most likely have some old, albeit functional, stuff lying around.
So, you decided to get roommates. Make sure to share the cost of purchases. That way, splitting up purchases will be easy when you go your separate ways.
3. “Essential” services
Internet, cable, phone: expect to pay connection fees as well as a monthly package.
Financially, it makes sense to get all your services from the same provider.
Do you have a very good mobile calling plan? Then, forget the landline.
4. Heating and electricity
Before moving in, calculate your heating and electricity costs. You don’t want to move into a place with Swiss-cheese insulation.
Are you worried about winter? Request an Equalized Payments Plan so you pay the same amount year-round! This definitely avoids unpleasant surprises!
Another good way to save money is by not taking long showers. “Time is money” truly applies to showers!
Lower the heat overnight to reduce your energy bills.
Your first trip to the grocery store may be an expensive one, especially if you have to fill your pantry with the basics:
- Flour, sugar
- Salt, pepper, spices
- Rice, cereal
- Oil, vinegar, etc.
Buy in bulk and save with the store brand.
Eat before buying groceries. An empty stomach will play tricks on you.
Eating-in rather than eating-out means savings!
To protect your belongings from fire, theft, vandalism, water damage, etc., consider tenant insurance. Although not obligated by law, it will protect you in the event of a loss.
Get civil liability coverage to protect you from damages you could cause to your neighbours. That way, you will always be on good terms…
To calculate the amount of insurance you actually need, make a list of all your belongings.
Set aside some money to decorate the apartment. The landlord must provide basic white paint, so if you want colour, it’s at your expense.
To rent a moving van, you must be at least 18 years of age (some companies require 21). Make sure to reserve yours as far ahead as possible.
Planning your moving day will help things go smoothly:
- Book your friends in advance.
- Prepare an itinerary if you must make several stops and tell people at what time you’ll be there.
- Have drinks and snacks for all.
- Start early – It’ll be a long day!
Are you considering professional movers? Be aware that their hourly rates change depending on time of year and on weekends.
To enjoy your first home
Make sure to start things off on the right foot:
- Pay cash
- Pay your bills on time
- Use credit cards carefully