How to Create a Budgeting Checklist for Your First Apartment

Posted on May 21st, 2019

As you prepare to move into one of the Boston South End apartments, it’s important that you fully understand your financial responsibilities. There are often costs you may not have come across in other living situations. The 50-30-20 rule is a great way to break down your budget. It essentially works out to 50% of your after-tax income for necessities, 30% for discretionary spending, and 20% to pay off debt and build your savings. Here are some ways to look at your likely budget and make sure you can afford the necessities, while also ensuring you can afford to have some fun in such a great neighborhood.

There are some costs that are one-time expenses, but before you move, you need to at least have these covered, in addition to your regular budget. These costs include the actual move, any important furnishings you may not have, rent deposits, and potentially the purchase of a bike or car, depending on how you’re planning on getting around. At least Boston has plenty of transportation options, and Harrison Court features an on-site Zipcar station, a Hubway station, and garage parking available.

When it comes to the bulk of your after-tax income — the 50% — rent is obviously the biggest cost and one you need to be sure you can cover with ease. Other necessities include food, health insurance, electricity, phone, heat, gas, parking, internet, and any other utilities you may need to cover, including water, heating and trash. Apartments vary in what is included and what you are responsible for on your own, so be sure you know what you must cover. If you are driving, you’ll need to include car payments, insurance and parking costs in your necessities budget. Even if you’re not driving, you need to factor in transport costs

For the 30% of your after-tax income that is devoted to discretionary spending, that’s where you have a bit more fun, but still need to be realistic. If you aren’t using cable, you’re still probably using internet for streaming services. This is where you need to budget appropriately. Do you need Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and all of the other streaming services or can you cut back on some? Are you stopping for coffee every day? That cost goes here, as does any dining out, nights out, movies, concerts, shopping, subscriptions, and any other entertainment. It’s important to know how much you can realistically spend on an evening out and how much dining out adds up. Brown-bagging it at work can save money, as can taking your own coffee, rather than buying an expensive cup of joe every day. Figure out what’s most important and go from there. If you’re frugal during the week, you can splurge more on the weekends when you can enjoy it all a little more.

Finally, try to budget 20% toward paying off credit cards, student loans, and any other outstanding debts. When possible, focus on paying off high-interest debts as soon as possible. Ideally, you should also try to put some money towards savings, 401ks, and other safety nets. Even if you can’t invest much, try to set a little aside into savings each month to create a safety net for any unexpected costs and emergencies.

Fortunately, when you rent one of the Boston South End apartments at Harrison Court, you get a lot of on-site amenities, including a fully equipped fitness center with machines and classes, so you can save money on a gym membership. There’s a lot to enjoy in the neighborhood, with great shopping, dining, and more, but there are also plenty of free options to help balance it out. Enjoy the parks and the historic scenery, as well as many of the galleries and free cultural events. With a solid budget, you know when you can splurge or when you need to save for something special and don’t risk coming up short at the end of the month.