A strict and sturdy budget is the biggest thing you need to get the ball rolling on an apartment search. If you haven’t put one together yet, we are here to help! Take the steps we listed below to figure out how to budget for apartment living in Little Rock today.
Budget Out Your Income
The best place to start in setting an apartment budget is with looking at your annual income. If you are going to live with a roommate, their income obviously needs to be included as well. We recommend looking at your last year’s W2, as your salary figure will be different from the amount you bring home each year after taxes.
From there, divide your total yearly income(s) by 12 to get an idea of how much you have available to spend each month.
Budget Out Your Monthly Expenses
At Bowman Pointe, we require that your income meets or exceeds 3.5 times your rent amount. In other words, your apartment expenses cannot exceed about one-third of your monthly income. Therefore, if you bring in $3,500 a month, for example, your application will not be approved to live in an apartment over $1,000 a month. We do this to make sure you can afford the budgeted cost of apartment living in addition to your other monthly expenses.
That gives you a lot to think about!
With your monthly income now calculated, you need make a list of all your monthly expenses next. First, write down the essentials like car payments, credit card payments, groceries, gas, etc. Then, make a list of your non-essentials like eating out, going to the movies, shopping, etc. Look at your recent receipts and bills from these expenses to get an idea of how much you spend each month.
To fit into your budget for your apartment search, all these expenses should never exceed two-thirds of your monthly income. Plus, you need to keep some kind of buffer in the budget for emergencies and unexpected costs.
Budget in Apartment Fees
Outside of a rent figure, many apartment searchers tend to forget about other fees that go along with their lease. At the start, there will always be an application fee. Once you get approved for an apartment, you will pay for a deposit and any administration fees upfront. If you have a pet, there will be another fee to pay.
Then, month-to-month, you need to include the costs of your utilities and renter’s insurance in your apartment budget. Just to give you an idea of Little Rock market averages, your water, electricity, trash, and other apartment fees can climb into the hundreds of dollars each month!
At Bowman Pointe, we try to put money back into your pocket by including a utility package with your monthly fees. Starting at just $60 a month, we cover the cost of your water, sewer, trash, recycling, HDTV cable, wireless Internet, and pest control.
Starting Your Apartment Search
Now that you know how much you have available to spend on an apartment each month, you can start searching for your new home!
No matter what search engine you use to find available apartments in Little Rock, you should be able to enter your budget figures and filter the results. Whatever you do, don’t look at apartments outside of your budget!
Note, however, that these filters do not usually include the additional fees associated with the apartments that may pop up. It might be wise to do a search for apartments that are a couple hundred dollars less than your budget just to account for the potential fees.
Once you narrow down your apartment options, contact each apartment community to discuss what their fees will be and if they have any specials or discounts.
When these steps are said and done, you will have a much clearer picture of how to budget for apartment living!
If you have any questions about which of our apartments may fit your budget, contact us via email or call us at 501-725-9055. We would be happy to help you budget for your apartment search.