Switching Apartments to Save Money

Looking to make a move in order to save some money? Maybe you quit your stuffy corporate job in pursuit of your art career, or you're just realizing that maybe signing that lease a year ago for your one bedroom downtown loft just wasn't such a fiscally responsible decision. Whatever your reason for wanting to downgrade, make sure you're taking into account the cost of moving before you automatically spring for the place that's $50 cheaper a month. Should you make the move?

Deposits and Fees

  1. Administrative fees, application fees, background checks and more can quickly add up, especially if you're applying to live at more than one place.
  2. Even if you don't lose a dime of your current security deposit, you still have to put the money upfront (generally 1-2 month's rent). If money's tight, this could be a big issue.
  3. Maybe you like to live on the edge, and your old place didn't require coverage, but the cheaper place does. On average, renters insurance will run about $12/month, or $144/year, so be sure to ask your prospective landlords if this is a fee you'll have to incur.
  4. Pet deposits can range from landlord to landlord, but many require a non-refundable deposit, a refundable deposit, and sometimes even a small monthly fee on top of that! You'll lose the non-refundable on both your old and new place; this could be hundreds of dollars

Intangibles

Moving from the city to a distant suburb? Your day-to-day life is going to change – you'll be farther from entertainment and possibly work.

  1. Consider how much more you'll spend in gas making the further drive every day.
  2. If you're no longer in walking distance of your favorite bars (a large perk of city living!) factor in the added cost of taxis to take you home on the weekend.

Amenity Changes

What amenities are you missing out on? Apartment complexes often come with certain perks, like pools, HBO, etc. that are tacked onto your rent. How will a change to a basic apartment (where those costs are in addition to rent) affect your budget?

  1. Does your new place have a washer/dryer duo, or will you have to go to a Laundromat? Or are there coin-operated machines in the basement of the complex that could cost you $5/week to wash and dry your clothes?
  2. Were cable and WiFi bundled in your old apartment's rent? Will you have to pay for these utilities on top of rent now?
  3. If working out is important to you, consider how much a gym membership will be if you're moving to a more basic apartment without a fitness center.
  4. Will you have to pay for a parking space at your new apartment?

The Act of Moving

  1. Moving truck

    1. Unless you own a pickup truck, you'll need to rent a moving truck to move mattresses and couches across town. Read more on tips for choosing a moving truck company.

  2. Moving Company

    1. Maybe you don’t want the responsibility of maneuvering a huge moving truck around your apartment parking lot, or you can’t physically move your belongings from your home, to the truck, and back out again. It could even be something else entirely. There are many reasons you may want to hire help to make your move go more smoothly – be sure to look in to "goods in transit" insurance as well.

Solutions:

Well shoot! That's a lot of potential charges that could add up against the cost of your move. Although it's highly unlikely you'll encounter all of them, just of few of these items will add up quickly onto the cost of your rent.

Consider more roommates:

Rather than choosing another one-bedroom or studio apartment, are you considering moving into a two bedroom with a roommate (or two or three)? Keep these things in mind:

  1. Rent is inherently cheaper with each roommate you add.
  2. You'll be able to split cable, utilities and even a moving truck if you're relocating on the same day.
  3. You can also share furniture. Sell some of your old pieces to cover the cost as you combine the best of both worlds to make one awesomely furnished apartment.

Pick a place you'll know you'll be happy with for a while.

  1. Research, research, research! If you can find a place that you can see yourself living in for the next couple years, you'll still save money in the long run.
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