How Much Money Should I Save For a Potential Move?
Hi everyone, I have a quick question. I'm looking into moving into an apartment with some roommates in the near future and I've actually never done anything like this before.
Do any of you know of any hidden costs that come with moving that I might have not thought of? I know I need enough money to cover my portion of the security deposit, first month's rent, moving costs, and funds to buy furniture items I don't own (like a mattress, etc.)
My calculations are around $2500 but, again, I've never done anything like this before so I'm worried I'm overlooking something. (I also live in Hawaii so it costs a lot of money to do anything here.)
Other things that come to mind:
- Application fees for any apt/house you're applying to (varies pretty widely on amount, but I've paid up to $75). This is separate from the security deposit and 1st month's rent and is non-refundable usually.
- Connection fees/set-up costs for internet, trash, water, electric, gas. Many require deposits equal to a normal month's bill, but usually this info is easy to find if you poke around their websites. If you're not sure what company to look at, ask the apartments for a list of providers. Also ask what's included in the rent itself because these things can inflate your CoL significantly even if your rent seems low.
- Kitchen appliances, although check with future roommate so no duplication happens. Often you have to buy/bring your own microwave!
- Related: kitchen staples like spices, oil, parchment paper, foil, etc.
- Moving costs is kind of vague, so break that down into truck rental, labor, any equipment rental (dollies, pads, etc.)
- Pet deposit? If you have one.
- Parking spot fees - some apartments will charge you for parking, especially covered/garage
- Laundry? Sometimes it's free/included in your rent, other times you have to bring coins or buy a pre-paid card.
FYI the Zinus 12" mattress is on sale at Amazon right now for $170. But you have to unwrap it within 48 hours so it might not be the best pre-move purchase! It is normally around $280. I love mine and feel it is great bang for my buck.
I spent around $200 at the grocery store my first night in my first apartment (paid for by mom, thanks mom) on pantry staples and paper supplies like trash bags, ziplock, paper towels, etc. As well as some storage containers for flour and whatnot and a mop and broom. Each individual thing wasn't very costly but it added up, and a lot of those things are things you can't get by without for very long.
If you have an IKEA near you, they have some great kitchen starter sets. They aren't the best quality things you've ever had, but they will get you going until you're more established and can afford nicer stuff. Or do what I did and keep a part-time gig at Bed Bath and Beyond. :) I have some SUPER fancy very high quality stuff I paid manufacturers price for 14 (gulp) years ago, and it has lasted very well.
And reiterating the renters insurance. It'll feel like wasted money but it's not. The thing about apartments is that they are not all in your control. You can check to make sure you turned off your stove, but you can't ensure your neighbor did. So insure your stuff!
Another thing to keep in mind - and I wouldn't necessarily stress about saving for this BEFORE your move, but something to think about having a plan for saving up for next! - as a renter with roommates in particular, it can be very useful to have a backup "escape" fund ( Michele calls this a Get Out of Dodge fund!), just in case. This might also be part of your more general emergency funds, just something to keep in mind.
With any luck, you'll find a great apartment with great roommates that you'll get along with well (or at least, be able to peacefully coexist with)! :)
BUT - you also might find that the roommate(s) you thought would be wonderful are actually hellish to live with, or maybe the roommates are great but the landlord/neighbors/building/something else is unlivable about the situation. Having a little extra financial flexibility can help you feel less trapped in such a situation - hopefully unnecessary, but just in case! :)
Renter's insurance is an essential. If you don't already have it in place, get it now. No excuses. It's $200-ish a year, and you can bundle it in with your car insurance. It will replace your possessions if stolen or destroyed, cover you in the event of negligence or liability, and pay for emergency housing in the event of catastrophe. I once stood on the sidewalk and watched the apartment across the street from mine literally burn while the tenants wearing pajamas stood watching everything they owned burn up.
A Get out of Dodge! fund is a life-saver. Without it, you will stay in an untenable situation because you are too broke to leave when you really should get out because the situation has become toxic, crazy, unsafe, or unhygienic (i.e. vermin, bugs, mold). There is no guarantee that your roommates don't have a hidden side to their mental health you never noticed, or that their drug-addled sibling or best friend from high school won't show up for a couple of nights that turns your life into a month-long soap opera (or longer), or that their perfectly charming boyfriend or girlfriend just.never.goes.home.again.
On one occasion I had to cover the entire rent and utilities for a month when a roommate moved out without warning on the second last day of the month leaving me to pay the entire rent and utilities on my own. It takes more than a day to clean and find a replacement roommate.
All you guys are thinking farther ahead then I am and I'm so glad I made a thread for my question! So far I have gleaned:
- I need to keep paying my renter's insurance (brownie points for me since I've been on top of that).
- I should save enough to have a "Get Out of Dodge" fund just in case I encounter unforeseen circumstances.
- Look for deals on essentials when moving and save for the first night grocery list.
Thank you for the information and if anyone has anything else to add please let me know!
The whole process needs to be carefully planned. Here are some good posts explaining all the possible moving costs. Maybe you'll find some other points you haven't considered or taken into account. Also, they suggest some good ways to cut costs:
Not an expense but a piece of advice from someone who has moved quite often, Army Brat. Pack a bag with toilet paper, any meds, light bulbs, change of clothes, shower curtain, tools for assembling any furniture and pet supplies if need and keep that in the passenger compartment of the car where you know where it is at, that way you have it.
So recently I had to have a very serious conversation with the person I was thinking about renting an apartment with. We had been joking about getting a place together until last month my friend said "We should actually do this," and I replied "Yes, I think so too" and I honestly thought that was that.
... Until a couple of weeks ago when I was talking to the same friend about moving and she decides to tell me her boyfriend (of two months) would like to move in with us too and she said yes. I was taken completely off guard and I don't say anything but she was so excited that the three of us were moving in together I decided to just try and cope with the situation.
Until last Sunday.
I was hanging out again with said friend and her boyfriend and my friend casually looks over at me and asks, "How do you feel about cats?" I tell her I had owned one in the past and I generally liked them but I wasn't going to get one in Hawaii because I was done living with pets. She then informs me, "Well, boyfriend and I are going to get a cat together after we all move in to the new apartment." And I think that was the point I decided that I had had enough.
So, this week I texted my friend/potential roommate to let her know that we needed to have a face-to-face conversation about moving in together and how upset I was at all of these changes she had made without even bothering to ask me about them first. She agrees and we sit down and I let her know that I was not moving into an apartment with her boyfriend, I do not want to live with a pet, and her behavior to just change whatever she wanted without a discussion concerned me into believing that this roommate situation wouldn't work out.
However, after we talked we decided we would still move in together and she could still get a cat if her boyfriend didn't come and live with us but I'm still wary about that decision. I don't know guys, I feel like I'm being used. I can pay a lot in rent due to how much I make in Hawaii and the feeling I can't shake is that this friend just wants to live with someone who can take a large portion of the rent so she doesn't have to worry about it. I mean, it sounded like when she thought her boyfriend was going to come live with us that it was okay to just get a cat without asking me even though I was going to live there too.
I just don't know how I feel about this living situation anymore.