If you’re new to living on your own and are a first-time renter, it may be difficult getting used to paying and budgeting for rent. In fact, a Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of Americans maintain a household budget. To be on top of the budget game, it’s important to track and record your earnings and expenses.
Follow these tips for managing a monthly budget as a renter.
Take into consideration all the expenses you’ll expect while living in your new space. Not every rented residence offers free utilities. Electricity, gas, water, internet, garbage—they add up quickly if you’re not paying close attention.
Schedule utility payments through direct-payment programs. You’ll never have to worry about late payments again. This will also help you save your checks, save on postage and mailing and make sure you’ll never incur a late fee again. Some extra saved cash goes a long way if you do this each month.
Do the Math
It may feel a little intimidating, but simply totaling your finances and subtracting your expenses is very important. It's never a bad idea tallying up your monthly bills, however scary they may be. Also, monthly budgets are rarely stagnant—they’re flexible, so don’t be surprised if your expenses change. Gas and water usage are expected to change with every season. Keeping tabs on your spending is always encouraged. Emergencies and accidents happen, but by budgeting you can make sure all your costs are cared for when the unexpected happens.
Once you've taken all your expenses into consideration, you should manage where your money is going and why it's going to those places. Using budgeting tools like finance apps are extremely helpful for organizing and prioritizing bills. Or you can go old-school and write down your budgets with a good, old-fashioned financial planner. Simply having a well-documented budget will help you with your financial planning, spending and saving. Knowing and documenting where your money is at all times is an easy thing to reference, in case any unexpected charges or fees come your way. Never get burned by accidental charges or fees ever again.