Rounding Out Your Budget

If you’re getting ready to move into your first apartment, there’s more to budget for than just rent and utilities. Having space for your car, insuring your personal belongings, and setting up technology are all important too. Here is some more info to help you get started!


These days, internet is likely to be the very first thing you’ll be wanting to set up in your new place! In addition to the entertainment value it can provide, internet service can be essential to have while you’re going to school. Whether you opt for cable, satellite, fiber, or another option, make sure you have contacted your service provider of choice ahead of time to schedule installation.

Rates vary widely by region and by type and speed of service, but average about $90 per month. Regardless, you can expect to pay at least $20 each month before taxes, fees, and equipment rental.

If you have wireless service, make sure you choose a strong password for your network. Inadvertently sharing your bandwidth can slow down your own service.


Right behind internet service (or even together with internet service) is television. While the standard that people often gravitate toward is still conventional cable television service, many options are available for getting TV in your new home.

Satellite, antenna, and a whole host of streaming services are all popular alternatives to cable service. Take some time to review the options available in your area. Apartment complexes can usually provide a list of providers who are known to be available specifically in their units.

Remember that while an antenna is a one-time cost, streaming services are typically paid on a month-to-month basis. Cable and satellite contracts are more likely to have monthly fees but with a year-long contract—often with fees for cancelling early. Costs can range anywhere from $5 per month for some streaming services to over $100 per month for some cable packages.


The cost of parking can be easily forgotten! But if you’ve got a car, it needs a space to stay too. Your new apartment complex may include parking—either in an open lot, a covered garage, or an assigned space—as part of your rent or for an additional fee.

Depending on the location of your new place, you may also be able to consider garage parking, metered parking, or other reserved parking. Keep in mind that having an established place to park can help provide protection for your car and also save you time getting to and from your vehicle.

Renter’s insurance

Many apartment complexes require proof of renter’s insurance in order to sign a lease. But it’s a good idea to have even if they don’t! Renter’s insurance protects your own possessions and personal property, as well as your liability.

Renter’s insurance policies are typically underwritten for one year, with premiums paid either annually or monthly. The average annual cost for a renter’s insurance policy is about $150, or about $12.50 each month.


Budgeting for independent living isn’t as straight forward as just considering your rent, but hopefully these categories will help you round out your budget!

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