How Much Money Should I Save Before Looking to Rent?

Looking to get your own place for the first time? While you’re probably excited to reach this major goal that you’ve been thinking about for much of your life, to enjoy quiet, freedom, and no one telling you what to do, if you aren’t prepared you could find yourself having to move back in with your parents before you’ve even unpacked all the boxes.

Rental costs

Just because you have enough cash in your bank account to pay the rent on one of those enticing Dallas apartments or an apartment anywhere else doesn’t mean you have enough to move out. Of course, you probably know that already which is why you’re asking how much money you should save first.

Moving into your first place isn’t as cheap as you might think as there are several hidden expenses many people don’t consider. So how much money do you need?

Moving Costs

Depending on the amount of stuff you have and how far away you’re moving, the cost of doing so will vary. Oz Moving notes that for a studio apartment it usually runs between $420 and $700, or $700 to $1,100 for a one-bedroom. But maybe you don’t have much to move since you’re just starting out. Even if you do, many people moving for the first time get friends or family to help instead, but you’ll still probably need to rent a truck.


When moving into your first place, you’ve got to furnish it so be sure and budget for that. You can keep costs down significantly by purchasing items from Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, thrift stores and the like.


Some apartments include utilities which can help simplify your budget, but usually electricity isn’t included, and you might have to pay for gas and/or water too. Another thing to consider if you haven’t been able to build your credit is that setting up some utilities initially may require a deposit. You’ll want to factor all of that into your budget.

Other Expenses

There are usually other monthly expenses too, like Internet and cable. You might want to consider streaming rather than cable as it’s much cheaper. Some apartment complexes require you to carry renter’s insurance which covers all of your belongings (in the apartment) in case of damage or theft and comes at a relatively low cost. Even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea to have it and you can cut the cost even more by bundling it with your car insurance coverage if you have a vehicle.

Fees, Deposits and Rent

You’ll probably need to pay an application fee (up to $100), a credit check fee (up to $50), and a background check fee ($40 to $75) before you’re approved for the apartment. Before you get the keys, typically you’ll pay one month’s rent (sometimes the last month’s rent too) plus a security deposit. If you have a pet there will probably be a pet fee and pet deposit. After the initial costs, the amount of rent should stay the same throughout the duration of the rental contract.


All of that will get you into your apartment, but in addition to furniture you’ll need cleaning supplies and cooking essentials which can add up when starting from scratch. To fill up your pantry and cabinets with items like cooking oil, flour, sugar, seasonings, condiments, peanut butter, and canned foods as well as aluminum foil, sandwich bags, paper towels, garbage bags, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner and so on, plan on spending around $150 to $200 or more.

Now, do the math. On top of all that, you should save extra in case of an emergency, job lay off, or other unexpected circumstances so that you’ll have enough to at least pay the rent for a month or two.


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