Renting an apartment can be difficult, especially if it’s your first time. It can be tough not knowing what to look out for and where to start. Here are a few tips to help make your first time living in your own apartment go smoothly.

Insurance

Renters insurance is an unknown topic for most first-timers. The idea of insurance for your apartment might sound unnecessary, but it is a good system to set up for any scenario. Start by researching insurance companies and setting up a monthly payment at a low cost. Having renters insurance protects you in cases of break-ins to recover or help pay for stolen items. It can also help cover any damage caused by unpredictable weather or bodily injuries.

Maintenance and organization

Maintaining an organized space at all times is neither easy nor realistic for college students. It can be difficult if you’re running late to class or trying to catch up on assignments. However, allocating time to clean and create a daily routine is beneficial.

An effective way to ensure your study space is neat and tidy without interrupting your daily routine is to clean during study breaks. Shuffling your favorite playlist and setting a timer can make the process more productive and enjoyable.

Explore student discounts and deals

Many companies and online services often do their best to offer deals for college students so they aren’t putting a dent in their bank accounts. Internet service is crucial to have as a student. Some internet services, such as Spectrum, offer a great one-year deal for college students. Whether you're on your own or with roommates, taking advantage of these discounts will ensure that your internet bill is the least of your worries.

Other applications like Spotify offer a $4.99 student deal where you get the music you want without advertisements. Spotify will also provide you with two other streaming services— Hulu and Showtime.

Second-hand finds

Furnishing your first apartment is not a cheap task. Shopping in second-hand stores or flea markets will be your best friend when furnishing on a budget.

Facebook Marketplace is another great alternative where people near your area list their lightly used items at an affordable price. However, asking questions regarding the item of interest is important. Another way to ensure you receive your item is by negotiating a two-payment plan. In a two-payment plan, the first payment is through the app and the second payment is in person after receiving the item. If you still feel unsure and want to see the item before purchasing, ask the seller for photos. Most sellers should agree to accept payments in person.

Budgeting for groceries

With so many expenses as a first-time renter, budgeting is crucial. Some programs will help students when buying groceries. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, is a food stamp program that gives you a certain amount of money every month that you can spend on groceries. Students between 18 and 49 enrolled in college are eligible for SNAP.

An alternative is to set up your own budget for groceries, but by doing so, hold yourself accountable. If you become lenient and tell yourself that it’s OK to go over it continuously, you’ll end up short on other expenses.

Create a timeline

If you already know you will be living in an apartment, it’s a good idea to plan when you’ll buy your items in advance. Try browsing more than one store because you might find something at a lower price later on. There are often great offers at the beginning of the school year, so it might be better to wait and buy more valuable items then.

Smaller miscellaneous items can be found in bulk at home stores, such as Ikea and Costco.

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