Starting the journey to find your dream apartment is an exciting time. Figuring out your budget and what apartment fits best into your life is an important first step. By calculating how much rent you can afford, you can explore a range of apartments and find the perfect one that fits your preferences and budget.
This rent calculator will help you find an apartment within your budget. Tell us where you'd like to live, how many bedrooms you're looking for and your annual income (before taxes). Then we'll crunch the numbers to help you find a new home you can afford.
Most finance experts would recommend paying no more than 30 percent of gross (before tax) monthly income for rent. Another target is to spend no more than 50 percent of net income (after taxes) on rent, utilities and all other monthly living expenses. However, there is no one-size-fits-all model, and the best way to decide is to write out exactly how much you earn, how much you spend on living expenses and how much you want to save for the future.
The 50-20-30 rule is a recommendation for how to spend percentages of your after-tax income. According to this rule, you should put 50 percent towards "needs" (rent, bills, groceries and the like), 20 percent towards savings and 30 percent towards "wants," like shopping, hobbies, traveling and going out to eat.
It is recommended to consider net income rather than gross income, as tax rates vary depending on factors like state, city, income level and family size (dependents). While gross income is easier to calculate, using net income provides an accurate evaluation of what you can afford.
Rent: To save up without knowing the exact amount of rent, a general rule of thumb is to set aside 30 percent of your paycheck. However, if you know the precise rent amount, it's better to deduct the exact sum from each paycheck. For instance, if you receive your pay every two weeks, subtract half of your monthly rent payment from each paycheck.
On $50,000 a year, you're making $4,167 gross per month. Taking 30 percent of that, you are able to afford up to $1,250 per month in rent.
On $75,000 a year, you're making $6,250 gross per month. Taking 30 percent of that, you are able to afford up to $1,875 per month in rent.
On $100,000 a year, you're making $8,333 gross per month. Taking 30 percent of that, you are able to afford up to $2,500 per month in rent.
On $125,000 a year, you're making $10,417 gross per month. Taking 30% of that, you are able to afford up to $3,125 per month in rent.
Utilities and other expenses: Utility costs can really vary. It's helpful to review your bills from the past three months and calculate the average cost of each bill, including electricity, gas, water and internet. Add up the total average cost of these expenses and divide it by the number of paychecks you receive per month. This will give you an idea of how much to set aside from each paycheck.
While splitting the rent 50-50 may seem fair and straightforward, it may not be the best for everyone. For instance, if one roommate has a substantially bigger bedroom, it may be reasonable for them to pay a slightly higher rate. In any case, it's important to have an open discussion with your roommate before moving in and document your decision in a roommate agreement to avoid any potential conflicts in the future.
Calculating how much rent you can afford before embarking on your apartment search is essential. While it may be easy to get carried away, calculating beforehand helps set realistic expectations, enable better planning, ensure financial security and empowers you to make smart choices.
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