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Money Matters
How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Tue May 14, 2013 09:42 PM

Hey all!

I'm entering a grad program, and will be doing one school year of in-person course work. Next May, I will be moving (home to Minneapolis, yay!) with around $6,700 in savings, no debt and maybe no job lined up, to do my internships. I'm not all THAT worried about finding a job, because I'll have a lot of connections and I have years of retail experience, particularly in natural food stores (there are dozens in the metro area, and all are hiring every time I look).

Obviously I will be actively job searching in the few months prior, and I expect I'll have a job lined up but it's not something I can count on so I'm planning ahead to maximize my money. I can get a studio in my favorite location for about $625 a month with everything except cable and electricity included. I'll be a 10ish minute drive from my grandparents, cousin and most of my friends, I'll be able to take public transportation anywhere I need to go.

I'm just very nervous, because this is a big leap. I've looked, and in order to get cheaper rent, I'd have to downgrade to a more dangerous area or move FAR out into the suburbs.

One internship would run May-July, the other August-December, and each is only a 10-15 hour a week commitment, so I can easily work 30+ hours a week and bring in enough to cover living expenses and rent, but it'll be tight.

Since people always ask what other options are, I have pretty much just one other. I could stay in my college town where I have a part-time job already for the May-July internship and then move in with my parents to their new house, even further south (and still have no job lined up) to do the August-December one. The problems? I miss my home...Minneapolis is my favorite place ever, my best friends live there, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live there. The thought of delaying my move by several months is HARD. I love my college town, but it's not home. Also, I have to be thinking of my future career. By interning in the city I plan to live/work in long-term, I'll be forming much more useful connections. Finally, I have the fear that if I stay, I'll be offered a job here and won't be able to bring myself to turn it down.

Phew, that was long. I guess I'm asking...am I being completely stupid? My dad would prefer me to move in with them and ultimately get a job in their town, but my mom is on board with me moving. Ultimately, I know they'll support me emotionally, and they'd help out financially if push came to shove. This is just a huge decision and I want some validation.

Also, if anyone else has crazy move stories, PLEASE share them so I don't feel alone :D

18 Replies to How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.

re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Tue May 14, 2013 09:55 PM
I honestly think you'll be ok. Assuming you spend around $1000 a month on all your expenses, you've got more than 6 months savings. That should be plenty of time to find a job, even if you have to do an internship first. And as you said, you can work and intern at the same time. Right now I'm in a bit of a nerve wracking situation as I need to find a new job and my rent is twice as high as yours will be. I'm blowing through my savings right now, luckily I finally got my tax return so that will cover June's rent and I hope that some opportunity will come in soon, or I might start temping. I think you are freaking out too soon. From what you have said, the master's program is good about helping you find jobs and not saturating an industry. You also have plenty of time to prepare. That was my saving grace as I had known since Election Day that my job wouldn't be forever so I had time to save and prepare before it ended. You have a whole year, a great amount of savings already. Your rental price is amazing, though I know it's all about location. I totally understand not wanting to move back home, I am avoiding that at all costs now too. It will be OK, you are in a really good place already! Enjoy your master's program, don't worry about jobs and moving and all that until March or so.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6414, member since Sat May 15, 2004
On Tue May 14, 2013 09:57 PM
I live in a midwestern college town and pay $675 for older one bedroom apartment that is probably about 500-600 sq ft. That includes heat and water but not electricty/air conditioning or cable/internet. I know the one you are looking at is a studio but it sounds like a really great deal and convenient location....really important in my opinion. I have driven in MPLS rush hour and it was surprisingly horrible. I don't think you are crazy at all. I would go for it. You have a decent amount in savings and you can always drop cable TV at least and your utilities in a studio apartment should be minimal. I think you would be miserable if you stayed where you are at.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Tue May 14, 2013 10:25 PM
I think you have enough saved. One weeks pay, ideally, should be what you pay for rent (or, rather 1/4 of your monthly income) - utilities included. If you will be looking for the same sort of job you have now, you already have an idea of what to expect pay wise.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Tue May 14, 2013 10:42 PM
majere wrote:

I think you have enough saved. One weeks pay, ideally, should be what you pay for rent (or, rather 1/4 of your monthly income) - utilities included. If you will be looking for the same sort of job you have now, you already have an idea of what to expect pay wise.


This is what makes me nervous. With utilities, I'd be looking at somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of my income being rent/utilities/internet :? I guess that the point of this is to ask how many people actually go by "the rules". My mom says to fully expect half of my income to go to rent while I'm doing these internships and not working a grown up job, but I always hear the 1/4th rule...
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Tue May 14, 2013 10:56 PM
Even with my old job I wasn't going by those rules. I was paying more than 1/2 towards rent and utilities. I live in an expensive city where until you have 5 years of experience, the pay is really low. As long as I was breaking even it was OK. I'm hoping to get a new job that pays better than the last but we'll see. I think those rules are important when you are older, have a family, etc. But when you are just starting out living pay check to pay check isn't the worst thing in the world. Obvisouly there are emergencies that you want to save for just in case. However, I think you mentioned being close to public transit. It seems a lot of people's unexpected money emergencies come from car trouble so thats good that it won't be something you have to worry about. It's not something I worry about either.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6414, member since Sat May 15, 2004
On Tue May 14, 2013 11:09 PM
I spend half my money on rent and utilities as well.I agree with moonlight...what are your other expenses: car? car insurance? gas? health insurance? cell phone bill? Those are some big time money sucks that may or might apply to you depending on your parent's and their insurance, etc.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Tue May 14, 2013 11:11 PM
Kekoa wrote:



This is what makes me nervous. With utilities, I'd be looking at somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of my income being rent/utilities/internet :? I guess that the point of this is to ask how many people actually go by "the rules". My mom says to fully expect half of my income to go to rent while I'm doing these internships and not working a grown up job, but I always hear the 1/4th rule...


As long as you don't do a lot of frivolous spending, I think you would be fine.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Tue May 14, 2013 11:45 PM
I'll have a car, but ideally won't be driving it much. My health insurance is totally set until I turn 26 in late 2015. Mom has said she'll continue to pay my car insurance while I'm interning and my cell phone is part of a family plan. The more I look through it all, the better I'm feeling. Especially hearing that some of you, around my age, are paying way more than 1/4th your monthly income in rent.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Tue May 14, 2013 11:58 PM
Don't forget deposits. Those add up in your total expenses.

Moving stories - Son moved into his first apartment about three years ago. He moves in (partially) and after about three weeks, the management was replacing the roof and a big storm comes while the roof is off. The ceiling collapsed in several units, lots of water damage. All the residents were evacuated in a matter of hours. The building was unlivable til they repaired it, which took over a month. Most of the residents were put up in a local motel, but since son was between jobs and school and hadn't even finished moving in yet, he just came back home. But then we had the chore of moving him back in when repairs were complete. It was quite the back and forth summer. Fortunately, none of his stuff was damaged since we hadn't got him renter's insurance yet. They did waive that month's rent, along with paying for temp housing, so it all worked out in the long run, but gosh, what a pain all that was!

kk~
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Wed May 15, 2013 01:37 PM
kandykane wrote:

Don't forget deposits. Those add up in your total expenses.

Moving stories - Son moved into his first apartment about three years ago. He moves in (partially) and after about three weeks, the management was replacing the roof and a big storm comes while the roof is off. The ceiling collapsed in several units, lots of water damage. All the residents were evacuated in a matter of hours. The building was unlivable til they repaired it, which took over a month. Most of the residents were put up in a local motel, but since son was between jobs and school and hadn't even finished moving in yet, he just came back home. But then we had the chore of moving him back in when repairs were complete. It was quite the back and forth summer. Fortunately, none of his stuff was damaged since we hadn't got him renter's insurance yet. They did waive that month's rent, along with paying for temp housing, so it all worked out in the long run, but gosh, what a pain all that was!

kk~


That's why I'm a little nervous about my savings...a hefty chunk will go towards deposit, first/last month's rent, setting up cable, etc. Also, my first apartment had a burst pipe that caused our ceiling to collapse! It was SUCH a mess, and it was only in the bathroom...I can't imagine having to deal with what your son did!
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6075, member since Tue Dec 20, 2005
On Wed May 15, 2013 03:03 PM
Kekoa wrote:

setting up cable, etc.

I know you didn't mention this as a concern before, but your most recent post just made me think of it - do you really need cable? If you're talking internet, then I totally understand why you'd want that, but if it's cable TV, is that maybe something you could live without for a while to save on monthly costs? Just an idea.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Wed May 15, 2013 04:12 PM
The way the bundled packages are, I've found you may as well just get cable with your internet. My roommate and I went to Comcast with the plan to cancel cable and keep the internet. If we did that, our internet price would have gone up a ton so keeping the cable didn't really cost us that much. Especially for your first 6 months, you can usually get a really good deal. Obviously it's not something everyone needs, but I totally understand wanting to have it.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Munkensteinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 14381, member since Mon Aug 11, 2003
On Wed May 15, 2013 07:28 PM
^It varies widely by region, so everybody should do their own research. I'm saving about $70/month by having just internet. Once the promo price expires and it goes up I'll still be coming out ahead. It really depends on the company.

My advice, for what it's worth, is to go for it. It sounds like you're thinking everything through, making plans, and you'll end up just fine! What you said makes sense about being where you want to be sooner rather than later. That rent amount sounds pretty average to me...I live in a place with really low living costs so do with that what you will. In the $600s is about what you'd expect to pay for a one bedroom or a studio in a lot of places around here and it's usually reasonable for what you get. Plus some utilities are included, like water, trash, and sewer costs, which is nice. It sounds like you really want to do it...so do it!
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Wed May 15, 2013 07:55 PM
To avoid making another thread, has anyone here, by chance, dealt with financial aid stuff? The whole reason I'm getting a masters is because it is 100% paid for by the state government (dad is a disabled veteran). In addition, I got an assistantship. I get paid $3,100 a semester to work 10 hours a week, so that's $6,200 in the bank next May (I'll be working my retail job just enough to pay for groceries and gas). However, another benefit of the assistantship is that half of my tuition is covered. The only thing my scholarship advisor could tell me is that if there is a balance on your account, they mail out checks to you. I looked on my school's website, and it's apparently common because they have a date listed for "mailing scholarship/financial aid excess checks." I'm not counting on the money, but it'd obviously remove all stress to have it. Any idea how common it is to get money back?
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By RattyPattymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4261, member since Mon Dec 29, 2003
On Sun May 26, 2013 11:37 AM
When I get excess in financial aid my university usually asks you to sign something determining whether or not you would like to receive the money after the first 2 weeks or whatever of classes, or to keep it in your account. I usually ask for them to release the funds to me, because I don't have any other charges to my account for the entire semester. I also had to add a direct deposit to my student account so it goes directly to my bank, which is generally a lot quicker than them issuing the check. So long story short, I usually get my excess about 2-4 weeks after the semester starts.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By saaammiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 440, member since Thu Apr 01, 2010
On Sun May 26, 2013 12:04 PM
$675 is a pretty steep rent, but in a major city, I'm not surprised. And you sound like you have a really good plan, enough savings and a good change of getting a job; you should be fine! :)

Rents where I live are around $600-700 for a studio, IF you're lucky. Centrally located apartments are usually a lot more, easily over $1000. For example, the dorm rooms offered by my school are $910/month.

As for the 1/4 of your income in rent... Well, I guess that's never true for students ;) The grant+loan we get from the gov't is $1300/month... We don't pay tuition, thankfully, but I don't think I have a single friend who manages the 1/4-rule.


Opps. Long rant.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Sun May 26, 2013 09:49 PM
I've caught a bit of a lucky break in that I'll be able to stay with my grandparents when I first get there. I wasn't going to ask, because I don't want to impose, but she told my mom today that I should stay with them for a month or two, so that I can secure a job first and then have the time to apartment hunt in person. Obviously it's not my dream to live with my grandparents, but we're very close and it'd be nice to spend a few weeks with them while I get situated.

So, at least the job thing won't be a concern :)

I have to wait until early to mid August to see about the tuition excess. I have my account set up for direct deposit online already. I asked one of my coworkers, and she says they used to mail out checks but now just deposit the excess, you don't have the option of keeping a balance. Fingers crossed!

Grad school starts Tuesday, I'm so nervous/excited. I've been casually browsing Craigslist in Minneapolis (no school and only working 22 hours a week is BORING) and I've seen a few more pop up in the $700s range that include all utilities. So, it looks like I'll have some good options to choose from.
re: How much should I be spending on rent? Or, a long panic-filled post.
By millysmommy Comments: 847, member since Tue Jun 09, 2009
On Mon May 27, 2013 12:24 AM
Edited by millysmommy (212564) on 2013-05-27 00:26:58
Sounds like you've got it figured out pretty well. But you asked for crazy moving stories so i thought I'd share.

I hated where I lived when I was a teen and finally when I was 17 I had a plan. I fell in love with the idea of the current state I now live in, even though I had never been to it. So I found a map, closed my eyes and pointed to a town in the area I wanted to go. I started saving everything I could from my little part time mall job and three months after my 18th birthday I packed some stuff, took 2,000$ I had saved and traveled 2,300 miles to live in an apartment I found by requesting a local paper be mailed to me with no job prospects what so ever (or really any idea about the town besides what i could find out by calling around locally, and the internet (though back then there wasn't as much available on the internet as now.) Now granted this was a long time ago, prices for everything have gone up immensely since then - but it was the best thing I have ever done.

Now what I did is for sure not for everybody, but sometimes when there is a life path you really believe in you just have to jump in and trust that it will be okay -rules schmools :P and the best time to do that is when you are still young and it's only you depending on yourself and you still have family that will help out if it doesn't all turn out okay.

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