At the end of the week, my current job will be ending, and I will be moving to Boston. Finally getting out of my parents' house. The main reason I am moving to Boston is that it is the nearest city with decent public transportation. I can't drive, so public transportation is probably the biggest criterion for where I live.
Anyways, the other biggest criterion is the rent. I think I could handle something around $500/bedroom/month, but I am having a hard time finding things which are less than $1000/bedroom/month. The thing is, I am not really sure what a reasonable expectation is for rent. My current job, I make around $400/week. I think I will be lucky if I am able to get that much in the future given my short employment history. I have heard that your monthly rent should be equal to one week's pay. But, I'm guessing that this estimate applies to people who have cars and drive them regularly.
Those of you who have apartments, what do you think? If I'm making $400/week, and have no car, what would be a reasonable maximum I should set on rent?
I have found a few possibilities on craigslist.com. Much better than looking through the newspaper, anyways.
What you need to do is compare your income to your expenses... that will answer your questions.
Try to find out how much you will need each month to live. Include things like rent; credit card payments; food; utilities; etc. These are all part of your overhead. Then, you'll have a rough idea of how much you need to make in order to cover that overhead. Obviously, not having a car means you can dedicate a larger percentage of your income to rent, and still have the same money leftover for things like food and entertainment and bus passes. But, it's really up to you to make your own budget because you are the most knowledgable person when it comes to how you spend money.
Remember to use your take-home pay instead of your actual wage rate when calculating income. That way, you don't have to worry about forgetting to account for taxes and stuff.
Are your parents the kind of people who might be able to help you out while you make the transition?
GPBH gives some very good advice here in that the price you pay for an apartment should really be thought out as a part of a comprehensive budget. I can't express enough though, that it's important that you try and create a budget that will allow you to put away at least $100 a month into savings as a buffer for those "just in case" thingies. When you're young though, it can be exceedingly hard to put money way as most jobs only give you enough to live paycheck to paycheck.
Some other options you might consider...
Renting a room out in a persons house. You can usually get one a little cheaper with having access to a kitchen, etc.
Having roommates - if you can find someone or a few people you can trust.
Consider working a couple jobs (this will help to give you a bit extra to start socking away the money you might need).
The biggest thing I wish that I could have done when I was younger, was to curb my "impulsive" buying nature. I've since developed a very good amount of self control with regards to my spending, but back then, it was hard for me to keep within a budget - and I got into financial troubles as a result of it.
Either way - good luck to you Tech, and you're entering into a potentially exciting phase of life as you venture out on your own and begin the journey to independence.
You want to live in Boston on under 2000/month? Get ready to make some serious sacrifices. I've lived here for a few years, so I can give you some aid.
Boston is a big place, and the price range varies considerably from area to area. Mass transit is available throughout the city, but if you are working in, say, the downtown financial district, you may need to swap trains midway through. That could mean a lot of waiting on platforms and hideous crowds in the morning and evening.
It will not be possible for you to live in an apartment for under 1000/month unless you are willing to live
1) outside of the city significantly, i.e. the suburbs. Pros are it's cheaper and safer. Cons are whatever you save in rent, you'll lose in transit fees. Plus, unlike the city, the suburbs are not walking friendly; getting food, going out, and so on will be more difficult.
2) live in a studio/small apartment. Pros are you're on your own and can do what you want. Cons are for 800/month, you'll get about 500 square feet if you're lucky. The buildings that house these extra-cheap (sic) apartments are often dirty and in unsafe neighborhoods. They may include heat and hot water, but you'll still need to shell out for electricity, phone, gas (for cooking, sometimes), internet, and mass transit.
3) live with a group of people. Many pros: instant friends, wider range of living situations, split bills, much cheaper. Cons: you can get stuck with weirdos. You can get stuck living in slum-like multi-families. You will probably end up with students.
My advice is the last option: my friends have done the roommate thing and it has, for the most part, worked out. My advice is to go through craig's list and meet with your potential roommate's beforehand, then go apartment hunting. Do you have a job lined up already? I can list some more specific areas and prices once you give me a bit more to work with.
Let's talk expenses: an all-city pass costs about 55 a month. Unlimited rides on subway and bus. Both are awful, but better than nothing. I spend about 30/month on electricity, but I am running two tanks and a fan much of the time. I don't cook much, so I spend 10 on gas a month (and 9.50 is just provider fees). If you get a land line, you'll spend 20-30/month on basic service. Cell phones depend on the plan you get. Basic cable modem, which I prefer to DSL, is about 55/month plus the cost of the modem, but that's a luxury. You can eat cheaply. Other things to think about include renter's and health insurance, moving expenses (furniture, boxes, etc), and the occasional movie.
I manage to do it all, but I don't have much left over.
As Anyee states, it's a matter of location and preference for where you want to live...
It's notoriously expensive to live in a larger city. A great example of price variance is here in Yakima (which is about 2 hours from Seattle. In Yakima, I have a 2-bedroom duplex in a safe part of town and pay only $535/mo. for rent. In Seattle, a 2-bedroom apartment would cost me anywhere from $1100 (dirt cheap and probably in an unsafe part of town) to over $2000 for a decent apartment. My girlfriend is paying $1000 for a 2-bedroom in East Bellevue.
Some cities are more expensive than others (I've heard that Boston and NY are among some of the worst for not only prices, but simply being able to actually find a place!).
I'd encourage you to consider the roommate thing as Anyee talks about. For your income situation, it's probably going to be the most economically feasible at this point in time.
Also... here's my chance to nag on ya Tech... GET YER BUTT BACK IN SCHOOL! *thus public nag-announcement brought to you by LunarSolaris*
I am aiming for one of the suburbs, actually. It would need to be near public transportation, though. I don't have a problem with tolerating a longer commute.
I don't have a job lined up yet. I tried doing this whole thing in that order last year, but it proved to be too inefficient to travel all the way into Boston every time I had a couple jobs lined up that I was interested in applying for. I probably spent over $500 on commuter rail tickets that summer & fall just going in to apply for jobs. This time, I am just going to go, and when I move there, my immediate full-time job will be finding a job.
Anyways, I did get some useful advice here, so thanks.