That first move out into the real world can come with a few shocks, but may also be accompanied by some valuable lessons. My future wife and I moved into our first real apartment together after college and found it a wonderful, albeit financially strenuous time. Things were new, exciting, and while money was tight, we had some great times together.
We learned a few valuable financial lessons from that first apartment experience together. Here are some of the most important.
Asking Questions Pays
You just never know what you might learn or what you might get by asking questions regarding the apartment or apartments in which you are interested.
In our first apartment experience, by asking questions and being diligent in our apartment investigation process before we made a decision, we ended up getting an apartment with a fireplace and balcony (both items which were usually accompanied by additional fees) completely free.
Look for Included Items
That first apartment came with inclusive items such as free water/sewer service, free trash pickup, access to a free workout facility, and free parking. These inclusive items cut the cost of our rent and made for a valuable lesson that we should look for such items in future apartment searches.
When we moved into later apartments, and even as we search for an apartment now, keeping an eye out for places that include items such as free heat, free parking, free water and trash pickup, and similar items can help us maximize our rent dollar and keep costs low.
Find Entertainment Close to Home
That first apartment offered a variety of things to do that were in close proximity to the apartment or within the apartment complex itself. There was a walking trail around the lake, a pool, tennis courts, a workout facility, and an indoor basketball court (we were in Indiana).
Such venues helped us keep costs low and made for cheap and convenient entertainment. The staff also held pool parties in the warmer months and offered things like movie nights in the clubhouse -- plus there were always fresh baked cookies there that made for a treat when heading inside to pay the rent -- which made for fun yet affordable things to do close to home, something we continued to look for in later apartment locations.
Leave it Like We Found it
Knock on wood, we've lived in four different apartment complexes or buildings and we've yet to be assessed any damages or repairs that have been deducted from our security deposit. We made sure that when we left that first apartment -- and every apartment after that -- to do our best to leave it looking as it did upon our arrival. This way we covered ourselves from additional costs related to unacceptable wear and tear upon the unit.
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