Adulting: 7 First Apartment Expenses

7 first apartment expenses

Adulting: 7 First Apartment Expenses 

This is a guest post by Melanie Studer of Parenting High Schoolers


Many of our friends have kids who have graduated from college and are starting life out in the real world. It is such an exciting time!  I remember my first year away from home, and the beginning of adulting on my own. There are so many unexpected costs in the real world, but most boil down to finances when you think about it.  Here are 7 First Apartment Expenses to discuss with your young adult as they move toward independence.

7 first apartment expenses

Adulting: First Apartment Expenses

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 First Apartment Expenses #1 – Rent:  

When listing first apartment expenses, the number one item is rent. Your young adult may need to put a deposit down on an apartment for the first time themselves. It is usually something like the first and last months’ rent, all at once.  This can be a huge expense, and might be an amount to borrow from parents with the understanding that either it will be paid back, or maybe it will be a gift from them for the exiting of their financial care.  

One huge decision is whether or not to have a roommate.  Having a roommate (or 2 or 3), will really help with the cost of rent as well as utilities and food, etc.  Your young adult needs to understand that rent needs to be paid by a certain date each month.  

Be sure that they know to ALWAYS pay their rent on time because there will be a penalty or fee if the deadline is missed.

 First Apartment Expenses #2 – Utilities: 

This is another deposit situation.  It is usually a set amount to cover the utilities being turned on in your young adult's name at a new address.  Parents may need to be paid back for this as well.  

There are many ways to manage this monthly cost.  One way is to unplug anything that's not currently being used.  Even if something is unplugged, it will still pull amps–this costs money!  Also, watch the length of showers, hot water is not free! These seemingly minor adjustments can make a big difference.  

Keep track.  Look at the bill for one month of not paying any attention to doing either of these things. Then, have them make a conscience effort to do just these two things.  Look at the bill again. Is there a difference? There was for our family.  

Another thing to consider is budget billing.  Once your young adult has lived somewhere for a year, they can contact the utility company and set it up as a monthly budgeted amount for the following year. If less is used after this, the utility company will readjust the following year at a smaller amount–and credit any extra amount accumulated.  If more is used, they will adjust the amount upwards.

Remind them that all bills must be paid on time.  A life lesson would be to show them how to set up a scheduled payment from their bank account.

First Apartment Expenses #3 – Home Decor: 

This is an area that your young adult can get creative with on any budget.  A lot of furniture can be obtained from relatives or picked up at second hand stores and garage sales.  It’s the little things that make a house/apartment a home though.  

So, if your young adult is crafty and likes to DIY, they can sort through items at craft fairs and flea markets. There are many uses for a can of paint, washi tape, fabric and other fairly inexpensive items that will brighten up their apartment.  They can look on Pinterest for decorating ideas.  

First Apartment Expenses #4 – Kitchen Supplies:

You never know how expensive things are until they are needed.  Kitchen gadgets are expensive, even things like trash cans! Parents if you are wanting to upgrade any of your kitchen tools, give them to your kids, that way they can get theirs for free!  

Look on Ebay, Craigslist, and garage sales for the gadgets.  They can ask for these things at Christmas or birthdays. If your young adult is truly on their own, they can just purchase these items one at a time.  

First Apartment Expenses #5 – Renter's Insurance: 

Your young adult should really consider getting this.  Renters insurance is personal property coverage, and may help cover the cost of replacing their things if the items are unexpectedly damaged or ruined.  It can apply to certain risks or (perils) such as fire or theft. Some landlords require it. 

It is also good to have if they have a rental unit for furniture etc.  Insurance will cover many circumstances and is worth paying for.

First Apartment Expenses #6 – Wifi: 

Yes, they will have to pay for this when not living at their parents house or a dorm.

First Apartment Expenses #7 – Groceries:  

Stocking up on groceries when your young adult is first starting out is a challenge.  Items such as sugar and other baking goods can get expensive. Paper goods don’t last forever and have to be replaced.  Eating healthy can get expensive too.  

I encourage them to try the Dollar Store for paper goods and even canned items, and sometimes, the items in their freezer section are good too.  Aldi’s is a great option for everything else! I have found that they have the best prices, even usually beating Walmart most of the time.  

Freezing their own food is a good option as well-many things can be frozen! 


These are just  7 first apartment expenses.  I encourage you to help them set up a budget and try to stick to it. Help them to readjust after a couple of months to see what needs to be changed.


Good luck!

What are any other unexpected expenses?  Have you found some good ways to help your young adult to deal with them? Please share!

From Laura: Welcome your adult to their first apartment with a First Apartment Care Package or a New Apartment Gift

Adulting: 7 First Apartment Expenses 1

Melanie has a BS in Education with more than two decades of parenting and classroom experience. She has worked with students preschool through high school. Her oldest two sons are in college now.

She is passionate about helping families to know their options and keeping the lines of parent/child communication open. She encourages students to expand their world through service, leadership and volunteering–”a well-rounded student makes a better citizen.”

Melanie is a wife and mom to three boys and two dogs. She is a lover of reading, teaching, and writing. She blogs for parents of teens at

You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

She has also written a book, College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School. 

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I’m Laura

Welcome to Almost Empty Nest! I began this blog in September 2014 after leaving my oldest son at college and realizing that my nest was emptying. Join me on this journey as we explore the path of guiding our children to adulthood and rediscovering ourselves beyond the mom years.



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