A key element to finding and successfully moving into a place is setting an apartment budget.
What is an apartment budget? Think of it as a guideline to how much money you can afford to spend on and get settled into your new home, as well as all of the other necessities that come with it.
Here is a detailed description of what you need to consider when budgeting for your apartment. From rent to utilities to pet insurance, find out what you need to calculate.
Budgeting is Key
It’s a good idea to have a budgeting system in place already before you start thinking about an apartment budget. Consider keeping a budgeting journal where you keep track of your monthly income, grocery shopping, and other living expenses. You can also consider having a budget not only for your living situation but for your other living costs too. So, try to save your cash by eating out less, pre-drinking at home instead of buying €6 drinks at the club and trying to get discounts on your textbooks. You can check out a more detailed guide on what your estimated living costs might be throughout your stay in the Netherlands.
You don’t have to stick to your budget religiously. It’s natural to tweak your budget until it becomes something sustainable and realistic. So try it out for a few weeks or months and see how it goes!
Your Moving Apartment Budget
When you are thinking about renting an apartment or house, there are a few things you need to consider. Each of the following is basic costs that apply to any apartment, anywhere.
- Rent: How much rent can you afford? A general rule of thumb that many recommend following is that your monthly income should be 3x your monthly rent. Depending on where you get your income from (work, parents, loan) you can budget your rent.
- Deposits: Many landlords or letting agencies require that you put down a deposit before you rent. This is especially the case for students, more so international students. They want a guarantee that you’ll stay there for the whole duration of the lease. You might need to pay a refundable fee or even your first and last month’s rent.
- Utilities: Of course, you need to pay for energy i.e. gas, electricity, and the internet.
- Home Contents Insurance: With this insurance, which is also known as Student Contents Insurance, you are basically insuring your personal items for their worth. For example, you can insure your laptops and other valuables in case of water damage, a fire, or a burglary.
- Renters insurance: Some places will also ask for renters insurance. This is sort of the same as home contents, but specifically for rental properties. Some rental insurance also covers accidents or liability for anyone or anything hurt in your apartment.
- Finally, what about moving? When it comes to actually moving into your place, how will you do it? You may hire a van or hire some movers, which will cost you a bit of money. On the other hand, you could ask your friends, drive your own car, or ask your parents to give you a hand (for free!).
There are also some extra costs, depending on the place you rent or the area you live in:
- Parking or extra garage: if you have a car or a motorcycle, for example, you might have to pay for a personal parking space.
- Pets: if you have a cat or dog, for example, you might need to pay a small fee for them or even get insurance.
Finally, a saving grace. Housing allowance is an aid from the Dutch government targeted towards students and other citizens who might not be able to afford their monthly rent. Basically, if you meet the requirements and apply, you might be able to get a monthly contribution to your rent.
This housing allowance is a significant contribution to your apartment budget, because you can cover a portion of your rent and have more freedom when it comes to spending your money. You can use College Life's calculator to see how much you are eligible for the housing allowance.
When it comes to housing allowance, you need to know whether you have a toeslagpartner or not. That is essentially a partner that applies for the allowance with you. In your case, as a student, it could be your housemate or maybe a sibling that you are living with.
Bonus Tips on Setting an Apartment Budget
- The Student Housing Guide to get a detailed overview of what sort of things you should be expecting from living in the Netherlands such as where to find a place to live, what housing contracts are like, and what utilities you should expect to pay for.
- Basement/ground floor apartments and studios are usually cheaper!
- Splitting rent between friends is much cheaper than doing it alone.
- City centres are always more expensive. However, living further away can mean higher transportation costs (or it just takes longer to bike).
Apartment hunting can be a really dull process but, with these tips, you can definitely streamline your search process! Good luck!