How I Choose an Apartment I Can Afford
by Stacey Carroll, Contributing Writer
I’m always careful when I rent an apartment. I don’t want anything too big. I want water, sewer, and at least trash included. If I can get gas or heat included, I do that, as well. I want central air conditioning and washer/dryer hookups. I don’t care if the complex has a pool, gym, Jacuzzi, tennis courts or any other frills. I won’t use them, and it means higher overall rent payments.
The first thing I do before I choose any apartment is figure out the rent I can afford. Typically, this is 25% of my net income, or roughly one week of net pay. I do net pay because I never see gross pay. I can’t base my rent off an amount I never see.
This means that if I am making $35,000 a year, I can expect to take home $26,250 a year. That’s $505 a week. That’s the rent amount I start with because it’s guaranteed that I will have no problems paying it.
Next, I look at locations. I generally want an area that has been historically safe. In Indianapolis that means living outside of the beltline or in the Northern part of the city. Since I know I can’t afford the rents North, I looked South and West and East outside the beltline. I know that living outside the beltline is more expensive than inside the beltline. Inside the beltline I can find rent for $350 - $400 a month, but I also know that I’ll sacrifice safety and security if I do. With that in mind, I’d rather pay a little more and have peace of mind.
Water, Sewer, Trash, and Heat
When I look at apartments, I look to see what’s included in the rent. I had the misfortune of living in an a la cart complex once where water, sewer and trash were not included. The base rent was $574 a month, but after they added water, sewer and trash to the bill, it was closer to $630 a month. Those extra fees put the apartment well out of my price range, and I struggled with the payments for the entirety of the lease. Needless to say, I will never do that again. My rent has to include at a bare minimum water, sewer and trash. I don’t want any hidden fees, and I don’t want to guess what next month’s rent is going to be.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find an apartment of any size for $505/month. The apartment I did find included water, sewer and trash for $550 a month with a $10 discount for paying rent before the first of the month. Being that it was only $35 more than my budget, I decided to take it. If it had been $50 or $75 more than my budget, I would have kept looking until I found a better deal.
Stacey Carroll is the author of the thriller series - Avia. She also authors the paranormal erotica series - The Blooddoll Factory. Stacey grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. she went to college at Indiana State University (ISU) and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in aerospace in the professional pilot program. She has flown Cessna 152s, Cessna 172s, the Pipe Seneca and the King Air. She also graduated with a minor in computer science that specialized in web design.
She has always been interested in reading and writing, and the first book she was ever read was the Grimms Brother's Fairy tales. From the ages of 6 to 11, she read the Nancy Drew series. By the age of 11, she had graduated to Stephen King novels. A few of her favorites include Carrie, Tommyknockers, The Dark Tower Series up to book 3 (That's where it stopped in the late 80s/ early 90s), Pet Semetary, The Shining, Night Shift, The Stand, It, Cujo, Christine, The Eyes of the Dragon and Thinner (Richard Bachman). In her teen years, she moved on to Anne Rice and got through about four of those books before they degraded. If you've ever read Anne Rice, you know book 5 isn't readable. Stacey has read a couple Harry Potter books as she was introduced to them in the early 2000s, and she's never read or watched anything Twilight or 50 Shades. Sorry. I'm a vampire purist, and nothing needs to be said about the latter. You already know.
She is currently an author and freelance writer. She received an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in 2008 for a short story entitled The Field. In 2014, she was published in 13 Stories by Us by MacKenzie Publishing.
Other books by Stacey
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