Question: How much of my income should I be spending on rent? I want to find out exactly how much rent I can afford before I begin my apartment search.
The Rental Girl: Great question, and one of the first questions you should ask yourself before beginning your apartment search. On average, landlords like to see tenants make roughly 3 times the rent amount. To be more accurate, it’s recommended you use a maximum of 30% of your earnings (after tax) on rent. Spending 30% of your income on rent still allows you enough money for living and entertainment expenses, as well as the ability to save for retirement or potential emergencies. A good piece of advice given in a Refinery 29 “Money Talks” article on income vs. rent was: “Always underspend on your home, and you should get extra breathing room throughout the rest of your budget.” It’s better to save on your rent where you can, perhaps giving up the ideal parking spot or dishwasher, so that you can have more wiggle room throughout the year and feel less tied by your rent.
Here’s some math to help break things down:
To calculate what 30% of your income is, a little shortcut is to take your net income (income after taxes) and divide that by 40.
For example, let’s say your gross income is $50,000 a year.
After taxes, your net or take-home income is $41,667.67 a year. (Try using this income calculator).
So $41,667.67 ÷ 40 = $1041.69 per month in rent.
There you have it! So if you make $50,000 a year, you should spend no more than roughly $1040 on rent, and this should include utility bills if possible. This may seem lower than you’d expect, but given the math–your total monthly take home is $3,472.31, so 30% of that is $1041.67. By taking the time to do this simple math, you can ensure you’re spending your money wisely, and will be the ideal applicant for the next place you apply to!
P.S. Now you’ve figured out how much you can afford in rent, another smart question to ask is: can I afford to buy? The Rental Girl can help you with that. Simply enter your rent amount here, hit GO! and found out how much house you can afford with various downpayment options. The calculator breaks everything down for you so you can weigh out all your options and decide if it’s best to rent or buy. Check it out!
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