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How much rent can I afford

By Jared McKinney

When determining how much you should spend on rent, you will need to think about the percentage of your income that you can contribute to your rent check every month. Gross monthly income can vary widely and you need to be sure that your rent makes sense for how much you can afford.


Landlords care about income on rent and your ability to pay on time. They will not care about the other factors that matter to you as the person looking for an ideal place to live.


How Do I Know if I Can Afford an Apartment or a House?

The plans that you have for your financial future might impact what you choose to pay in rent. If you want to live in a nice place, it might be worth it to you to eat rice and live on ramen every day to meet this goal. If you are more practical, you might choose a more affordable living location so you can spend more on food and fun.


If you are looking to pay down debt, get savings built up, or pay off a loan, you might find that your rent is getting in the way of these goals. This is why you need to have a good grasp of your debt to income ratio as well as your overall burden of additional debts. Your debt to income is the percentage of your income that you are spending on debts or costs each month. Apartment rent is just one more debt that you are covering each month when you have other budgeting constraints.


Many people realize after a few months of trying to figure out the cost of living in a location as well as the amount that they are spending for all kinds of other personal needs that it can be a daunting task to figure out how to make all the payments that they need to take care of in a month.


Personal spending is not usually the obstacle when you are trying to save money so much as payments that are owed for all kinds of other costs. The usual stumbling block for people when they are trying to save or make rent payments is that they owe too much money on other debts. This is why you need to use good calculations to figure out what you can afford to spend on rent. 

How Much Monthly Income Should You Make to Afford $1500 Rent?

The 30% rule of thumb for rent is intended to help you calculate how much money you need to set aside for your monthly rent. The 30% rule states that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on rent.


This might be a conservative figure based on unique situations or unique locations around the country. The amount that you pay a month on rent can vary wildly across the US. For many people, the task to determine how much to spend on rent can seem intimidating, even with this rule in mind. 


The 30% rule is not the only rule of thumb that you can use to decide how much should you spend on rent. You can also look at your overall budget and your monthly income to be able to decide if the 30% rule makes sense for your needs.


In most cases, if you triple your rent cost, you will get the amount of money that you need to make to easily pay the rent you have in mind. So, for $1,500 in rent, you need to make $4,500 each month in income to pay for this cost.


Where does the 30% Rule of Thumb come from?

Harvard law professor Sen. Elizabeth Warren created this rule, which is actually the 50/30/20 rule, to help people to calculate how much of their income should go to rent and how much of their income should be given to an emergency fund and basic monthly expenses. Your gross monthly income is used for this calculation. This can lead to people overestimating how much of the percentage of their income goes to rent.


If you are worried about having an emergency fund or concerned about your budget,, this 50/30/20 rule might not align with how much rent you can afford. It can be a good starting place for your personal finance goals related to your income and the percentage of income you can afford to spend on rent each month.


In places that are very expensive to live like San Francisco, the expense for any kind of housing will make the 50/30/20 rule less applicable and less useful as a rule of thumb. Expenses in these areas can be quite high for even the most basic items as well, further skewing the picture of your overall housing or apartment costs.

How Much Should I Spend for Rent?

The big question for your monthly expenses in any area, even in places like New York where budgets can be tight due to high rents, is whether or not you can meet your financial goals while also paying your rent. You need to have an idea of what debt-to-income is as well as what you can afford to budget for housing expenses.


Your debt-to-income ratio is the amount that you owe for credit cards, loans, and other purchases compared to your income. When you look at your financial situation, you need to be sure that you consider things like student loans and overall debt when thinking about your income related to your rent.


If you are spending $1,200 on rent and $800 for other expenses each month, your total expenses or debts would be $2,000 per month. If you make $6,000 per month, your DTI would be 33%.


If your rent is too high, you will find that you cannot pay off student loans and that you will not be able to build savings. High rents can curtail spending on necessary items and building proper savings accounts for most people. Your take-home pay is a huge part of your costs considerations, and you will need to think about your spending for an apartment or housing as well as on other financial concerns.

Rent Affordability Calculator

If you want to be sure that you are spending the right amount of money for your housing, you might need some help figuring out a budget as well as the rules that you should use for budgeting and costs considerations.


Use this handy affordability calculator to figure out your spending and your savings and your overall budget. This tool can help you to get your financial situation in order, prepare a budget, and use the 30 rule of thumb wisely. 


You will find that the best rules for rent affordability calculation take into account take-home-pay, monthly costs, and long-term goals, your overall costs each month, and your overall financial situation. Having the right amount of money available to you each month for your needs can impact your overall happiness in life as well as your ability to meet your goals and fulfill your dreams.

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