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On your own … and on a budget

A little planning can help you settle happily into your new apartment

Leaving the comfort of home can be thrilling and daunting at the same time, but a little planning before you make the big move can help smooth the transition. While nothing will replace those home-cooked meals (sorry), consider the following three tips before you move out to ensure a successful start on your own.

1) Budget, budget, budget

Rent, gas, electric, cable, Internet, cell, groceries, fuel … these costs and more can seem overwhelming.

Take a deep breath. Then, develop a budget before you move to get a sense of the costs you’ll be facing. Ask the landlords and managers of the apartments you’re considering for average utility costs. Then, plug those expected costs and your income into a site or app like Mint.com to develop a realistic budget.

Utilities can add up, but there is a place to save: Cut the cord on cable or satellite TV. Forgoing the Internet is probably unimaginable, so use it to stream content to your laptop, tablet, or a streaming device like Roku® or Apple TV®.

And, if you have a set of wheels, you already know how it can affect your wallet. So sign up for a fuel rewards program, use public transportation when possible, and find the best deals in auto insurance to help control costs.

2) Consider a roommate

Flying solo might be your ideal living arrangement, but there’s no easier way to reduce costs than by sharing them with a roommate.

Check with your friends about possible living arrangements. You’ll likely find someone in the same boat and eager to split the bills. A word of caution: Living with a good friend or two may seem like a great idea, but remember that it’s different than simply “hanging out.” Incompatibility could put a strain on your friendship.

3) Renters insurance

Who (aside from your parents) knew living on your own involved so much financial planning?

Once you’ve fine-tuned your budget and settled the roommate question, make sure you get a renters insurance policy.

Your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your personal property, so you have to take charge. Thankfully, with the Progressive Home Advantage® renters insurance program, it’s easy.

For a few bucks a month, you can get a renters policy to cover all your stuff. Chances are you’ll have one or two TVs, a laptop or tablet, a mobile device, and gaming equipment—and that’s just your electronics. With renters insurance, you’ll also get protection for your clothes, furniture, kitchen supplies, and more.