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first apartment

There were SO many questions I had when moving into my first apartment. Like sooo many things. From how much I can afford on my apartment, what utilities I would have, how to set up internet, how much do I need to save for apartment essentials, and so on. 

I was trying to figure out what would have been helpful for me when moving into my first apartment and I wish there was a girl who could help me plan and just go through the process with her to help guide me. Like a big sister haha. Since I didn't have someone, I thought it would be really helpful for me to guide you through these first apartment questions and just give you real life advice on exactly what I'm doing.

Obviously, I don't know everything but I'm going to tell you what I did for all these "hard" questions that I had no one to ask advice on. I wrote down a whole list of questions I had and then also asked over on my Instagram questions that people had before moving into their first apartments OR what they wish they would have known. I got soo many good responses and can't wait to cover a new first apartment question every week as part of this series.

The first topic we're going to be covering is how much my apartment and utilities cost per month. Plus, I feel like it will be helpful in general to see what utilities I even have to pay. That was something that I had a lot of questions on and didn't even know how to plan. 


how much should your first apartment cost

I have a two bedroom and two bath apartment just north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My apartment comes with a garage included in rent and also has amenities like a pool, gym, and clubhouse.

I am not right downtown in the city which saves me a lotttt of money.

Drumroll monthly rent for my apartment is $1,550.

I pay $50 extra a month for my fireplace and saved $160 by not having a connected garage. I feel like my apartment is actually a really good deal for the area since other places that are comparable are a lot more expensive and don't have the same amenities.

NOW. If I was downtown Milwaukee, my rent would be A LOT more expensive. Or if I was in another part of the country (or world). It's a give or take that I actually went back and forth on a lot. I debated moving to downtown Milwaukee and having a not as nice place that's smaller but more where things are "happening" (like bars, restaurants, etc) or living in the suburbs where I could get a nicer apartment for cheaper. I went back and forth on this decision for like a whole year hahaha. I ended up picking the suburbs to save money and now with how the world is, I'm SO glad because a lot of my friends are around here.

Since this is all so different depending on where you live, I asked on my Instagram stories if people would anonymously put where they live, how many bedrooms there apartment is, how much they pay, and how much their utilities are so you can compare and see if you find someone who lives near where you are looking!

You can see what my apartment looks like here: Sophia's Apartment Tour


I have four monthly utilities. I pay for light + electricity, wifi + cable, gas, and renters insurance. I'm going to break down and talk about each one individually.

1. Light and Water - $150ish

This is my most expensive utility and after seeing what other people pay for there's, I feel like I'm being ripped off?. This one changes every month based on how much electricity and water I am using. In September, my bill was $133 for the month and October was $144. I usually like to budget more money than I think to be safe so in my monthly budget, I budget $150. If it's less, I just move it into savings.

2. Wifi and Cable - $91.82

This one kills me because I feel like it's so dang expensive. My apartment complex offers two places to get wifi from and I choose Spectrum. I have the basic package for wifi. I found the cheapest way for me to get cable was to download the Spectrum app on my smart TV and then it says something like "get the smart TV Spectrum deal where you get cable for $24ish dollars". Obviously, that's not exactly how they say it at all and I can't remember the exact cost since it's all lumped together but that's the cheapest way I could figure out to get cable. I'm a sucker for reality TV so Netflix wasn't going to pass ?.

3. Gas

I have a gas fireplace and stove so with that, comes a gas bill. I don't think you have this unless you have those two things. Maybe there is gas heaters I don't know about but I know I didn't have a gas bill at my college apartment!

This one is pretty cheap - only $12-20ish a month. I'm expecting this to jump up more in the winter since we will have the fireplace on more.

3. Renters Insurance - $10.08

I got my renters insurance through State Farm and it's only $10 a month. I really thought this was going to be way more so I'm super happy it's only $10. I'd rather be safe than sorry with this one :). I just applied for it online but if your parents have a trusty insurance agent you could contact them too!


I asked my Instagram followers if they would feel comfortable anonymously putting up how much their rent and utilities cost and I got so many responses! So helpful (and interesting) to see what other people are spending. This is why I think I am overpaying for my light and electricity because no one else is paying as much as I am?.

  • Downtown Milwaukee, WI: $1200/mo. 1 bedroom. Utilities are ~$160.
  • Oxford, Ohio: $500/mo. 4 bedroom and 4 bath (I'm going to assume $500 is for one bedroom). Only utility is electricity which is $20 per person.
  • Dormont, PA: $650/mo. 1 bedroom. Utilities are included.
  • Toronto, Canada: $1500/mo. Two bedrooms. She noted that this is an insane deal for Toronto. 
  • Miami (South Beach): $1300/mo. Studio apartment. Utilities are around $100. 
  • San Diego, California: $1725/mo. 1 bedroom. 
  • Outside Baltimore, Maryland: $1680. 1 bedroom.
  • Columbia, Maryland: $2300. 2 bedrooms with a loft.
  • Gilbert, Arizona: $1300/mo.1 bed and 1 bath. 
  • Provo, Utah: $800/mo. 2 bedroom. Utilities included.
  • Madison, Wisconsin:  $750 each. 1 bed. Two people.
  • Arizona: $1092/mo. 1 bedroom. Utilities are around $150.
  • LA: $1100/mo for a room. 
  • Arkansas: $755/mo. 3bd/2ba. Utilities are around $150-200.
  • Austin, TX: $1600/mo. 2 bed/2 bath. 

I feel like that gets the point across but if you want more I can keep adding them :). 

Other posts in the First Apartment Series:

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