That time I almost signed a $1300.00 apartment lease but got another job instead

This post has been in the making for quite some time but it was only after a post over at Double Debt Single Woman (if you don’t already read her blog, you definitely should) that I finally sat down to write. Okay, that and the job thing…

Living in a not-so-great apartment, in a not-so-great area, sucks. And it probably kinda sucks in your twenties but at least then you have all of the excuses for why you live there. The, “I’m saving up…,” “This is my first place…,” “This is my starter home…,” “I’m a student…” excuses. In your thirties, you generally don’t have those excuses anymore (although, you might be a student). What you do have is, “I made poor financial choices.”* Hopefully it’s, “I made poor financial choices so this is what I have am willing to do to have a better financial future.” Hopefully it’s that. And on most days, you are able to remember that, and make peace with where you are, and look toward the future. But other days…other days it just sucks and it is all that you can do to resist the sweet, sweet rental and real-estate sirens.

Their call has always been there, softly singing in the background. You are usually able to resist them but then something happens, like your apartment building is suddenly dealing with a pest issue as a result of a filthy tenant moving out, or you have a roommate or landlord making your living arrangement a bit more precarious than it once was. And you think, “What could it hurt just to see what else is out there…” So you look. And your rent is only $682.00 with ALL utilities included so you look to see what else is out there around the same price point. Nada. So you ratchet up your range to $800.00 and maybe you’re suddenly looking at apartments in a bit nicer area. But as long as you’re willing to pay $800.00, $850.00 doesn’t seem that bad, and so on, and so on, and eventually you are in the $1000+ range. And at that point, if you are going to pay upwards of $1000.00, you might as well get what you really want and at least consider that gorgeous $1300.00 apartment, that is giving away a month’s rent, and in a super nice area, convenient to everything…by foot.

Yea, or so that’s how it went in my head. And, how I found myself sitting across from a leasing agent, completing an application for a $1300.00 apartment while justifying that it was really only ~$1200.00 per month because I would get a month’s rent free and that the value was really higher because the apartment rates had been temporarily reduced due to the pandemic.

However, as I was writing out that blog post in my mind, for how I was going to have to explain this choice to you all (or considering abandoning the blog altogether out of shame…just trying to keep it real) I decided to reach out to a frugal friend who I thought might be able to talk me off the ledge. And she did, but she ultimately left the decision up to me. At this point, I realized that I was too far gone for the gentle approach and knew I would need someone a bit harsher so I called another friend. He was much…harsher. He spent several minutes explaining to me (almost patronizingly) why it was a poor financial decision and why if I was going to make such a decision in my financial circumstances (he knows of the student loan debt but not even the full extent) that I should at least buy a home so then I had an asset. Once it was apparent that I understood what I had to do, but was just a bit sad, he was a bit more gentle with me and told me that if I really was unhappy with my apartment, that I could consider investing one months’ difference in rent on upgrades and repairs to my current apartment ($1300.00-$682.00 = $618.00). Yea.

But he is right. The goal shouldn’t just be to get by or  survive. If I am going to be able to climb out of my massive student loan debt before I am 40 (I’m currently 34), at my current income level, then cheap rent has to be a part of the equation. So it is worth it to invest up to $618.00 to make my apartment more habitable IF it means I am willing to stay here until my debt is gone. For now, this is the plan. It’s official. My lease ends on July 31st, so I will call the leasing office tomorrow to re-sign for a year.

In less shocking, or shocking but different, news…today I finally got a part time job. It’s an evening job and only for about three hours a night, five days a week. And the wage isn’t great. But it’s more than I’m bringing in now, there is a possibility for more hours assuming I want them, it doesn’t interfere with my day job, it won’t leave me exhausted, it doesn’t require additional contact with humans, and if it is something I like, I could eventually turn it into my own side business.

Being an adult a financially responsible adult sucks.

*I understand there are circumstances that create cycles of poverty that result in peopling living in fraught living conditions regardless of what choices they make. I am not speaking to this but about my relatively privileged experience.

5 thoughts on “That time I almost signed a $1300.00 apartment lease but got another job instead

  1. Wow, what a story! I totally hear all sides of this. For what it's worth, in these situations (I've been in many, I moved way too much in my twenties and thirties) I've always kind of ended up regretting it when I've gone for the overpriced place to live. No matter how nice it was I just hated flushing all that excessive rent money down the toilet. So I hope that the warmth of being able to make the extra financial progress is there for you too :)Also congrats on the job! I hope you'll keep a close eye on whether the extra money is really worth the time/energy you're spending. But it sounds like you're thinking about that (found a job that doesn't require more contact with humans: great.) Good luck with it and I look forward to hearing more….

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  2. Awe, thanks C. It's good to hear from you. \”For what it's worth, in these situations (I've been in many, I moved way too much in my twenties and thirties)\” THIS. I did a rough calculation the other day and since I have turned 18 I have moved at least 31 times…some of those were international moves. I think some of it is want to feel \”settled\” and make a home. I am going to try to do that in my current space and bask (or enjoy the warmth) of the savings. Right. It is also a good fit because it doesn't interfere will me ability to earn more money through other more lucrative opportunities I am trying to pursue.

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  3. Hey Afropenny! I’m liking your new digs on WordPress.

    Thanks for the shoutout! Omg, don’t get me started with how often I moved in my 20s and 30s. I understand.

    C is right as always about keeping our minds focused on the savings. Believe me, that feels like the only thing keeping me going some days when I want to run out of this house screaming.

    Congrats on the savings. And know it’s only temporary – until you’ve reached your goal. You don’t want to end up on what Dave Ramsey calls a “deferred life plan” by taking it too far. LoL.

    Hang in there.

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