Money at 30: One Year Later – Was Our Apartment Upgrade Worth it?
A few years back, I penned a post about one of the downsides of rent, which is that upgrading is likely not a one-time expense and will impact you on a monthly basis in perpetuity. Despite these hesitations, one year ago, we signed a lease for a new apartment that cost about 50% more than we were paying (while also downsizing from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom). A big reason why we decided to bite the bullet and make the move was the amenities we’d have in this place compared to our prior home. So, looking back on the year, have these conveniences been worth the cost? Join me as I reflect:
Seeing as my wife and I both work from home, having quality WiFi played an outsized role in our apartment hunting decision. While we enjoyed the fact that our Internet was included with our previous rent, this also meant that we were limited in our ability to upgrade. Meanwhile, our connection’s lack of reliability was not only shown during our growing list of live streams but even during routine writing tasks.
So imagine our excitement when we found an apartment that offered fiber Internet included in the rent. It sounded amazing and it’s delivered on that promise. During our time here, I can think of only two minor outages — both of which lasted for less than five minutes. At the risk of overhyping it, this has been a gamechanger for our ability to work, stream (both watching and broadcasting), etc.
Another alluring aspect of this apartment complex was that we’d have covered parking. This was something I’d wanted as I often fear what hail and other natural elements could do to our car. Plus, as I witnessed this past week, it’s also incredibly convenient to have when it snows. Alas, there is a bit of a downside here as we are required to move our car out from the pavilion for a few hours each weekend along with a handful of times they email us (sometimes on short notice) to inform us of some other reason we need to relocate our vehicle. These instances, while not a big deal, can be annoying at times. Still, I’d say this is a win overall… although not one that has much of a quantifiable financial impact.
Now we’re talking convenience! At our old place, we didn’t have an in-unit washer or dryer. Instead, we had to head down to the community room, find an open machine, pay $1 per load, and hope that the damn thing actually worked. With that background, I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be able to wash or dry whatever and whenever we want. The money savings may not be huge but the convenience is.
From major convenience to major savings, let’s talk about our utilities. Like most apartments, our previous place didn’t include utilities (except water), so we needed to maintain and pay our own electric account. This wasn’t a huge deal but we would definitely see our prices go up in the winter — despite our best efforts to keep the heat down.
As for our current place, the utilities aren’t exactly included but they are assessed differently. Instead of charging us based on our usage, management figures out our share of the bill based on our square footage and tacks this cost onto our rent statement. What’s more, our complex is built to be more energy efficient in the first place. In turn, we’ve seen our monthly electric bill nearly cut in half some months. Does this offset the difference in rent? No — but it helps.
Lastly, we come to a unique amenity, which is that our complex hosts a farmer’s market every weekend. This has undoubtedly been awesome, but has actually led us to spend more (if we’re being honest). But, hey, kombucha and pastries are delicious! Nevertheless, I’ll count this as a minor downside budget-wise.
The verdict? Worth it! While it definitely required some changes to our budget, a round of offloading some clutter, and of course all the fun of moving, we’ve been very happy in our new home. Looking back at that earlier article I did, I mentioned how I’d feel silly asking the complex to upgrade my backsplash and carpet, only to end up paying an extra $100 a month for the foreseeable future. Luckily, the upgrades we have here are more substantial than that — with many directly affecting our wallet, work, or whatever else. In all, I think we absolutely made the right move.