Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 Millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what Millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating. Today's topic: what women spend on rent every month.
Unfortunately, for many people, rent is a big expense each month. Apartments and houses come in all shapes and sizes — as well as all kinds of prices. I lived in L.A. for years, so I got accustomed to higher rents, and New York for a year between (even higher rents). But when I returned to Chicago for a while, I was shocked at how "cheap" rents seemed there. Of course, the overall cost of living is less there, so it makes sense that rent would be less, too. Wondering what millennials spend on rent a month? Me, too.
"I'm a big fan of the 50/30/20 budget, which says you should spend 50 percent of your take-home pay on needs (including groceries, rent, and loan payments), 30 percent or less on wants, and 20 percent or more on savings and debt payoff," Brianna McGurran, student loans and personal finance expert at NerdWallet, tells Bustle. "This framework might be more aspirational at first, especially if you live in New York like I do and spend 50 percent of your income on rent alone. But it's a helpful way to think about bucketing your expenses so you're more aware of how much you spend." I’ll say.
What about that amazing apartment that’s $100 to $200 more than the practical one?
"When you're deciding where to live, try to keep your housing costs at 30 percent or less of your income, which will give you room to save for the future and pay down your student loans faster," McGurran says. "When you're in your 20s, any money you save for retirement, for instance, goes so much further than it would later on, thanks to compounding. So stick with roommates a little longer, or put off getting a second bedroom if you and your partner are apartment-hunting together. It's important to live in a place you love, but this decade is all about balancing your short-term needs with your long-term goals."
I really wish I’d had that advice back when my ex-boyfriend and I decided to get a three-bedroom place in L.A. — and one room would be an office or guest room, we said… Riiiight. Regardless, what do other millennial women spend on rent per month? I spoke to some, and here's what I found.
Psst! Have you checked out Ellevest, a unique digital investment platform for women? Pay no advisory fee for the first three months when you sign up today. Get started here.
So, as you can see, different millennial women spend different amounts on rent, and each person has their own reasons for doing so. Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree. But I know one thing for sure — I definitely got some good tips for the next time I'm looking for a place. #RentGoals.