If you think you’re ready to move out of your dorm, congratulations are in order! Moving off-campus is an exciting and rewarding part of the college experience. Compared to dorm life, off-campus living comes with more freedom — and potentially more financial woes.
From deciding where to live to smart budgeting strategies, here are a few things to consider when budgeting for an off-campus apartment.
Transportation Costs: Is the Distance Doable?
As you transition into off-campus living, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of renting stylish furniture, scoping out cute neighborhoods, and picking out roommates. However, most off-campus apartment tips agree that it’s best to stay relatively close to campus.
As you scope out off-campus housing, make location your top priority. You’ll want to strike a balance between rent and transportation costs and choose a place that enables you to get to campus quickly. After all, if getting to class is too much of a trek paying off-campus housing costs may not be worth it.
Here are some things to consider:
- On-campus parking costs: Sometimes campus parking is limited or costly, so check to make sure it’s available and in your budget if you plan to drive to class.
- Public transportation costs and availability: If you prefer to take public transportation, ensure you have access to a reliable route that can get you to and from campus.
- Biking or walking distance. Keep in mind that you’ll be making the trek year round: rain, shine, or snow!
What’s more important to you in terms of lifestyle? If you highly value convenience and recreation, it’s worth shelling out a few extra bucks to remain within walking distance to class and your favorite on-campus spots.
Roommates: Will You Be Sharing Your Space?
If it’s your first year living off-campus, you likely have prior experience sharing a dorm with a roommate or two. As you move off-campus, consider getting roommates. Sharing an apartment with a roommate or two will help keep your rent and share of fixed utilities low. In addition to helping alleviate costs, sharing your space may result in new friendships.
However, living with others isn’t for everyone. If you’re committed to having a place of your own, be prepared to make sacrifices in other departments. Depending on the city you live in and the budget you’re working with, splitting costs (or choosing not to) can make a big difference in terms of affordability.
Furnishing Your Apartment: Do You Have Enough Furniture for Your New Apartment?
If you’re moving from the dorms into your first apartment, it’s unlikely you have much in terms of furniture. Most dorms are outfitted with most of the essentials, including a bed, mattress, desk, desk chair, and nightstands. As you move into your new space, you’ll probably need to bring furniture to outfit not only your bedroom, but your kitchen and living areas as well.
Furniture is costly, and then comes the issue of moving and storage! If you head home for the summer, you’ll have to pay hefty storage and moving fees for your bulky items.
However, there are ways to furnish an apartment without breaking the bank. Furniture rental makes it easy! With CORT Furniture Rental, you can rent a move-in ready furniture package that suits both your style and space. Furniture rental also solves the issue of deciding who gets to keep what when you move out. You can simply split the cost between you and your roommates!
Bonus: Renting furniture from CORT means you don’t have to worry about moving bulky items! They’ll come and drop off your furniture when you move in, and pick it up when your lease ends. Shop CORT’s student packages online and choose the budget-friendly style that suits your needs!
Groceries, Utilities, and Unexpected Costs: Can You Afford All of the Expenses?
Remember: moving out of a dorm is a little different than most relocation decisions. If you’re used to dorm life, chances are you’ve accepted its amenities as everyday life.
In most cases, on-campus living also includes free or discounted meals, free WiFi, laundry services, co-working spaces, and more. When you’re a college student living off-campus, you’ll now have to take on those expenses.
Additionally, you’ll be responsible for utility bills — which can get expensive. So, when trying to budget college student off-campus living, make sure you take into account all of your new expenses combined and not just the cost of rent.
Let ApartmentSearch Do the Work
When it comes to managing a tight budget and making a major life change, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Instead of stressing over finding an off-campus apartment on your own, turn to ApartmentSearch. Our budgeting and personal finance resources can help you feel confident as you search for a new apartment. Our advanced filter system and online support can help you find an apartment near campus within your budget!