The Hidden Costs of Living Off Campus

Being a student is stressful (and expensive) enough. The last thing you want to worry about is whether you have enough money to pay your rent. While it may seem unnecessary or tedious at first, establishing a budget is a simple task that can help you avoid hassles in the future. Don’t take on more than you can afford. Before you move in, sketch out a monthly budget (hyperlink to PDF) you can live with.

Be sure to include the following expenses in any budget you create:

  • Up-front costs: Pay special attention to extra money required just for moving in.
  • Deposits and hook-up charges, and actual moving expenses.
  • Monthly living expenses: heat, water, electricity or gas, parking fees, local and long distance phone, cable TV and internet service, bus pass, laundry, food, etc.
  • Other expenses: renters insurance, car insurance, household goods and furnishings, entertainment, etc.
  • Division of expenses with your roommates. Consider how you will share costs with the other individuals with whom you’ll be living.

If it looks tight, you’ve probably chosen an apartment that is too expensive. The three largest expenses for most students (aside from tuition and books) are food, transportation, and rent. Your rent should be NO MORE than 20-30% of your monthly income.

For assistance with setting-up your budget, contact Student Money Management Services.