College Budget Question (Living off campus without a meal plan)

What’s the best way to manage your funds when you decide to live in an off campus apartment? I’d also have a job so I’d get some steady income as well.

Shopping: Should I always aim for sales and discounts? Dollar store brands?

Even though it can be expensive to live off campus, it all depends on how many roommates you have and what expenses you have to pay. For me, I’d aim for the cheaper apartments around $300-400 a month with a roommate or two so we can all split the rent. Going further, I think that some of the expenses can be covered by the university depending on the policies. (Electric, Water, Internet, etc.)

Figure out how much money you have each month. Subtract your part of the rent and other expenses. You need to pay those each month so you don’t get evicted. With what you have left, set aside a portion that you can spend each week on groceries. You may need to buy sale items. Whatever you have remaining is what you have for any other expenses. If town a car, you will also need to budget for all other car related expenses.

I’ve never heard of a college subsidizing off campus apartments. If you get a Pell Grant you can use it to help pay for off campus housing, but I don’t know that a college will help cover those costs.

Sit down with your parents and create a realistic budget. Where you shop will depend on where your apartment is in relation to stores and the transportation available to get you there. Figure in the cost of the transportation to get there.

Pay attention to the rental agreement. If you have 3 roommates and pay $1200/month ($300 each) plus utilities, what happens if one moves out and nobody else moves in that year? The utilities would be split 3 ways instead of 4, which would be an additional expense. Some landlords would also make you split the cost of the rent, so it would be $400/month instead of $300. I’ve also known landlords who made it the students’ responsibility to find someone to take the other roommate’s place. That can be difficult. Have you checked rental ads near your college? What’s the going rate?