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Setting a Budget

Financial planning and budgeting is essential to successfully living off campus.

Rent is not your only expense when you decide to live off-campus. Utilities such as gas, water, sewage, internet, electricity and cable are typically not included in your monthly rent. Costs associated with grocery shopping and transportation need to be factored into your monthly budget as do entertainment expenses, book, supplies and health insurance. Be careful of “hidden costs” such as security deposits, moving expenses, utility deposits and furnishing.

A few tips that may guide your budget planning are:

  • What geographic area do you want to live in? Some neighborhoods are more expensive than others.
  • What size apartment do you need?
  • What amenities must you have?
  • Are you looking to live alone or with others?
  • What is included with the rental rate? Some apartments will include some utilities, while other apartment communities do not include anything else in the rental rate.
  • What is the maximum rent you can afford? Remember it's not just your rent. Think about food, transportation, heating and air-conditioning costs, cable, and internet.
  • How far are you willing to commute? How will this affect transportation costs?



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