Plan on Renting while in college? If the college you are attending does not include a dorm (many community colleges do not) or you simply wish to move into an apartment, here are a few items to consider.
There are some benefits to renting. Renting could be less expensive than the college dorm (not always though). You can also have multiple roommates to help share the expense. Plus, you don’t have to worry when the dorm is closed during breaks.
However, living in a college dorm can makes budgeting a bit easier. Your utilities (water and electric) are normally covered and your college dorm fee may include a few other amenities (like internet). Your college financial aid will probably also cover the dorm, so you won’t have to stress about making monthly payments for rent and other expenses covered by your dorm fee.
The following are some items to consider when looking to rent during college.
1. Consider all Expenses
If you are moving into a house or apartment, there may be some expenses you haven’t thought of. You’ve likely thought about furniture, towels for your bathroom, and kitchen appliances, but there are other expenses that sneak up on you. For example, items like shower curtains, cleaning supplies (sponges, broom, mop, and toilet brush etc.), and curtains can get expensive quick. One tip is to visit your local dollar store and purchase many of these bare necessities there.
2. Ask the Landlord about Appliances
When looking at apartments, make sure appliances are included. Ask about the refrigerator, microwave, and washer and dryer. These are big expenses if not included.
3. Consider your Roommate(s)
You also want to think about whether you will have a roommate and who that will be. We all have friends we love and think living with them would be just like hanging out all the time. In some cases it is, in others it is the complete opposite. You become almost enemies with your old best friends over the silliest things. Make sure you can handle seeing a lot of your roommate!
You also want to consider whether your roommate(s) can be relied upon to pay their monthly dues on time.
4. Stay within your Budget
Ensure you (and your roommate) can afford your new place. You’ll be splitting the expenses and you don’t want to leave your roommate high and dry waiting for your half of the bills. You also want to be sure your roommate can pay their fair share.
5. Food Rules
Also, you might be used to your parents’ house being filled with food. When you move out, you are going to need a food reservoir so to speak. This is expensive as well. You may want to cover with your roommate (if you’ll have one) how you may split this expense. Establishing “food rules” can be a good idea. Rules such as are you going to share food? Go half on food? Shop together? Share everything? Or divide your food up – for instance a separate cabinet and refrigerator shelf for your roommate’s food and yours.