Living in an off-campus apartment is a big adult move! There are lots of opportunities for growth and learning; a skill that is really mastered is knowing how to manage your living expenses. Living on your off-campus requires that you be extra cognizant of your costs. Read below for some helpful tips!

  1. Know all the fees involved

Rental spaces often require other payments besides rent. Some extra costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Application fees. You may be charged for applying to space.  
  • Security deposits. At the beginning of your lease, rental spaces will often ask that you give about one month’s rent worth of money to them in addition to your first month’s rent. 
  • Parking fees. If you own a vehicle, your landlord may sometimes rent out a parking space for an additional fee. Do not always assume that parking is included in your rent price.
  • Plan for furniture and household items

Some rental spaces may come furnished already, but most do not. Before you move, plan costs for items that are necessary. You may need to provide yourself with a bed, desk, dining table, kitchen tools, and more.

2. Be aware of your rental contract length

Not all leases are one year long. Some contracts are only six months long, while others may last up to 14 months. Verify how long your lease will be; this way, you will know how long you’ll have to pay for rent.

3. Keep track of utilities 

Your rental contract will specify what utilities the space does and does not provide. In some cases, your space may provide all utilities to you. In other cases, your space may provide none of the utilities, leaving you to pay for services such as water, gas, trash, and electricity. Be aware of what you will be responsible for paying.  

4. Track your food expenses

First, make sure that you are aware of CalFresh, and how the program can help you pay for groceries. If you do not qualify for CalFresh, however, know that you will need to plan for enough healthy meals.

5. Familiarize yourself with the commute

Know how much money you will be wasting on transportation. If you have to drive to campus, have an idea of how much money your gas will be. If you will ride public transportation, remember to include the fares in your budgeting. 

Of course, seeing your costs listed out may be terrifying! Remember to make the best financial decision for you. Compare your costs to on-campus housing. Make sure that you know you are ready to take on the challenge. We believe in you!