Creating a Budget
Creating a budget helps you determine if off-campus housing is financially feasible. Often at first glance it appears cheaper than on-campus housing until a detailed budget is assessed.
Students should understand that there are often hidden and unexpected costs associated with living off campus. Creating a budget for yourself is a critical part of living off campus. You may want to create a budget worksheet for yourself using some of the following questions as a guide.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- If I receive financial aid, what happens when I move off campus?
- How much does an apartment cost?
- What are some of the additional expenses that I should consider?
- What were the previous tenant's utility bills? Off-campus housing is often located in older buildings and heating costs can surprise students who have not budgeted for them.
- Can I afford to go away for spring break?
- How much do I spend on eating out?
- How much do I spend on transportation costs or a private vehicle and gas?
Questions to Ask Your Prospective Landlord:
- What is the monthly rent? When, where, and how is it to be paid?
- How much is the security deposit and what is the deposit used for? (Cleaning, security, or pets?) Is it refundable?
- Are utilities (heat, hot water, electricity, gas, trash) included in the monthly rental payment? Keep in mind the villages of Tivoli and Red Hook require trash tags. You may also need to consider costs associated with permits for parking or hosting events.
- Are pets allowed? If yes, what kind? Is there an additional security deposit or fee associated with pets?
- Who is responsible for maintenance and repair costs? Who is responsible for snow removal?
- Voice any special concerns, such as ability to sublet or add extra people to the lease. (Is there an additional charge?)
Do Your Research:
- Check with New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) at 800-572-1111 to see what the cost of utilities were over the past year.
- Examine the amount of parking available in your new neighborhood. Be sure you are aware of the on-street parking regulations which you are expected to abide by, and check to see if there are any associated fees or costs.