Creating a Budget
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?
- In the villages of Tivoli and Red Hook, garbage is collected on Mondays. Check with your landlord about how to properly dispose of your garbage and recycling.
- 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.