From course fees, to books, to learning how much your own personal grocery bill will be each month, college living adds up fast! Not to mention the occasional dinner date, spring break trip, and the dreaded day your personal laptop needs replaced. We've rounded up the best tips for USF students starting out on their own.
You're in college. You want be independent, not calling mom and dad for money two days into being on your own, right? We hope these tips can help you get started off on your journey to post-graduation financial success.
Get Your Own Bank Account
Moving out of Mom and Dad's house means it's time to start keeping an eye on your monthly spending. If you're still working out of a joint-account with your parents, consider opening up a personal checking account so you can easily keep track of your own personal expenses. There are a few banking options close to campus that offer special incentives for students to join.
Expect and Budget A Lot Up Front
"Sure, your rent is a set amount each month, but before you move in, find out "the extras," says Joe Wynn, Off-Campus Housing Coordinator, University of Tampa. And this means:
- Application Fees
- First and last months rent
- Parking (if it's not free or not offered on-site)
"Students forget about these things, and the extras can really add up," explains Wynn.
Don't Forget About Utilities.
Many apartment in Tampa include water, but what about electricity, cable and internet? And just like your apartment, many of the above will also require a deposit to get started.
Do you want or need a roommate?
The idea of living alone may seem nice, but is it really feasible? Splitting costs with a friend or two may be the best route for you if you're on a tight budget. Many of the apartments near USF offer roommate matching services, where you'll fill out a questionnaire on your personal lifestyle and preferences so they can match you with other students with similar lifestyles and values. Or, you could also choose a group of friends you already know from USF!
Figure Out Your Furniture Situation
You just need a couch right? Oh, and a bed. Probably a TV. No definitely a TV. And what about…
The list will continue, I assure you. And it will probably run you somewhere in the thousands of dollars even if you are thrifty. You may decide it's better to find a furnished apartment or use a business such as CORT furniture to rent your furniture instead of making that investment all at once. Whatever your choice, don't forget to include it in the budget.
Don't Forget to LIVE!
College is such a fun experience, but it won't be if you are perpetually broke and can't enjoy it. Remember to budget for everyday life including:
- Going out!
- Travel - whether you're heading home for the weekend or planning a spring break trip.
Now that you are a budgeting god (or goddess!) get out there and find your apartment near USF or UT. If you are feeling extra nice, share it with a friend who may also find it helpful.