Hidden costs of moving into an apartment…
One major decision faced when going to school, is living on camps or getting an off campus apartment. In my four years at Umass Lowell I have been in both situations. There are a lot of differences, such as style of living, rules, responsibilities and expenses. Although I believe that living in an off campus apartment is cheaper, moving into an apartment is far from inexpensive.
The first expense is the first and last month’s rent and security deposit. This is typically equal to three months rent. Some places charge less for security deposit; some don’t have security deposits, but most do. Another hidden charge is a credit check. A common charge is $40, non refundable, and it doesn’t go towards anything if you are approved. So now you have spent over 3x your monthly bill for an empty apartment.
Furnishing the apartment is another issue. If you are lucky you can fill your apartment with hand-me-downs and donations. But if you are like me, you want everything to be brand new. My girlfriend and I bought all new appliances for our apartment, and spent a good $150. We also bought new pots and pans for around $120, which is actually a bargain. I got a new desk from Target for $100. Luckily we were had couches, a bed, and a table to bring to the new apartment.
The next expense is setting up cable and internet. All the cable and satellite companies like to boast about how much money they can save you by setting up internet, phone and cable. What they don’t boast about is charging almost $200 just to set everything up! You can also expect to spend almost $200 on groceries the first time, since you will be starting off with empty cabinets and an empty refrigerator.
The way I see it, you spend a lot of money and put a lot of effort into moving in, so that you can live comfortably for the next 12 months. In my opinion, getting an off campus apartment has been one of my greatest experiences in college. Although expensive, I have learned a lot about paying bills and being responsible. It also opens the door to having unlimited freedom and lots of fun. I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience life on my own, both on and off campus. I would highly recommend doing both, to really get the most out of your college experience.
Enjoy your last month of summer break!