The first thing to think about is your monthly budget. You can't find the right place to live until you know how much you will be able to spend. Keep in mind all the extra expenses that will occur when you move off-campus such as paying utilities, transportation costs, and insurance.
You will want to live within your means. Using a credit card to pay your monthly electric bill will not manage your money wisely. It will just build more and more debt. You need to plan to spend less money you earn each month for all the varied expenses for living off-campus.
Use the budget sheet to determine the limit you can spend for rent, utilities, and other expenses. After you find the right place to live, use the budget sheet, revising your income and expenses as necessary. You can even use it every month when you pay your bills to keep track of your spending.
Most university students must account for every penny they spend. This budget sheet will help you plan for a move off-campus and to track your expenses.
Compare your total monthly expenses with your total monthly income. Your monthly income should be greater. If this is not the case, you might need to cut back on your expenses or find ways to increase your income. You may learn that you cannot afford an apartment at this time or you may need to look for a less expensive apartment.
Note: Your first month will be the most expensive, because of the start-up cost of school such as purchasing school books/supplies, shopping, tuition, fees/deposits, parking, etc. Be sure to check out the moving expenses budget sheet below.
Remember to calculate the initial expenses that you will need to pay before you move off-campus. This includes a security deposit, pet deposit (if required), often both the first and the last month's rent. You will also need to budget for the expenses of the move itself. The Moving Expense Budget Sheet will help you calculate these moving expenses.