Is That Apartment Actually Affordable?

24 Sep

Raysha Duncan, Purdue Alum
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

It’s almost October! You know that means? It’s time to start signing for apartments for next year. That’s right, you just got all settled into your dorm or current apartment and everybody’s already asking about your plans for fall 2016.

As you’re bombarded with information about the newest and best apartments available, you’ll want to keep in mind whether or not you’ll actually be able to afford the amazing deal they’re offering you (or that your friends are trying to talk you into). Here are some things to consider before jumping into the pool of possibilities!

feet going up stairs; text overlay: Is That Apartment Affordable?

How much is your portion of the rent?

This is one of the first things you’ll want to look at – do you have an individual lease or a group lease? If you’re on an individual lease, you’re responsible for just your room/portion whereas with a group lease, you and all of your roommates are responsible for the whole rent. This means that if you have three roommates and one of them doesn’t pay, the rest of you are expected to pick up the slack.

How much is the deposit?

Do you have enough right now to pay the deposit? Will it set you back and deplete your emergency savings? If you don’t have any savings right now, you should think about building some up before signing onto such a big expense every month.

What utilities do you have to pay for?

Many apartments include at least some of the utilities, but you’ll want to find this out at the beginning so you can factor utility payments into your monthly expenses. Utilities at an apartment can include: water, sewage/trash, electric, gas, cable, etc. Cable is most likely optional, but if your roommates decide it’s necessary, then you’ll have to pitch in and pay for that as well.

What happens if one of your roommates doesn’t pay their portion?

If you have an individual lease, you’re probably fine. But if both of your names are on the lease or on a utility bill that’s not paid, then you’ll have to either convince them to pay it or just pay it yourself. Missing a payment could affect your credit score, and definitely your relationship with your landlord if it’s the rent.

How far away from campus are you?

Is there a bus route? Do you need a car? These are two of the biggest factors when deciding how far away from campus you’re going to live. The Greater Lafayette Area has a great bus system, so chances are that you’re on a bus route, but you’ll want to double-check. You’ll also want to see how long it would take you to get to campus every day. A 50-minute bus ride to and from campus every day may not be the most convenient!

If you do need a car, that’s a whole other expense you’ll need to take into consideration: insurance, gas, parking pass, and buying the car/monthly payments.

Do you have everything you need to move in?

What necessities do you still need to live on your own? Do you have the means to acquire those things? How much do your future roommates have that they’re going to be bringing along? If you don’t have anything you need to move into an apartment, those are things you’ll need to save up for and purchase before moving.

How much will your groceries cost every month?

So your budget can cover your rent, but can you still feed yourself every month? You could potentially eat on just $50/month…but you probably won’t be eating very healthy or very well. You need to make sure you’ll have enough to eat every month too, and the dining courts won’t be a convenient option for you anymore once you’ve moved off campus.

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