Budgeting while living in an apartment

Audra Kincart

Paying for college is no easy feat, but adding rent on top of that can make things even harder.

Students who are looking for off-campus housing, and students currently living off campus, might be on the hunt for budgeting tips to help with this added responsibility.

Program Coordinator for Student Loan Education Office Jennifer Schroeder says one common mistake that students run into is spending their refund from financial aid before the semester is over.

“The important thing to do is when you get a refund if you’re using financial aid is to figure out how many months that has to last you and dividing that, whatever your refund is, by four or five months,” Schroeder said.

She even suggests students give the money to parents to make sure it is used for its intended purpose such as rent and utilities.

Knowing how much to save can also be difficult to judge.

“When we talk about saving when we’re in school, sometimes it’s maybe not necessarily saving for the future but saving for next month’s rent or saving for next semester’s start-up costs such as books maybe a deposit on an apartment,” Schroeder said. “On average, its usually recommended that three to five percent of your income goes towards saving with each month or with each paycheck.”

Leftover money can be used to start paying student loans or education expenses.

There is no cookie cutter system to budget because budgeting is supposed to be very personalized in order for it to work.

This can be done in a variety of ways, whether it be an app, an online program or envelopes that you set aside for gas, groceries or fun. When that money is used up for the month, you’re done spending until your next month begins.

Many students are facing the same struggles and have to be conscious of turning the lights off and using less water, which is a new obstacle in their lives.

One such student is Savanah Smith, sophomore in agricultural biochemistry, who is already one step ahead of budgeting by having a plan.

“Each month I look at what I spent my money on and decide what is a luxury and what isn’t,” Smith said. “If I went out to eat too much then I try to cut that down for next month and save money that way.”

Budgeting can be broken up into a very simple concept, however.

“The easiest cut-and-dry way to do a budget is your income has to be more than your expenses,” Schroeder said. “If you’re expenses are greater than your income we need to start looking at where our expenses are going and cutting those back or ways we can increase our income.”