I have to assume that you are either a parent or student if you are reading this post, and one of the biggest financial fears for parents and students is ever growing college expenses.
Before we begin to look at the rising cost of student housing and more affordable options, let’s talk about choosing the right school. You might say that you and your child are already set on what school to go to. I would recommend rethinking that option if the school you have selecting is going to put you into unnecessary debt.
Thinking In Advance on How To Pay For College
If you feel confused about how to pick the right school that makes financial sense then I suggest you seek out an expert who can help. While there are many professionals out there to choose from I personally recommend Mark Kelly the founder of University Financial Strategies who specializes in helping families pay for 4 years of college down to the penny. In the video example below Mark gives a simple break down of a typical student with a $130,000 loan coming out of college with a business major that might make around $3,000 per month. That means that the student owes around $1,500 per month for 10 years to the school they attended for the next 10 years, or around $850 for 25 years. At the 10 year loan that is half their estimated income! This is why choosing a college that makes financial sense with monthly payments you can afford is so important. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you or your child have to go to a super fancy school just for social status, it’s really not worth it in the long run.
The Smart Way to Choose Housing when Paying off College Debt
Now that we have gone over choosing the school that fits your budget opposed to the social status choice, let’s talk about choosing your housing because the same exact principles apply to both.
If you are a student and going to be going to a college close to your parents home then the smartest choice is living with your parents while going to school. I know thats probably not the answer you wanted to hear as most college students want that first taste of freedom and independence but remember this is financial advice.
Tips For College Students and Grads Trying To Find an Apartment
If you have picked a school that fits your budget that is away from home then the smart thing is to first make a budget list which has all your current bills and see how much you have left over to spend on rent. If the school you have picked is in a big city then try to find a place in a smaller surrounding town as the rents will most likely be much more affordable.
Simplicity is your friend when it comes to saving money on housing. Watch out for extra amenities like fancy lobbies and pools which will raise your rent. If you are looking at a multi story apartment building then its important to know the 1st floor is always more expensive because it’s easy to get in and out.
Looking in winter compared to spring and summer can also save you some money because landlords know that far less people are moving in the winter months which makes them lower rent costs. While having a perfect credit score is not required everyone it can be a deal breaking if you are competing against someone else with a good score, so make sure your at least monitor it.
Finally, patience is key when you are on your search for the affordable housing option while in college. I know it can be tough but remember, don’t spend money you don’t have because you will only regret it in the future.