Moving out of your parents’ house to go to college is a big step that will inevitably bring you a great deal of satisfaction. However, this change also brings along a bunch of new responsibilities that you may find a bit overwhelming at first. For starters, renting an apartment in California may force you to manage your money more wisely and become more aware of the impact that your daily decisions inevitably have on your financial situation. Is there a way to reduce rental costs without making any regrettable compromises? Could you actually spend less on rent without having to live in a shoebox apartment located in a shady neighborhood? Should you live on campus to keep your expenses in check? To make the most of an ideal apartment renting experience in California, you should start by getting the most accurate answers to all these key questions.
Why Should You Even Consider Living Off-Campus?
To begin with, you are probably wondering: is living off-campus a feasible option, from a financial standpoint? Believe it or not, recent studies indicate that living off-campus is the most convenient and cost-effective alternative explored by most students in the United States. As a matter of fact, an infographic published by Visually indicates that room and board costs on average $11,571, while commuters spend around $9,669. Do the math, and you’ll realize that students living on campus pay $2238 more than their peers who live off-campus.
5 Tips on How to Find the Perfect Budget-Friendly Accommodation Option in California
Moreover, living off-campus is a great choice simply because it helps you avoid gaining “the freshman fifteen” and embrace healthier eating, while also giving you the opportunity to build credit, gain control over who your roommate is and eliminate potential distractions standing in the way of your academic achievements. If you want to start this new chapter of your life in a rental apartment in California, choose to apply the five following tips to reduce your costs and maximize your satisfaction.
- Target Neighborhoods and Properties That You Can Actually Afford. First of all, you should do your homework to identify some of the most affordable neighborhoods in your Californian city of choice. You should know that even San Francisco and its surroundings, representing one of the most desirable urban areas in California with rentals priced at around $4,000 per month, can surprise you with a plethora of less expensive accommodation options, as long as you know where to look for cheap housing. For instance, if you are determined to move to San Francisco and spend less on rent, you could target the foggy Richmond District, Central Sunset or Oceanview. All three alternatives ensure great rentals priced at around $2,000 per month.
- Manage Day-to-Day Bills and Monitor Your Expenses. Most college students end up experiencing a certain level of financial hardship simply because they are unable to prioritize their needs and take control of their expenses. Some of them buy clothes that they never get to wear, throw a lot of money on school supplies that they could live without and spend even more on parties and other leisure activities.
If you would very much like to make better choices and discover the simplest way to cut down expenses and set some money aside for a rainy day, start by creating a budget and list your monthly expenses, including food, utilities and rent. Next, you can track your spending using one of the many free budgeting apps available at this point, such as Mint, Level Money or Budget Ease.
- Remember That Flashy Details Aren’t Everything Don’t Get Carried Away. As a college student seeking cheap housing in California, you’ll soon learn a very valuable lesson about the perks of minimalist living and reach the conclusion that sometimes, less is more. Sure, an apartment complex with a lavishing rooftop pool or an onsite gym is everything that you could ever ask for, but could you really afford to pay for all these cool additions out of your own pocket without working 3 jobs? Instead of selecting rentals based on the number of flashy appliances and other extras that they have, refine your selection criteria and go for accommodation options that match your realistic needs in terms of square footage, location and basic features.
- Stay Organized and Avoid Clutter. Staying organized at all times doesn’t have to be a challenge, even if you can’t really buy new furniture or remodel your indoors to respond to your requirements in terms of space and comfort. The solution to your problem is simple and convenient: use clever storage options to maximize your space, while also giving a personal touch to your interior space. Under-bed storage, mirror frames with doors, custom-made banquette seating offering more than enough under-seat storage space and exposed rafters and beams represent excellent choices allowing you to feel at home even in the tiniest shared apartment.
Put your creativity at work to come up with new, out-of-the-box storage ideas to stay organized and settle for a smaller space that will automatically involve reduced expenses. If you find it hard to fit all your textbooks, clothes and accessories in an apartment that is clearly too small for you, consider renting self storage space provided by a facility located near your school. Self storage carries a relatively small price tag (you can get a good unit for less than $20 per month) and offers you a practical method to deposit and organize the items that you do not actually use on a daily basis.
- Find a Cheap Rental Fast Using California’s Top Apartment Finding Service. It’s not always easy to find an affordable apartment for rent in California, especially if you don’t understand the new realities of its real estate market, aren’t familiar with your new environment or don’t have time to circle newspaper ads, make hundreds of phone calls and tour dozens of properties on a daily basis.
Even so, you should know that there is a simpler, more practical way to track down inexpensive rentals in Cali before actually landing in this sunny state. Use an apartment finding service offering you access to the freshest, most tempting listings, conduct a personalized search based on your filters of choice (exact location, square footage, number of rooms, price and so on), contact landlords and property managers at a touch of a button, download and upload forms the easy way and identify gorgeous for rent properties in your price range. Work closely with Apartment Hunterz to uncover actual gems on the real estate market in California and reduce your monthly expenses without sacrificing your comfort and overall wellbeing.