Money Talks: Off Campus Living

Posted by Joe Crosby

12/15/15 5:33 PM

Money Talks are quick hitting posts on a topic that will help your students manage their loans and finances. With links, tools, and visuals, you can easily use the information to help your students become financially healthy and strong.  

Previous Money Talks: TaxesCredit Scores | Staying on Budget  | Dropping Out & Student Loan Repayment Options | Forecasting the Future | Making Summer Income Last All Year

While post-secondary education is about growing as a person, acquiring workplace skills, and developing professional opportunities to improve earning potential, it's helpful to have a good place to live while you're doing that. 

And the debate for students across the country continues to be should I live on-campus and take advantage of all those conveniences or do I live off-campus to have more flexibility. 

If you're in charge of helping students make good money decisions, then housing is a great place to start. Here are 4 resources to help you, help them. 

1. An Evaluation Document

When really digging into the pros and cons of an important decision like housing, it's helpful to have a document to straighten out all the finer details.

And, of course, your students would never take an important decision, like housing, lightly. They'll do the research. 

Here's a document to help ask the right questions, document the right information, and make the right decision: 

GradReady's Evaluating Rental Living Spaces Handout >>>

2. Roommate Calculator  

Students will save on rent, utilities, food, and possibly even commuting costs when they add roommates. And that money that is saved could go toward buying an important textbook that might make a big difference. Some people, however, don't like the idea of worrying about sharing costs especially when you get into issues where some people have a bigger room, a better view, a closet, or a parking space. Roommate calculators help take some of the burden off the negotiations. Here are some of the best calculators out there.   |  |

3. Use Housing as a Tool for Budgeting

Housing will likely be one of the biggest budget items for your students in the near future. Use the rule of thumb that just 30% of income should go toward housing and you'll teach them an important lesson for now and the future.  

Then, introduce them to the reality of housing with The Out of Reach Report. It shows that the average household across the country will need to make $19.35 per hour for a 2 bedroom apartment without going over the 30% of income rule of thumb. 



4. Save Money on Board

Some students will be lost without their campus dining options, but smart grocery shopping might mean the difference between your off-campus students arriving at class with food in their stomach and showing up hungry.  

This infographic is long, but provides several good gems to share with your students. As a grocery store list maker, the fact that we'll spend $17.35 on items not on list, doesn't surprise me! 






Topics: Financial literacy