Let’s face it. The college budget is smaller than you would like it to be. Between tuition, rent, food, utilities, cable, and internet, the cost of living can be very high for a college student. That means that it would be worthwhile to make a detailed budget of all the expenses that you will face while living off-campus. The following section will provide you with basic information about budgeting. 

General budgeting tips

  • Don’t take on more than you can afford.
  • Develop a detailed budget
  • When planning your budget, take into account times during the year when spending might be higher, such as for air conditioning in the summer, heating in the winter and gifts during the holidays.
  • Consider carefully before using credit cards. If used responsibly, they are a great way to establish good credit. However, if you don’t pay the balance in full every month, there will be interest charged on any part that rolls over — and that can really add up quickly.
  • Know where your money goes.
  • Be aware of how you spend it. For instance, if you spend $4 per day on coffee, that adds up to $120 a month. Tracking how you spend your money will show where you can cut back.
  • Plan for major purchases far in advance.
  • Adjust your budget to build up savings so you don’t have to use credit for textbooks or other big expenses.
  • If you are living with roommates, make sure they are legally on the lease with you. Make sure that all the utilities aren't just under your name.

Initial move-in costs

Move-in costs vary, but expect to pay the following before moving in:

  • First month’s rent
  • Last month’s rent
  • Security deposit
  • Application fee
  • Service fees to connect utilities (payable to utility companies)

Utility costs

Utilities are generally not included with rental properties in Bend. The cost for utilities can vary based on many factors, including the type of unit and the age of the building.

Consider budgeting — at a minimum — $150 to $200 per month per person when living with roommates for power, gas, cable, internet, water and trash pick-up. When viewing a rental property, ask the current tenants what their average utility bills are per month. Although everyone has different usage patterns, this can at least give you an estimated cost for comparison. If you’re unable to ask the current tenants, try contacting the utility companies directly.

Next Skill: Live Responsibly