The semester starting to wind down and exams, papers and craziness is starting to ramp up. But take a few minutes to see if you could move out of the dorms and save some money. Depending on where you are, living in the dorms may be cheaper than renting a room or much, much more expensive. How do you decide?
Well you need to add up all the costs associated with each. Sometimes when you rent, utilities are included, like the dorms but often if you rent directly from a landlord instead of just a room, that is not true. Ask the landlord what the average utilities costs are. Google internet in your area and get an idea of that cost. Obviously there is no reason to have a landline because you have your cell, so ignore those ads. You'll need a way to get to school, should you live near-by or farther out? That depends if you work and if you have car. If you don't have a car and can find an apartment on a bus line, that is often better than buying a car. Remember you are likely to move once you graduate. Never the less, include the cost of transportation if you did not need in, living in the dorms. Also, remember to add in food costs because you won't need a food plan once you are living on your own.
Then add up the dorm costs and remember to include that food plan! Once you have everything added up, compare them. Which is a better choice for you? If staying put is better, obviously don't move but if moving is better check if you signed the dorm contract for the semester or the year. If it is for the semester, then plan to move into a new place come spring semester. If it is a year lease, then you have to do more work. Every university has someone who oversees the dorms and if you are nice, they may be willing to allow you to break the lease without a penalty. They don't have to, so don't be a jerk about it, but the answer is always no, if you don't ask.
Come January we will go into how to find a good apartment, from both a tenant and landlord perspective. See you soon.