How to budget for living off campus


If you’re planning to live off campus, you need to figure out how much you can spend. Setting up your budget is a crucial first step to making plans for housing. 

Identify your price range

In order to find out what you can afford, you need to know how much you’ll have to spend each month. Whether your income comes from a job, student loans or another source, it’s important to nail down your income flow so you can ensure that you’ll be able to afford your rent. Plus, you’ll likely have to prove some form of income on your rental application, so it’s good to be prepared for that.

It’s not enough to know how much you’re bringing in each month. You’ll also need to know how much you’ll need to spend each month. This will include the necessities like utilities and food and everything else you spend money on. Check out this budgeting for beginners guide to lay out your finances. 

We recommend asking about the average cost of utilities (and which utilities are covered by the landlord and which are covered by the tenant) at every place you tour. But until then, you’ll want to fill in a few baseline numbers so you can find out what price range you should be searching within. 

Compare and contrast

Once you know your price range, you can start checking out rental spaces. This is a super helpful checklist of all the costs you should consider when planning out your budget. Use it for each place you check out, then compare and contrast your options. 

It’s also important that anyone you’re planning on living with has their budget on track as well. We recommend sharing this post with your future roomies and making sure they’re prepared for any and all costs associated with moving to and living in your new place.


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A library of helpful advice, tips and answers to questions from students to Sunny.

ASU’s chatbot, Sunny, has been helping students get adjusted to college life for a few years now. The questions from students year after year, rarely change. Sometimes it helps to see what other students are asking to stay informed and realize you aren’t the only one trying to figure it all out.

Welcome to the Hey Sunny blog – a library of advice for students from Sunny and the team supporting the bot.

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