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How Do College Students Afford Apartments? Here’s the Top 10 Ways

picture of an empty apartment -how do college students afford apartments

How do college students afford apartments? It may seem impossible to afford an apartment when you’re in college but it is possible. In fact, there are ten easy ways to help you pay your rent including using your student loans, getting a side hustle, and applying for low-income housing.

(You can read how I got myself drowning in debt here and how I got out of it here and here.)

How do College Students Afford Apartments – Develop a Budget that You Can Follow

Before you can even know whether or not you can afford an apartment, you need to have a good grasp of your monthly expenses.

Once you understand what your total monthly expenses currently are and any income you have, you will know what you have left to pay for rent and utilities.

If you don’t have enough money to pay rent when all is said and done, it is time to start looking for expenses you can reduce and ways to save money or make more money.

It’s not always easy, but there are always ways to do so.

Here are 51 quick and easy ways to save money fast.

Once you have a budget and you find room in it to pay for rent, you will have to stick to it. That means no impulse spending or weekend trips with friends.

Get a Side Hustle

In this day and age, there are endless ways you can make money on the side.

There are so many side hustles available to you that you can do online or in-person in your free time that there really is no reason not to be making extra money every month.

Also, you don’t need a part-time job that has no flexibility. All you have to do is be a little creative and you can have enough money coming in to pay your rent.

This can include side hustles such as:

  • Sells used items on eBay
  • Sell textbooks or groceries on Amazon
  • Sell craft projects or vintage items on Etsy
  • Mow lawns
  • Take dogs for walks
  • Sell water in the park on hot days
  • Offer gigs on Fiverr.com
  • Tutor other students
  • Type papers for other students
  • Be a freelance writer on Writer’s Access

The list is pretty much endless. Even now, I sell postcards on eBay and make more than enough to pay my mortgage and it’s fun.

How do College Students Afford Apartments – Use Student Loans to Pay Your Rent

If you receive student loans, they can be used to pay your rent. The money from the loans goes to the college first, but anything left over after your tuition and fees are paid will be deposited back into your bank account.

This can take a little time, a couple of weeks to a month, so you will have to prepare to cover your rent for that time period in another way.

pin for pinterest with the word costs and a woman sitting on the floor -how do college students afford apartmentsRent a Room Instead of an Apartment

Apartments can be expensive. That’s especially true in a college town. One way to be able to live on your own and not in a dorm or with your family is to rent a room in a private house instead of renting a whole apartment.

Typically, you will have your room, a bathroom, or access to one, and maybe access to the kitchen depending on the situation.

Utilities are often included, and the monthly rent is lower. This is a great way to save on expenses and makes it much easier to afford your rent.

Sublet an Apartment

In the summer months, you may find it pretty easy to sublet an apartment. A lot of college students go home during the summer months and want someone to stay in their apartment to help pay the bills.

The rent might be the same as what they are required to pay or there may be a discount.

I did this for one month before school started when I was in graduate school.

I needed a place to stay until I could find my own apartment. It wasn’t a ton of fun to live with two guys that had their girlfriends over all the time, but I stayed to myself in my bedroom and got through it.

It only cost me $150 for the month, so in the end, it was well worth it.

You might be able to work out some sort of deal with your friend as well if there are things you can do around the apartment for them. 

Subletting an apartment is a good way to save money on rent during the summer months if you are staying at school.

House Sit or Couch Surf

Another option is to couch surf or housesit. Couch surfing might not be a great long-term situation as your friends might get tired of you living on their sofa, but it is an option in a pinch or during a transitional period from one term to another.

A better option is to housesit. Housesitting is a great way to live for free. You sometimes have to pet sit at the same time but if you’re an animal lover that’s not a big deal.

This is a good way to save on rent during the college months and also a wonderful way to see the world during the off-school months.

How do College Students Afford Apartments – Find a Couple of Roommates

Of course, one of the easiest ways to be able to afford an apartment as a college student is to have roommates. 

Most apartments will be set up to accommodate several roommates in one space. 

With one or two or even three roommates you can share expenses and your monthly obligations will greatly decrease.

Just be sure you find roommates that you can live with and get along with. Otherwise, you may find yourself looking for a new place in the middle of the term or being miserable with people you thought were your friends.

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Keep Your Expenses to a Minimum

This goes back to budgeting. If you took the time to make a budget you know what your needs are and what your wants are.

Just be sure to keep the wants to a bare minimum. If it isn’t absolutely necessary don’t buy it or do it.

Not splurging isn’t always the most fun thing to do, but it is necessary.

Besides, you will be pleasantly surprised by how good you feel about yourself when you save money. It just may become a lifetime habit.

Check Into Section 8 Housing if You’re Over 23 Years Old

If you have a low income you might qualify for low income or Section 8 Housing. However, if you are under the age of 24, you will have to include your parent’s income on your application.

If their income is too high, you will not be able to qualify. 

If your parents also have a low income, then you might qualify. 

However, if you are 24 or older then you no longer have to include your parent’s income and you would just go through the regular application process.

Use Your Student Discounts

Living in a college town does have its advantages especially when you are a college student. Many places from restaurants to movie theaters and even drug stores have student discounts.

Be sure to ask before you pay and always have your student ID card handy so you can take advantage of them.

Related Questions:

Can a College Student Rent an Apartment?

In general, yes a college student can rent an apartment. Just check with your university first.

Some schools require that freshman students live on campus, so you want to be sure that’s not the case at your university if you want to live in an apartment in your first year.

Can a College Student Get Low-Income Housing?

Yes, they can if they are over the age of 24 and their income qualifies them to do so. They can also qualify under the age of 23 if their parent’s income is low enough.

You might also enjoy:

How to Move Out of Your Parent’s House While in College

How Much Money Does a College Student Need Per Month

How to Make Money as a Ph.D. Student

5 Embarrassingly Easy Ways to Turn $10 Into $100 Dollars

How to Find an Apartment as a College Student?

The best way to find an apartment in a college town is to talk to a local realtor. They will know all of the available apartments, where they are located, and how much the rent is.

After you get to know some other students, you can also learn of available apartments through word of mouth.

How do college students afford apartments? There are a lot of ways. Get a side hustle, find some roommates, make a budget, or use your student loans. Just find a way or ways that work for you and your personal situation.

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