It is not unusual for students to move several times over the course of their college career. They may move from the dorm to an off campus apartment with friends and then to their own apartment. However, before moving multiple times, think carefully about the expenses you will incur.
When I was in graduate school, I moved six times over the course of 2.5 years. I had a nice apartment the first year, but it was small and a bit over my budget. I thought the responsible thing to do would be to move to a cheaper apartment, but I ended up moving every few months after that for a number of different reasons. However, in almost every apartment I moved to, the landlords never gave me back my security deposit, even though I had not caused any damage to the apartment. I lost at least $1,000 over those moves in security deposits. (I now know what they did was illegal and that I had rights as a tenant, but I didn’t know that then.) Suddenly the savings I saw from moving to a different apartment evaporated.
When you move to the new apartment, you will have to pay a security deposit, typically 1 to 1.5x the amount of your monthly rent. Some apartments also require that you pay first and last months’ rent also. This can cost you several hundred to several thousand dollars upfront.
Then there is the expense of moving your belongings and furniture. If you have to hire movers, this could run a couple of hundred dollars. If you have friends that will help you move, buying them pizza is a nice gesture. Depending on how many friends help, this could run you $50 to $75. If you have large furniture to move, you will probably need to rent a moving truck for a day or two.
In addition to the larger expenses of possibly losing your security deposit from the old apartment, paying a security deposit and possible first and last months’ rent at the new apartment and the cost of the move itself, there are other smaller expenses.
-If your new apartment is not wired for the Internet service you prefer to use, you will need to pay for the installation.
-If you still use checks, you will need to pay for new checks with your new address on them.
-You may need to buy smaller items for the apartment such as new shower curtains, blinds, and other accessories.
There are many expenses that you will have to pay when in college. While it may seem responsible to move to a cheaper apartment to save money on rent, make sure that you crunch the numbers to see if, after all of the associated moving costs, you are actually saving a significant amount of money. Moving is not fun; why go through the hassle if your savings will be minimal? The best bet is to choose a location you can live in for the majority, if not the entirety, of your college career and save yourself the expense and hassle of moving.
*Photo by Parvinder Singh*