Lots of my friends have kids going to college for the first time this year and they are sad and excited all at once. As most moms know, planning for your kid’s big move to college can be an emotional and stressful time for both parent and child, especially preparing your finances to pay for tuition, college housing, books and food.
Even if your child may be years away from going to college, it’s still important to prepare yourself financially for these major costs. According to The College Board®, the average tuition increase from 2014 to 2015 was 3.7 percent at private colleges and 2.9 percent at public universities. Fortunately, there are many options to help you pay for college such as subsidized and unsubsidized loans, grants and scholarships, as well as savings plans to help you put aside enough money to fund your child’s education.
However, tuition is just one part of college expenses. College housing can eat up a major portion of your budget as well. With so many options for today’s students, deciding between dorm-life and apartment living can be a toughie! To help you out, here are a few tips to consider when planning for the best and most affordable home for your future college student.
Preparing For the Big Move To College: Tips For Affordable College Housing
- Compare housing costs: When you’re researching housing, you may hear all sorts of information about how cost-effective off-campus living is. However, many people are unaware of the hidden costs, such as food, utilities and gas, associated with living in an apartment and can sometimes end up spending just as much or more as compared to living on-campus.
- Look for included utilities: If you do decide that an off-campus house or apartment is the best route for your child, try searching for apartments that include utilities in the rent. This allows you or your child to account for how much money is left for other expenses rather than waiting for an electric or water bill to arrive. Not to mention, this can save money during the summer or winter months when utility bills tend to be the highest.
- Roommates are a great option: Roommates are also a great way to share costs including rent, utilities, furnishings and even groceries. Plus, if your child selects a roommate that he or she gets along with, they can have a friend at home while they’re making the adjustment to college life.
- Set up your child’s new home: For many kids, one of the most exciting parts of moving to college is setting up their new home. If you’re looking to save time and money when it comes to furnishing your child’s new dorm or apartment, furniture rental may be a great option! By renting furniture, parents, students and roommates know the exact cost of their furnishings for the entire year and do not have to factor in hidden expenses such as moving vans, fuel prices, storing furniture and replacing broken items. Rental packages start at $99 per month, and the cost can easily be shared between roommates. Plus, renting offers you high-quality pieces for your bedroom, living room and dining room at a fraction of the cost. Not to mention, furniture rental can make move-in and move-out day stress free because the furniture will be set up before you arrive and picked up at the end of the school year at no extra cost!
Sending your kid to college is an exciting milestone, but making sure they have a smooth transition doesn’t come without extensive planning. Making the right decisions about housing can truly make the difference in helping your child have the best college experience possible!