(Closed) Living on your own during college HELP!! please

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
2494 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Yes! You can do it, if you can handle it. I worked 40-60 hrs a week and did 5 years of schooling (sometimes with extra course) and managed just fine.

My big suggestion would be to fill out this interactive online worksheet from my FAVOURITE financial guru (seriously, she is amazing) http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources/interactive_budget_worksheet.html . I would fill it out using your LOW income possibilities (lets say, after taxes, $2000-$2200 on the low end?) and see if you can make it. If not, figure out how many hours you HAVE to work to survive. I’d take the extra money and throw it into a savings account so that if something big comes up (i.e. that job that is lined up takes a month or more to get going) you will have the money to buy a wardrobe, makeup, interview clothes, etc, etc.

I think you can do it!

Post # 5
2494 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@SurferB:  Not a problem! I’d check out her website for the article and questions. Every day people like you and me ask questions on there all the time and I find they are sometimes really helpful to read through and become more saavy.



Post # 6
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I think it will be close. You wont have really any savings should something go wrong. But this is the older me talking. We just recently got a savings account together with money in it and we are 28.

I took the low end of your “income before taxes” and then took out 25% (which is almost what comes out as a single dependent. A little on the high side…but better high then too low.) It comes down to around $1800 a month. This is your income for your budget…not the $2500 before tax. Then anything extra is gravy.

I also did the average apt…at $495 a month…though even on the high end you are ok. ($600×3=$1800). I wouldn’t pay more than 30% of my actual income on rent if you dont have too.

Grocerys…Does your $80 a month include things like paper towels, toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent? To me $80 seems really low. My Darling Husband and I can barely get out of the store for less then $100 when we just get things we need. But I will use $80 anyway. Thats $240 a month. Gas is $40 per person or combined? If its per person then you are at $320 for gas.

So far we are at $1055 a month…This does not include any types of utilities (electric, water, cable, phone, sewer and trash). So depending on where you are at and how much you use, you can range anywhere from $450-$600 (this includes our area average for all of the above except cable…but includes internet and cell phones).

So on the conservative side…we are at $1500-1650 and I think this is a bit low, but it can be done as long as no surprises happen.

If I were you guys…I would wait until August to move out if I could so we could get a healthy savings account together first in 2-3 months you should be able to get $2000-$3000. That way should anything come up…like not working a ton of hours in december due to finals/holidays, or one of you gets sick and cant work for a week. Not being able to work 1 week hurts more than anything in the budget area. Plus getting apartments comes with deposits and application fees that could be pricey. Some places make you pay first and last months rent.


Post # 7
338 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

You can DEFINITELY do it. I’m in college and living off campus on my own right now and I know that as a simple, young person, it’s easy to live on $2k a month. 2k is actually a lot in my eyes! I personally was trying to figure out how to live in $1k a month. 

You don’t have a mortgage, kids, crazy loans (outside your student loans which will be paid off after college, I assume?), so you can definitely do it! 

Post # 10
1855 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Okay, well before Fiance I was in this boat! So I’ll elaborate on pre-FI.

I’m in Halifax, where living is NOT cheap. These are your options:

  • Residence


  • Living in a large house with other students


  • An apartment

I did Residence first year. Included meal plan, but was horrendous. I hated it. Did the large house with other students second year. HATED it. Third year I opted for an apartment.

The thing with my city is that you either live in a beautiful luxury apartment that is pretty much unaffordable for any student, or you live somewhere fairly dumpy. I lived in a piece of shit basement apartment for $660 with electric and cable included, but internet not. 

Now that I’ve met Fiance I’ve moved into a condo (which is actually an apartment we made an offer to own on.) Rent was $1750 a month plus electric, but heat included. Cable and internet are not included, so we also pay that. Electric bill for a 1500 square foot apartment for us (and we’re pretty reckless with leaving lights on) is like 100/month. Groceries for the two of us cost ~100 week. It could be a lot less, I’m just an awful cook and I buy as much pre-made/oven ready/microwavable food as possible.

Driving to and from school and driving Fiance to work costs about 100 bucks every 2 weeks. Gas is expensive here, and we drive a small-ish sports car which is awesome on gas.

That’s how it works on my end! Maybe that remotely helps/gives you some insight on how my college life is.  


 PS: to summarize, I’d say our total costs (excluding car insurance) are like $2100/month. We divide it by 2, so $1100 each!

Post # 13
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

You can totally do it on that income! I currently live off of less than half of your low-end salary per month, raising a child. I have an apartment (with ‘cheap’ rent for my city, about $700/month nothing included), pay for electricity, heat, hot water, cell phone, internet, public transit for my daughter and I ($90/per month total) and groceries (I pay child-specific costs like daycare out of government child tax benefits, so I don’t count that expense). I don’t save much, if anything, but I stay afloat. More than 60% of my income per month goes to rent only and the rest covers our other expenses, which includes occasional treats. Decide what’s a necessity for you and what needs to be paid in order to get by, and then look at what you can afford on housing – I can promise you that for a year, you can make due in less than fantastic housing. Maybe it’s possible to find housing that’s a bit closer to work and school? That would cut down on one of your biggest monthly expenses.

Post # 15
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@SurferB:  Rent is so depressing isn’t it? I choose to live far from my university because it’s a cheaper neighbourhood – people who live within walking distance are paying three times my rent for a studio. I’d rather do a 40 minute commute :p

Good luck finding a place that suits you and hopefully doesn’t break the bank!

Post # 16
1141 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

You can do it and maybe think about a room ate or another couple to cut expenses. It’s doable it depends on if that’s supposed to take care of tuition and books as well.

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