Tag Archives: first apartment

Hannah new apartment

Update on Hannah’s Apartment Hunt

Remember when I was comparing the cost of room and board for college to Hannah’s apartment search? I knew Hannah was anxious to find a place and thought it might happen by end of summer.

She signed a lease May 1!

 

It happened SO FAST, I honestly didn’t know what hit me. But it’s all good.

Neither of us expected Hannah to end up in our home town but the apartment is charming and affordable (relatively speaking) and she has the loveliest, grand-parenty landlords. Her neighbors aren’t scary and she feels safe.

As you can tell by the photos, it exceeds her # 1 priority…..LOTS OF LIGHT! Even when it’s overcast outside or on hot days when she has to close the blinds so she’s not poached in there, that apartment is BRIGHT!

Hannah studio

Although Hannah was more anxious to move out than get her own vehicle, her work takes her all over the region and she was saving for a car. When my mom offered to give her an old one that she was trying to sell, it just moved the whole apartment thing to the front burner.

We gave Hannah a budget to help her buy some basics. She wasn’t expecting it and trust me, it’s a fraction of what we’ll end up spending out of pocket for Luke to attend Cleveland State in the first year, alone. The other thing we’re helping her with is the cell phone. It’s $10/month to keep her on our plan vs. getting her own plan starting at $80/month.

She’ll start paying for her own car insurance once she gets settled and organized. I think we added her beater to our policy (while she still lived here) for about $240/year. Not sure what she’ll pay on her own but we’ll do that in a month or two. I’ve easily spent more than that on deposits and enrollment fees already for Luke.

Otherwise, she is on her own and feels great about it. She’ll pay her own rent, utilities (electric, gas and internet). I haven’t bought groceries or toiletries, supplies or anything. I only mention it because I bumped into one of her classmates from high school who just finished her freshman year at an out-of-state college. The girl’s mom was buying her two carts full of groceries and supplies for an apartment she sub-letted for the summer. Not judging, just comparing.

I think there’s a mindset of dependence and continued parental responsibility when kids are in college that most people (society) just accepts. I’m sure I’ll be guilty of indulging Luke while he’s in school. We already have indulged his pursuit of tennis relative to the resources we’ve spent (time, energy and money) on anyone else.

It will be interesting to see the difference as Hannah pursues her career while Luke pursues a degree. This post doesn’t get into what people might think of her path compared to Luke’s more traditional one. I wonder whether it will even be an issue four years from now.

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Room & Board When You Choose Not to Go To College

Gary Vee quote about winning

Hannah still lives at home. I’m fine with that at least until she would have otherwise graduated from college (2020). She’s anxious to get out on her own as soon as she can. I’m guessing by the end of summer (2017) she’ll have her own place.

She’s looking at really nice (and expensive) apartments. The range is anywhere from $800-$1200 per month. She wants 2 bedrooms. She pictures herself having an extra room for a studio. She doesn’t want a roommate.

I can feel you rolling your eyes already. You’re probably thinking how spoiled and unrealistic it is for a 19 year-old to spend so much on her first apartment. Shouldn’t she find the cheapest apartment or a roommate? Shouldn’t she learn what it feels like to struggle and live in a crap hole? Who does she think she is?

If that’s your reaction, it’s interesting that you don’t say the same about Hannah’s friends who spend almost as much for student housing even when they could commute. (Or choose a college close to home in order to save money by commuting).

Your brain comes up with all kinds of rationalizations that make the on-campus living expense acceptable and desirable over Hannah’s situation.

Let’s Compare for Fun

For this scenario, let’s assume that Hannah finds a 2 bedroom apartment for $1,000 plus some utilities (water and sewage is included in the rent but she’ll have to pay for gas/electric, internet and cable if she wants it and food).

Room and Board at local colleges range from $10K-12K or more. For the sake of this thought exercise, we’ll say $11,000. So, a little less than $1,000 per month. That includes meals. Except most parents complain that they have no choice about the meal plan or extra food allowance. Use it or lose it. So, I think that balances out. I know plenty of kids who never eat in the cafeteria so someone’s paying for their Chipolte-it usually ain’t the student.

“Rent” vs. “Room and Board”

  1. I won’t be paying Hannah’s rent or other expenses. Plus my household expenses will likely decrease when she’s out of the house (those 40 minute showers aren’t free).

Many parents pay for tuition plus room and board, drain their retirement funds or take out loans…for 4 years or morePlus they still pay for their kids living expenses during summers and breaks for the entire 4 years.

2. Hannah won’t be borrowing money for her rent or other living expenses. By the time she rents a place, she’ll have an emergency fund saved up in case her expected income doesn’t cover her rent, utilities, food and car expenses. Hopefully, she won’t need it and still have $5,000-$10,000 saved.

Most students borrow to cover the cost of college including room and board. (Avg. debt in PA $37,000)

3. Hannah can choose where she lives, how much she wants to spend and who her roommates will be (if she wants/needs them).

Most students have limited choices about dorms and roommates. Good luck getting a single.

4. Hannah will learn how to budget and pay her own bills.

Most college students are oblivious to the costs associated with student housing. There’s no reason to budget except maybe for parties and pizza.

5. Hannah will learn over the course of the year whether the cost of the apartment is worth it to her. If she finds herself scrambling to pay rent or is stressed by her workload to maintain the lifestyle, she can always find a cheaper place, a roommate, more clients or try to raise her prices. That’s a lot of valuable experience. I could lecture her about all that but nothing beats learning by experience. She also might try Air B n B to supplement her rent expenses.

Some college students get an apartment near campus to save money on student housing but still borrow for it or their parents pay for it. Most students I know don’t write the checks for rent and utilities. I’m not criticizing, just saying they aren’t learning this skill.

6. Even if Hannah struggles to pay for her own place more than she expects, I think the thought of returning home will spur creative solutions to maintain her independence.

Most college students move back home after graduation. Many are forced to live with their parents even after they find work because student loan payments are so high. 

I certainly don’t want Hannah to struggle with rent because she bites off more than she can chew but I’d rather she get a feel for it now. It’s best to make mistakes with money when you don’t have dependents or a 30-year mortgage.

I’ll worry less about Hannah’s safety if she lives in a nicer place (maybe that’s not rational). I’ll certainly miss her but am excited for her to take this step. I’m all for her trying different things while she’s young and isn’t burdened by a lot of financial responsibilities.

If she can manage to afford a beautiful apartment in a city that she loves and is close by, I’ll be happy for both of us!

 

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