Advice for Living Off-Campus
After my freshman year living in a dorm in west campus, I felt it was time for a change and decided to move off-campus. I wanted to switch it up from having dining hall food to having my own place where I could cook. My sister told me that south campus offers a nice way to get out of the “BU bubble,” but still be close to classes. I found a great apartment and could not be happier about my decision. There is not only a Tatte five minutes from my new place, but
Timeout Market, Whole Foods, and more!
Moving from a dorm meant having more responsibilities. I had to set up an Eversource account, budget my spending on dining out and groceries, and file maintenance requests when needed (which can take weeks to be completed).
Here are my tips for living off-campus:
1. Research each apartment you visit
Even if you like it, you do not want to sign a lease on the first apartment you see. Make sure you ask current tenants about their experience, and why they are moving out. Also, be sure to inquire about whether the building or appliances have any problems and, if so, how quickly the
landlord responds and fixes the issues.
2. Create a budget
Living in Boston can be expensive. Takeout, groceries, and household items can add up. In addition, off-campus housing requires utilities and internet among other incidentals. I write down my weekly spending on the notes app, or you can use a journal to track expenses to ensure you are not overspending.
3. Buy basic items in bulk
Going to Target or Star Market is not only time-consuming if you run out of necessities, like toilet paper or hand soap, but it can also be expensive. Buying in bulk helps you to save money, but you should also be careful not to over purchase as space is limited, and to monitor your inventory so that you have everything when you need it.
4. Introduce yourself to your neighbor(s)
I introduced myself to my neighbor across the hall on move-in day. You do not necessarily need to be close to them, but knowing who they are and getting their contact information can help you in the future. What if the power goes out and you need to borrow a flashlight, or use their cell phone because you accidentally locked yourself out? It has happened to me. An emergency can
come up, and it is a relief to know that your neighbor is near and can lend a hand.
5. Clean your apartment
Cleaning is essential. Boston is riddled with rats, mice and roaches. Consistently vacuum your floors, do your dishes, take out the trash, and clean your counters and bathroom.
6. Set up auto payment for rent
Apartment owners and landlords are very rigid about when your rent is due and you want to avoid a late fee. Set up auto-payment, if possible, and if it isn’t an option, put a reminder in your calendar for when to send the payment each month.