Finding affordable housing as a student can be tricky, but it’s not impossible! With some savvy apartment hunting skills, flexibility, and creative cost-cutting measures, you can secure comfortable and budget-friendly student housing. Follow these tips to keep more cash in your wallet while living your best student life in affordable student apartment housing in Houston.
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Search Off-Campus for Cheaper Rent
On-campus housing might seem like the obvious choice, but you’ll often find more affordable rents in privately owned off-campus apartments. Schools charge premium rates for the convenience of living on campus. But if you don’t mind a short commute, look into apartments, condos, and houses for rent in neighborhoods adjacent to campus. Proximity keeps you close to classes and activities while saving potentially hundreds per month compared to dorms.
I found a studio apartment 15 minutes from campus that was $500/month cheaper than the dorms. The walk allowed me to get some exercise in too! Just be sure to factor in transportation costs if you need a parking permit or bus pass.
Take Advantage of the College Town Slump in Summer
If your schedule permits, try to apartment hunt during the summer when some college towns become renter’s markets. Many students go home over summer break, leaving landlords eager to fill vacancies. With less competition, you can negotiate cheaper rents and perks like getting the first month free.
I signed my lease in July and got the landlord to lower the rent by $50. She needed someone before the fall semester started. Be flexible on move-in dates and you may catch a deal.
Get a Roommate to Split Costs
Living alone is a luxury most students can’t afford. Splitting rent and utilities with one or more roommates in a multi-bedroom apartment can drastically cut costs. Online roommate finders like Roomi make it easier to search for compatible roommates. Or you can ask friends you trust.
Sharing a 3-bedroom place with friends instead of getting a 1-bedroom reduced my housing costs by like 60%. Just be sure to agree on ground rules and cleaning duties upfront to avoid conflicts.
Prioritize Location Over Size
Especially in expensive cities, an apartment’s location influences price more than its size. You can save money by choosing a small studio or 1-bedroom situated close to campus over a larger space in the suburbs that requires driving. Less space might feel cramped but the time and transportation savings are worth it.
My first closet-sized studio was tiny but just a 5 minute walk from all my classes. I spent more time on campus than at home anyway so I didn’t need much space. Location was the priority for me.
Furnish on the Cheap
You don’t necessarily need to outfit your new apartment with brand new furniture. Check thrift stores, garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or campus bulletin boards for good quality used furnishings. Or ask if any seniors are moving out and selling their stuff. With a little creativity, you can furnish an apartment for very little money.
I furnished my whole apartment with stuff students were selling for cheap as they graduated. Then I sold it and made my money back at the end of the year! Secondhand shopping saved me a ton on costs.
Choose a Energy-Efficient Apartment
Seek out apartments with Energy Star appliances, good insulation, modern windows, and energy-efficient lighting. Apartments that are inefficient wasters of electricity mean you’ll pay higher utility bills that add up over time. Newer buildings or recently renovated spaces tend to prioritize energy efficiency.
I picked an apartment that had solar panels which really reduced electricity costs. I barely had to turn on lights during the day! Definitely made a difference in my bills.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Ask if there are any student discounts on rent, utilities, or other housing costs. Properties looking to fill vacancies may offer deals for students. You can also get discounts on renters insurance, cable/internet, and other services as a student. Take advantage!
My apartment gave students a 5% discount on rent which doesn’t seem like much but saved me almost $100/month. I also got student rates for my utilities and insurance. Every bit counts!
With some persistence and creativity, you can find affordable housing as a student. Don’t settle for the first overpriced place you see. Do your research and consider these budget-maximizing tips to save substantial amounts on your student apartment.