How does renting an apartment off-campus compare to living in a dorm financially?

Photo of The Preserve at San LuisApartments at the Preserve include utilities. This can help you create a rough budget, which will make it easier to plan and prepare.

Choosing your living arrangement will be one of the most important decisions you'll make when starting your Florida State University college career. If you're an incoming freshman, your choice might be made for you, as most colleges require you to live on-campus until after your first year. When it comes time to choose between dorm living or apartment living, there are a few things you should consider that could impact your finances.

Utilities

Living in a dorm, utilities are included. This means cable, water, electricity and the majority of the time internet, are included in the price of the dorm. Similar to dorms, many apartment near FSU include utilities. Some apartment communities offer unlimited usage, while others may give you a utility cap in which you pay for any overages. Another style of apartment to look for in Tallahassee is an all-inclusive apartment. These types of apartments offer similar benefits as the ones with utilities included, except there is no cap. When choosing this type of apartment
first consider your lifestyle and needs. If you like to turn the air conditioning down low and take long showers this may save you a lot of money, however, if you're more conservative with your utilities, you might actually save money if you individually pay your bills instead of having them all bundled into one. Do some research before making your final decision. Whether you end up choosing a dorm or an apartment, having a rough budget for your utilities makes it much easier to plan and prepare!

Amenities

With an off-campus apartment, you can take advantage of money-saving amenities like a fitness center, in-unit washer and dryer, on-site car wash, and business center with free printing. Living off-campus, you'll have access to several fun amenities like game rooms, pools, fitness centers and big screen TVs to watch movies or sports as well. An amenity you might not think of, is free transportation from your FSU apartment to campus and other parts of Tallahassee with the Seminole Express. Having an apartment with a pool is a great way to get some exercise in, cool off on a hot day or even socialize with other people who live in your community. Another great amenity to have in an apartment community is a fitness center. Why pay extra money for a gym membership when you can use the fitness center in your community for free? Many are 24 hours, so you can work out when it best suits your schedule.

Food

If you don't mind eating out for almost all of your meals, dorm life might suit you. Most dorm "kitchens" consist of a microwave and a mini fridge. This means you will more than likely have to buy a meal plan that is offered by the college – which can be quite expensive. Campus living also puts a huge limit on your food options. With an apartment near FSU you can cook all the meals your heart desires in your very own fully-equipped kitchen. You can trade that mini fridge for a full-size refrigerator. Buying your own groceries and cooking at home can sometimes come out to less that buying a meal plan if you were on campus – with the added benefit of eating whatever you like. Apartments generally also have more space which means more room to entertain in. This means that you can throw a dinner party for all your friends!

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTally.com or any of our advertising partners.