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Roommates or my own apartment?

Pure DinPure Din Rhode Island Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I need to decide whether I want to stay in my current apartment for next year (where I will need 3 roommates) or whether I want to go find my own place to live. I have a lot of furniture, and I really like my current apartment, so moving into someone else's apartment is not something I am interested in. The problem is that all of my roommates are moving out, so I would need to find three people to move into this apartment with me. I did it last year, and it was a lot of work, but probably not as much work as finding a new apartment and moving all my stuff.

Oh, and last year, all my roommates left because they were leaving the city. This year one of them is leaving the city, and the other two were new to the city and now want to live with people they're actually friends with. In case anyone was wondering why everyone keeps moving out on me. I'm not a bad roommate, but I don't tend to be best friends or even good friends with the people who I live with.

I'm 23, no school loans, have about $20k saved in my bank account. I'm a PhD student, and my stipend is about $2000 a month after taxes and stuff, while in the summer I make about $3000 a month. This is a position I will be in for the next 3-4 years, until I get my PhD. My current place costs $550 a month + utilities, but things like the internet I pay a lot less for than if I lived by myself. If I try to find my own place, I would likely end up spending as much as half of what I make on rent, utilities, and internet. My spending for everything non-housing tends to be about 500-600 a month.

I read somewhere that it is bad to spend more than 30-40% of what you make on housing? Is that rule always true? I don't want want to screw up my savings, but I'm studying Computer Science, not humanities, so I shouldn't be too worried about making a living once I finish? What do other people think about this?

Pure Din on

Posts

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I live with my SO and we pay about what you're paying now with roommates. Seems like you need to downgrade or find roommates to me.

  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    You can't really make that judgement without knowing the average cost of living there.

    Anyways, I would make a pro and con list of living alone and living with others. Generally, I personally would always rather live alone. In my eyes, even if I had roommates in a big house I would only really have one room to call my own. I rather just spend the equivalent amount on a studio or a small 1 bd room apartment.

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  • wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User
    edited February 2011
    If I were in your situation I'd move out on my own, but I guess it depends how much you value living on your own. The rule you mention is generally correct but it's also correct for people who don't have such a substantial safety net. The idea with the 30% rule is it leaves you enough to pay the rest of your bills, cover your entertainment costs, food costs, and savings.

    I currently pay just about 50% of my income for an apartment of my own. I cover the rest of my bills and manage to save a few hundred every month with the remaining 50%. On months where I see overtime, I put a little more away - but all in the hopes of getting a savings account closer to where you've got it. I'm comfortable, happy, and I don't have to deal with room-mates all the time, and to be honest? I'd pay a lot for just that.

    I'd say if you work out your costs and find that you won't be losing money and you even have a small amount to cover emergencies (100-200 a month), why not? You've got a lot in savings and a (presumably) profitable career to come, so why not live a little comfortably for the next few years in a town where rent isn't absolutely crazy.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Even 50% is doable if you can survive on the other 50%. I mean if you bring in 2000 a month, and can live off of $200 short of your apartment, that's fine.

  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I think you need to decide which is more important to you in the long term, savings or time. If you continue to live with a bunch of roommates, you could end up having to find new roommates every year and also run the risk of getting a bad roommate. If you decide to move into your own space, it will most certainly cost more at least for utilities. When I was a graduate student, money was infinitely more important as I didn't know how long it would take to get a job once I graduated and knew I would eventually need enough for a car, but you'll need to decide this for yourself.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    couldn't you downsize to a two bedroom. Then you would only need one roomate, much easier to find than 4.

    You can likely find an appartment that has everything included except electric and cable/internet. And if you have 1 roomate then you can go halfsies on those. Overall, that shouldn't be too large of a rent increase.

    Even if you do end up spending half your money on rent and other stuff, or 3/4 of your money, you have 20 g's in the bank. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Gotta do what you gotta do until you graduate and get a job.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • Pure DinPure Din Rhode Island Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    In my eyes, even if I had roommates in a big house I would only really have one room to call my own. I rather just spend the equivalent amount on a studio or a small 1 bd room apartment.

    The problem is, I feel like a studio apartment would be worse than I have now. My boyfriend stays with me most weekends (he has no friends where he currently lives, and I have to work most weekends). So my personal space needs to fit two people for 3 nights a week, and combined with my long work hours during the week, I feel like I'm starting to unravel a bit because I can't ever just spend time by myself.

    At least in my current place, I can go to the living room and there's a chance no one else will be there. With a studio I wouldn't even have that. So I've have to rule out any studio or "open" type apartments, which is the reason I'm not sure I could afford to live by myself.

    Geez, this makes it sound like I should have started a relationship thread instead. :(

  • Rhesus PositiveRhesus Positive Damn these electric sex pants! Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Wanting a space to call your own is natural, so I wouldn't start a relationship thread just yet - I'm living with my girlfriend and I couldn't be happier with the situation, but there are times when I just need to unwind in a room on my own. I'm fairly sure every couple does something similar.

    Another successful post, thanks to the power of Spacestar Ordering™!
  • brain operatorbrain operator Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Pure Din wrote: »
    The problem is, I feel like a studio apartment would be worse than I have now. My boyfriend stays with me most weekends (he has no friends where he currently lives, and I have to work most weekends). So my personal space needs to fit two people for 3 nights a week, and combined with my long work hours during the week, I feel like I'm starting to unravel a bit because I can't ever just spend time by myself.

    At least in my current place, I can go to the living room and there's a chance no one else will be there. With a studio I wouldn't even have that. So I've have to rule out any studio or "open" type apartments, which is the reason I'm not sure I could afford to live by myself.
    Wouldn't you have the studio to yourself 4 nights a week? It seems I'm missing something.

    That said, it sounds like it would be worth your while to go and look for a 1-bedroom apartment you can afford. It may require a bit of legwork, but you seem to want it more than enough. At $2K/month, it should be doable (depending on where you live - Providence?). Don't get hung up on percentages. Work out the absolute cost of living and decide whether you're willing to cough that up.

  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Some things to consider:

    Commute - how far are you willing to travel to get to and from your job? Don't forget to add in traffic times.

    Space - How much space do you need for privacy? Is a bedroom enough, do you need multiple rooms?

    People - Are you okay with being alone in the house alone for long periods of time? It may seem like an odd question, but I've got a friend who can't stand to be in a big house alone. She says all the empty makes it super lonely.

    Financial - 30% is a rule of thumb when it comes to housing expenses..but there are more formulas that are becoming more popular to reflect some realities of modern living. For example - You take your Monthly income, subtract out your monthly bills (car payments, student loans, credit cards, etc) and then take 30% of that number. The end number should be the monthly rental amount. This realistically factors in your overall debt load and makes sure you avoid being house poor or neglecting your other bills.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If I were you, I'd sell some of that furniture off on craigslist and then either live on my own or at least get a smaller place with less roommates.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2011
    The rent is $550 *4 or $550 in total? Because the is incredibly cheap and depending on location I doubt you can get cheaper, unless that is just your share then move for sure.

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  • wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User
    edited February 2011
    For Providence it's probably most likely 2200 / month.

    I think the idea that makes the most sense so far is downsizing to a 2BR apartment. Cuts all your bills in half, but also makes it managable to replace your room-mate OR have your boy move in without too much affect on the house in the future. Again, for someone still in school you're doing fantastic with a savings like that, and in my opinion takes a lot of the pressure off your budget. As long as you're not losing money, I'd personally make some luxuries for myself.
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