May is finally here and with it comes graduation season. There are approximately 250,000 college students in the Boston area, and a large chunk of them will be officially entering the “real world” in just a few weeks. As the big day approaches, many eager seniors can taste the freedom which awaits them as soon as they toss their caps in the air. But for those moving home after graduation, that excitement fades fast. After all, a twin size bed and nagging parents doesn’t exactly spell “independence.”
Often, students’ financial situation leaves them no choice but to move home, but there are ways to avoid this less-than-ideal living situation. Graduation should be a time of moving forward. Why take a step back?
Check out these top 6 tips to avoid moving home after graduation. Nothing is worse than hearing about your friends’ cool new pad in the city while you’re stuck at home in a bedroom crowded by stuffed animals and posters of pop stars. This advice will help make sure you have options once you leave campus. It’s time to enjoy the freedom you earned after four years of hard work. Here’s how to make it happen.
1. Don’t go it alone. Finding a studio apartment in a postgraduate price range is next to impossible. Recruit a buddy or sibling to join you in your apartment search. With more people, you’re much more likely to find an apartment you love at a price you can afford. But be sure you choose someone you can trust – nothing is worse than sealing the deal on an apartment and having your roommate back out last minute.
2. Work part-time in college. Between the demands of classes, unpaid internships, clubs and of course your social life, it can be difficult to carve out time to make some money in college. But if you plan on flying the coop after graduation, you’re going to need a significant chunk of cash, especially to afford a place here in the Hub. Find a part-time job where you bring in a little money each week. You don’t have to dump your entire paycheck into an apartment fund. If you set aside 20 to 25 percent of your income, you should have no problem renting your own place after graduation.
3. Leave the car at home. Parking is anything but cheap here in Boston. Add in the cost of gas and auto maintenance and you’re facing a serious expense. Boston provides plenty of affordable, accessible public transportation options as alternatives to driving. Use them! Tons of affordable apartments are located along T or bus routes, making it easy to travel into the heart of the Hub. Plus, Boston is smaller than most cities. When weather permits, break out your bike and cycle to your destination. It’s likely closer than you think.
4. Spend smart. Minding your money is often easier said than done, especially in college. When your buddies are begging you to head to the bar for the third night in a row, it’s hard to say no. And how many times did you order takeout because you were too lazy to cook? All these expenses add up and can make a major dent in your bank account. While it’s okay to treat yourself every once and a while, be smart and keep the excess spending to a minimum.
5. Look beyond downtown Boston. We all would love to live in Beacon Hill, the North End, or the Back Bay. But an apartment smack dab in the middle of Boston comes with a price tag few recent graduates can afford. Consider apartments on the outskirts of Boston in Allston, Brighton, Dorchester, Watertown, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Fort Hill, Roxbury, West Roxbury, or across the river in Somerville. These neighborhoods offer some amazing apartments, and you might be surprised by what they have to offer at attractive price points. Plus, simply hop on the T, bus, or commuter rail and you’ll be downtown in no time.
6. Use online resources. Be sure to take full advantage of apartment hunting resources online. This is the best way to explore, search, and discover affordable living options in the city.
www.BostonApartmentNetwork.com, powered by BostonPads, for example, is Boston and New England’s largest apartment database and provides the most comprehensive listings of apartments in the Greater Boston area. Not only does the site give you the entire local real estate market at your fingertips, it also connects users with an agent who can provide free market analysis. Agents are available seven days a week to help users find options to match their needs.