I love looking at real estate and property when I’m in a new place so I was already checking out the area when I was on my interview for my new job. I begin looking at the cost of living, apartments, popular areas etc. right away to get a little knowledge about the area. This became a practice of mine as soon as I realized I was going to move away from home to pursue my career path.
I’m pretty bad at figuring out or accepting money for work so I try to get as many facts as possible so I can put together a reasonable payment/salary. Otherwise, I’d offer to work for something ridiculous, like corn.
The area around Hanover, NH is pretty pricey. Especially right in town. The nice thing about New Hampshire is though that there is NO INCOME TAX OR SALES TAX! Property taxes are higher to make up for it which in turn makes rent higher.
After I received my job offer, I really delved into to finding a place. I’m not afraid of a commute and honestly, Mitch and I would love to be out in countryside more so we were able to expand our search perimeters.
Another huge issue with our search for an apartment was the fact we probably weren’t going to see if before signing a lease. I currently live in Pittsburgh, PA. It’s about a ten hour drive to New Hampshire and although we entertained the idea of making the trip and instead of a hotel room, saving money by camping out on the Appalachian Trail (it runs through Hanover) we decided to save the money and do all our searching remotely.
We had set the bar pretty high for ourselves. We wanted a place that was $1,000 or under a month at the end of the day (this means all utilities etc. factored in) within thirty minutes of Dartmouth AND we couldn’t physically see it beforehand…Yikes.
Here’s my advice if you’re ever in a similar situation:
- At all costs, try and see the place. Or have someone see it for you. We contemplated asking Mitch’s dad and stepmom to check it out (they live four hours away).
- If you can’t see it, ask for pictures. Lots of them. We found that these interactions immediately gave us a better feel into what the the landlord was like. Were they super accommodating? Did we annoy them? Did they pay attention? Did they get angry that we couldn’t see it in person (that happened once)? We got a really good vibe from people just based on how they responded to this slight inconvenience.
- Have A LOT of conversations with your potential landlord. Especially if you’re leasing not in a complex. People who rent out basements of their houses or above their garages are a lot harder to do research on. They don’t always have reviews done on them like complexes or management places.
- Remember that they’re people too! Don’t demand every little detail about the place. For instance, our potential future landlord gave us measurements and everything (she really likes us!) without hesitation but I would never ask someone to do that for me, aside from maybe a door frame so we could know if our couch would fit.
So did we find a place? WE THINK SO! We sent a deposit in via snail mail which is absolutely terrifying but we’re trusting our guts with this one.
The price, location and our landlord are just the right amount of perfect for us. Once things are confirmed, there will be a post!
I’ve noticed that my life, at least in college pretty much directly parallels itself year to year. I wrote the post below around a year ago. (I’ve attached it below because I liked the message it had about budgeting and I wanted to reiterate it again!)
And low and behold, I’m finishing up classes AND my college career. Stress is at a all time high. And I am splurging on my budget here and there to enjoy the things I need to keep going. Mainly coffee. And some chocolate although apparently I’ve “matured” and prefer black coffee as a comfort food and fuel.
Coffee on campus, from my favorite shop, runs about $2 a cup plus a $1 tip (because they’re really nice people and always smiling so they make my day. Plus they play awesome music.)
I know I should be more careful with my spending on these types of things but when the stress levels get high, my finance stress is often outweighed by keeping my sanity.
What type of things do you splurge on?
And Salsarita’s and cookies and coffee and anything else to keep me going as the last few classes and projects draw to close.
This week, about halfway through, I decided to ease up on my budget. I allowed myself a few coffees on campus, a delicious chocolate mousse with strawberries and Salsarita’s during a group meeting for dinner tonight.
I think budgeting can sometimes be like a diet. As you may remember, I am an avid follower of nutrition, eating healthy and being fit. I know very well that most people cannot starve themselves of sweets and delicious goodness that may be high in calories, fat or bad stuff, without breaking every once in awhile. To combat those breaks in diets, to make sure you don’t consume every thing in your path, you allow them more from time to time to counteract the urges and prevent huge splurges.
How is this tied into budgeting? Well, to keep from one day spending everything I’ve saved on a silly purchase or even on multiple purchases is by allowing little slips from time to time. Now, I don’t mean by breaking the budget. What I mean is instead of attempting to spend the least amount of money, allowing myself to spend the few extra dollars on a couple coffees or bagels on campus to get me through the week.
That’s my tax refund at the end of the day. Around half of the federal taxes I paid last year. Not too bad! Of course, I’d always like more 😉 but something I didn’t expect to get back!
Just a quick update on that! What will I do with all this money?! Probably pay rent 😉
So I did a little experimenting with my gas and my trip to and from school. I typically make one round trip. I stay on campus all day, basically every day. This is because I’m really busy, not because I’m trying to save money although not traveling back and forth multiples is definitely friendly to the pocket.
I drive, on average, about 85 miles a week (14 trips 5.5 mile trips to school + odds and ends trips). Most of the other places I need to visit other than campus and home, are with a mile of school so going to the grocery store does not add that much to my overall mileage.
I am able to make all of this on 3 gallons of gas, so at around 3.79, that’s only a $1.37 over the ten dollar budget I set for myself. My poor father would have a heart attack if he saw this. He’s a mechanic and has lectured me on keeping my gas at least at a quarter of tank. My tank is small, 12 gallons I think. So 3 gallons is not far off from that quarter tank mark. The issue that lies within only putting 3 gallons is is that I never have a surplus of gas in my tank, usually. Unless I don’t drive as much one week. So I’m always on the brink of empty. Which is bad for the fuel pump and that’s not good. Although I have an excellent mechanic who would help me out at any point and never make me pay for repairs (THANKS DAD<3) I know that’s not how the real world works for all of you so this week, I’m taking a chunk of of my groceries (going to eat just leftovers and make due with what I have in my storage) and putting it toward gas. If I put $20 in gas, that should put me at a quarter of the tank after my normal week of driving. This way, I can just put $10 in each week on top of that! I’d much rather eat a little bit more sparsely one week than trash my car in some way!
I wanted to update an old cheap eats post. Because the prices AND size changed! The container is slightly smaller and it now rings in at $5.17! Boo a dollar more AND smaller! It’s still a great deal. Still makes it to two meals, but an extra dollar when you’re spending only $20 on food, is a big deal.
This “small” serving of lo mein, General Tso’s chicken and white rice cost me $4.11 from one of the on campus dinner halls, The Ritz.
I managed to only down a little less than half of this so I have enough left over for definitely another meal and even maybe a little snackage. Definitely worth the $4.11, especially when you split it between the three times I’ll be eating it. ($1.37)
Not bad for campus food!
Knowing the cheap deals around campus definitely helps out when it comes down to going home to make lunch or studying for an exam later in the day. Figure out what your campus can offer you that’s budget-friendly!
Update: This did, in fact last me another session of munching and one meal! Woot, woot!
I think this is a pretty cool project. I’ve heard about it through a cousin and decided to sign up. It’s cool to see what blogs are located around you! Although, I haven’t seen any Rochester, NY represented yet, so if you have a blog and from around the ROC add yours to this! Bloggers unite!
Just kidding…but really, add yourself and see who else it out there!
PS. I’m from Pittsburgh and follow a ton of Pittsburgh blogs so that’s why I have a Pittsburgh search picture =)
It’s been awhile.
I took the summer off. I take summer online classes and by the time I’m done with work with them for the day, I want to be as far away from my computer as possible. Summer isn’t meant for school! But yet again, for the second summer in a row I thought it’d be a good idea…
Don’t worry, I AM BACK! And ready to go. I’ve had some AWESOME things happen to me (and for this budget!) and I cannot wait to share! Make sure to tune back in.
I’m excited, are you?
So…remember that time I said I didn’t know what I was trying to save my money up for?
Well, I think I was calling for ways to spend money…like a $200 lease fee to fix my lease for my apartment next year. A bogus fee, but either way, I had to pay to make sure everything worked out.
So $200 bam! Gone. Just like that. Ripped me apart it did.
But every storm has its gray lining. Mine was the fact I didn’t have to dip into my savings to pay for it. With +$200 in my checking account from a recent deposit and not a ton of shopping for groceries lately, I was able to write a check without touching my savings. Which was awesome.
Granted, being able to put that $200 in my savings to bring it back to a $1,000 (hasn’t been here since the summer before college) would have been AWESOME! But, you can’t win everything. I could have easily dropped back down to only $600 in my savings but I was able to prevent that, so, cheers to me!
This week was a week of last meetings and goodbye. Graduation is nearing closer and sadly that means friends are leaving =( Lunches, icecream cakes and other farewell presents easily tallied up to break the bank this week, but like I posted last week, sometimes it is worth it to spend the cash- you just got to know when, how and when to stop!
I managed to save a little bit of mula but only doing coffee with some people, instead of lunch or dinner. So a couple bucks compared to $10 is definitely lighter on the wallet.
Also, gifts don’t always have to be things that cost money or a lot of money. Hand written letters or notes are always a heartfelt, yet cost effiecient way to say what you want!
Also, 4×6 prints are under .50 cents at most places and frames can go as cheap as a dollar.
What I’m getting at is that even though sometimes the extra costs are hard to avoid especially during graduations and other special occasions!