I’m starting undergrad and moving to an apartment in Jacksonville. What are my options on a student budget?

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Kernan Oaks
You will find yourself at the center of it all at the District on Kernan, located 3 minutes from the University of North Florida (UNF) and 5 minutes from Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ).
Undergrad was a great experience for me -- so much so, I added on another degree so I could stay a little longer -- but it was definitely expensive. In addition to the tuition and fees that you pay, you also have to consider the cost of your books, materials and transportation to and from campus so you can make it to class. Sticking to your budget now can help set up further success in the future; luckily, you'll find that some of the best Jacksonville apartments will work perfectly with your student budget. As you begin your search, I recommend...

Looking at your costs holistically.

When you consider the amount you've budgeted for expenses, they might seem totally distinct. However, they influence one another, and increasing your spending in one category (like rent) could bring it down in others. For example, you could greatly impact your "transportation" budget if you live closer to where your classes are, like these apartments near UNF, or you could save serious money on "furniture" purchases if you opt to live in one of the furnished apartments in Jacksonville. Rather than determining set costs for each category, consider your budget holistically to see what makes the most sense for you and your budget. The cheapest apartments might not be the best option once you've looked at your costs across the board.

Figuring out your needs and wants.

As much as you might want to live in one of the gorgeous luxury apartments in Jacksonville, they generally aren't the best fit for a tight budget. Don't break the bank because you "had to have" stainless steel appliances; an apartment doesn't need to have an Olympic lap pool for it to be the perfect one for you. Instead, while you're searching, prioritize apartments that check the boxes for the qualities that are really important to you, things like "close to campus" or "allows dogs." If it meets those characteristics, you can layer in some of those nice-to-haves but consider what those are worth to you. The best apartment for you and your budget should hit all of your needs, but it may not have all your wants.

Considering a roommate.

For every roommate horror story, there's a great roommate story. Not only can they become a great friend but having a roommate can get you more bang for your buck on your apartment. You get to split not only the cost of rent, but also other shared bills, like your internet and electric. Ask your friends and consider posting on social media to see if they, or their friends, are moving to Jacksonville and looking for an apartment. You might just find a friend of a friend who's moving to the area and would love to have a roommate (It worked for me)! If you don't have a specific person you'd like to live with, I recommend exploring Jacksonville apartments with roommate matching and individual leases to help pair you with a person(s) who best fits your lifestyle. As long as you're okay sharing some common spaces, a roommate can really help your budget.

There is so much to keep in mind when you're working with a tight budget, but I am confident you'll do the research and find the perfect place for you. Good luck!
These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentJax.com or any of our advertising partners.