If you attend the University of Texas at Austin, you probably understand the allure of West Campus living. The neighborhood is filled with new, amenity-rich student housing properties that appeal to students with their luxurious offerings and expansive views of downtown Austin and the UT Tower.
The West Campus student housing market has become increasingly competitive in recent years. As a result, developers are producing new apartments with state-of-the-art amenities and corresponding price tags.
While student housing apartments in West Campus tend to cost more than apartments in other nearby neighborhoods, there are a plethora of ways to make West Campus student living more affordable.
Here at Rambler, we understand that it is important for students to find housing at an affordable price point. To help you find affordable, quality student housing, we have compiled a list of six ways that you can save money on student housing apartments in West Campus near the University of Texas at Austin.
8 Ways to Save Money on Student Housing Apartments in West Campus near the University of Texas at Austin
1. Bigger Floorplans
The price of square footage in Austin is high, so making the most of your space can make a big difference when it comes to saving money. Typically, the more roommates you have, the lower the monthly rental rate per roommate. For example, a 5×5 (five bed, five bath) will tend to cost at least a couple hundred dollars less per month, per person, than a 2×2. This is because there is usually less square footage per person.
Additional roommates aren’t the only way to make the most of square footage. You may also opt to share bedrooms (double occupancy) or bathrooms.
2. Shared Bedrooms
While similar to dorm-style living, shared or double occupancy bedrooms at student housing apartments typically offer much more than a residence hall. A shared room at a student housing apartment can provide you and your roommate access to a plentiful amenities package at an affordable rate.
For those who are interested in dorm-style living, or sharing a room with a friend, double occupancy is a good option to consider.
3. Shared Bathrooms
If you’d rather not share a bedroom, but still want to save some cash each month, you may want to consider sharing a bathroom. This way, you still have a space that is all yours for when you want some privacy, but also save some money. If this sounds appealing to you, be on the lookout for 4×2 options, the most common shared-bathroom floorplan in the neighborhood.
No matter which approach best suits you, the more roommates you have per square foot, the lower your monthly rent per person will typically be.
4. Sign Your Lease Early
In West Campus, especially at new developments, the best way to guarantee the lowest prices on rental rates and parking without compromising space or amenities is to sign a lease early.
Most properties in West Campus begin leasing about 10 months before the move-in date. For developments with the highest demand, students will typically sign a lease no later than 5 to 6 months in advance.
Due to the tier system used by student housing apartments, rates will be raised by approximately $10 to $20 per month, per person, after a certain number of leases are signed.
So, if you’re looking to get the best deals at luxury student housing developments, be sure to sign your lease as early as you can to get ahead of the tier system.
In Austin, SMART housing rates are typically available at student housing apartment complexes. If you qualify for these rates, the best way to secure a spot is to sign a lease early, as they are limited.
Unsure whether or not you qualify? Check out our guide to SMART Housing near UT Austin if you’d like to learn more about SMART housing and find out whether or not you qualify.
5. Find Rental Rates that Include Extras
In the West Campus neighborhood, student housing apartments vary greatly in regards to what is and is not included in the rate of monthly rent.
To get the most value for your money, look for rates with extras included in the rental rate rather than extras that are offered at an additional cost. These extras may include WiFi or technology packages, but could also be things like windows or balconies.
Make sure you ask the leasing staff at the apartments you are most interested in about how different units compare.
6. Windowless Bedrooms
Another excellent way to save on West Campus living is by finding an alternative to natural light in bedrooms. Apartments without windows in each bedroom are a great option for those looking to cut costs.
As nice as it is to have natural light in your bedroom, many student housing apartment complexes in West Campus provide extra features in bed spaces that don’t have windows to add light to the space. These extras may include faux windows, mirrors, TVs, extra lighting, etc.
If you would like a unique option, there are some student housing apartment complexes in West Campus that offer windows overlooking a hallway rather than the exterior of the building. While these do not offer natural light, they still provide additional lighting and a view outside of your bedroom.
If you’re considering a windowless bedroom, be sure to contact the apartment’s leasing staff to see what the property adds to make the most of the space.
7. Opt for a Less Popular Unit
While we would all love to have gorgeous views of the Austin skyline from a premium suite, the best way to save some cash is to choose a unit that is not as popular. Two ways to do this include choosing a unit on a lower level, or choosing a unit with a less desirable view.
On lower levels, units are often less in-demand as they do not have the city views that higher units typically offer. They also have the potential to be louder, especially if the gym, lobby or other amenities are located nearby.
No matter what floor you live on, not all units will have stunning views of the UT tower or downtown Austin. If you don’t mind a less desirable view, such as a courtyard or alleyway, consider choosing a floor plan with these types of views – it might save you some serious cash each month.
8. Minimize Furniture Costs
While furnishing your apartment is a great way to be creative, it can come at a steep price tag if you are not cautious. Even though most home decor is optional, you can’t live in an apartment without a bed or couch.
Apartments that come fully furnished not only cut furniture costs but can also help you avoid the process of selecting, purchasing and moving in furniture. This way, if you study abroad or take an internship out of town, you likely won’t need a storage unit to store your furniture.
Almost all of the new purpose-built student housing apartments in the West Campus neighborhood offer fully furnished units, an important factor to consider when calculating the total cost of living vs. a traditional apartment.
If you decide that you prefer to furnish your own apartment, there are ways for students to cut down on furniture costs. You may want to consider shopping at discount furniture stores, consignment shops, or yard sales to get the most bang for your buck. You can often repurpose inexpensive or older pieces.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of ways to save on student housing apartments in West Campus. Before you rule out living in the West Campus neighborhood, be sure to consider your many options so that you can take advantage of the best student housing deals near UT Austin.
If you are interested in West Campus living, feel free to reach out to our leasing team, who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about student housing.