Well, that was quick. Or at least it probably seems that way, since I just blogged about this last week, but after a lot of searching, C and I have found a place we both liked and we're going to sign a lease this week. We'll be renting a 1-bedroom apartment about a mile down the road from where I am now. It's right on the subway, around the block from a large grocery store, and has a park nearby, too. Our rent will be $1550/month, plus electric and possibly gas (I can't remember if there's a gas stove or not), and cable/internet if we go for that. We're also going to be renting a parking spot that comes with the apartment, which neither of us needs, in order to make an extra $25-50 a month by renting it out at a slight markup to another tenant. Many of the tenants apparently need more than one parking space, so this is common practice in the building. And since parking on the street overnight is illegal here (seriously!), it shouldn't be hard to find someone to take the spot off our hands and knock $25-50 off our rent per month.
We had hoped to find a place with a bit more space (ideally, a 2-bedroom), but after looking at many, many apartments we realized that we probably weren't going to get a (clean) 2-bedroom in our price range/rent cycle, so we settled on a larger 1-bedroom. The apartment has a ton of closet space and a much bigger kitchen than I've ever had, so I'm quite excited about that. :)
When we go in to sign our lease, I plan to ask about subletting. In the off chance that I find a place to purchase before our lease is up next September, I'd like to know what my options are. I had to break my lease to move into this rent-free apartment last year, and I definitely don't want to become a serial lease-breaker. I'll also need to completely re-work my budget, since I won't have as much money to put towards my student loans or save. I need to figure out whether savings or paying down my loans is a priority. It's a tough call. If I keep possible homeownership in mind, it's even tougher; do I want to put a larger downpayment down (of course), or do I want to have less debt to my name when I eventually make that purchase? I'll probably go with savings, and drastically reduce what I pay towards my loans each month. Or, I might alternate and make a large savings deposit one month, and then a large student loan payment the next. Over the next few weeks, I'll be doing a lot of thinking about this.