Cambridge has a relatively high cost of living. One-bedroom apartment (flat) average rent is $1,400, a two-bedroom $1,725, and a three-bedroom can go for $2,300 or more. You may want to consider the neighboring towns of Somerville or Watertown, which have lower rents, yet are still convenient by public transportation. When looking for apartments, consider whether the rental fee includes heat, whether the heat is electric or not (typically more expensive). Consider looking for "by owner" listings on the popular and free website CraigsList to avoid agent fees, which can be as much as one monthly rental fee. The landlord may charge rent for the first month and rent for the last month upfront, in addition, or in place of, a security deposit, which by law must be refunded within 90 days of the expiration of your lease. Estimate that you will need at least three monthly fees to secure an apartment and sign the lease.
Of course, you can find even cheaper housing if you choose, as many do, to live with roommates. The average price of a room is about $700 a month, which can be a significant savings compared to living on your own.
Telephone and Internet Service
The average cost of telephone service $30-$50 per month, with an installation fee of $40-$100 dollars. Add high speed internet service, often coupled with either telephone or cable-TV service, for another $50.
110-V (60 cycles) voltage is standard in the United States. Electricity is relatively inexpensive at $30 to $100 per month.
A monthly heating bill will vary from $90 to $350 per month depending on the installed heating system. Expect a similarly priced electric bill when an air conditioning unit is used in the summer months. Be sure you know what is and is not included in your lease. Some apartments have heating included, others do not, and it can suddenly become an unexpected expense in the winter months.
Cambridge weather is cold and humid (January average of -6 C, with many days much colder), while summers are hot and humid (July average of +28 C). Depending on what you are used to, it may seem extreme and may require you to purchase new clothing, even if you do not plan on spending much time outdoors.
Known as "The T", the public transportation system is extensive, if not always on schedule. An average fare is $2, regardless of distance traveled, and it is possible to obtain a monthly "Charlie Card" for unlimited travel at a significant discount. See the MBTA website for details.