Off-campus housing will increase your expenses more often than not. That said, staying on a budget all boils down to how you minimize those expenses and find ways to save money in every aspect of living off-campus.
Do you finally want to move off-campus and enjoy more freedom during your college life? Here are some tips to help you save money in the process:
1. Find an affordable place
The first step to saving money while living off-campus is to find a place that you can actually afford, such as an elegant, all-inclusive one-bedroom apartment. Sure, it may be tempting to move into a swankier and bigger place, but the rent can eat up most of your budget and leave little for the rest of your expenses.
Shop around and consider many options before making a decision. If it’s your first time renting an apartment, look for apartment-hunting tips online before commencing your search.
2. Find a roommate
Having a roommate will cut your rent in half, which significantly reduces your monthly expenses. Moreover, they can share expenses with utilities, food, and other costs in the apartment.
Ask your close friends first if they would like to move in with you. If they can’t, look for a roommate among other people you know, such as acquaintances or co-workers. If that still doesn’t work, post an ad for a roommate on your college board or on socials.
3. Plan your commute
When looking for an apartment, the commute is one of the most important factors that you have to consider. Figure out the distance from a potential apartment and your campus. If you have a car, consider the gas and parking expenses. Otherwise, see if there are free campus transportation or public transportation available.
4. Learn how to cook
Having your own kitchen is one of the biggest perks of living off-campus, so take full advantage of it. Cook your own meals to save money and avoid eating out. At the same time, avoid convenience foods and try to cook with cheap yet healthy foods instead. If you have a roommate, you can further save money by splitting food expenses and planning meals before grocery shopping.
5. Buy secondhand furniture and decor
Furnishing and decorating your new apartment can be expensive if you buy brand new stuff. So instead, go to secondhand stores, thrift shops, and garage sales to find more affordable furniture and decorations.
6. Get a bike
The cost of public transportation and gas adds up. As an excellent alternative, you can invest in a bike and go to school using it. On top of that, you can get plenty of exercise while on a bike, which is something that many students tend to neglect while they’re busy with college.
Living off-campus has its perks, most of which trump those that come with living on-campus, but it is generally the more expensive option. Fortunately, there are many ways you can keep the expenses low while living off-campus. If you are planning to move, use these tips so that you can stick to your budget and maybe even build up your savings account in the process.