Your rent and other living expenses are a big part of your monthly expenses – sometimes as much as 50% or more. There’s a lot you can do to reduce this expense. Here’s how you can cut your living costs down drastically.
==> Dorm Rooms
If you’re living in on-campus dorm rooms, select the cheapest dorm possible.
Evaluate your on-campus food or meal program. Often times participating in these meal programs can save you a lot of money.
The rest of this article will deal with off-campus living, as there’s less flexibility with pre-set dorm room prices.
==> Finding Cheap Apartments
There are a couple places you can look for cheap apartments.
First, look for known student apartment complexes in your area. You can find these by just walking around, by talking to other students or by asking at the college admissions office.
Alternatively, you can look for places to live on Craigslist.
Set the budget you’re looking to pay, then refresh to page every six hours or so. Try to be the first person to the punch when a cheap apartment hits the market.
==> Roommate Strategies
One of the best ways to save money on housing is to have roommates. A lot of roommates.
Try to get a larger house and fill it with other people. This is often much cheaper than getting your own studio.
If you really need to save money, split your room with another roommate. You can even fit three people in a room if you must.
Finally, to really save money you can let one person sleep on your couch.
It’s not uncommon in college towns to four to six people living in a two bedroom apartment.
==> Appliances and Furniture
When you’re moving into a new place, make sure it already has appliances. Don’t move in somewhere that needs you to bring in a microwave.
Coordinate furniture with all the roommates and parents of roommates. Try to outfit your entire house without spending any money.
For example, one person could contribute a couch, another person a table, another person could bring kitchen chairs.
Between a few people, you should be able to scrounge up all the furniture you need for an apartment without spending any money. If there’s anything left you really need, you can often find it at garage sales or on Craigslist.
==> Electric and Gas Bills
Watch your electric and gas bills. Turn the lights off whenever the house is empty and be conservative when using gas or electricity.
Since you’re all splitting the electric or gas bill, you should all hold each other accountable for keeping these bills low.
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That’s how you can save a lot of money on living expenses while in college.