Did you know that 44 million students in the U.S. owe $1.5 trillion in student loans alone? For perspective, borrowers who belong in the Class of 2017 have an average student debt of $28,650.
This doesn’t mean that you should let your student loans take the joy out of your college life. With the right financial decisions, you can avoid taking on more debt and even save while still in school.
Ready for some insider tips to save money in college even if you choose to live off-campus? Then let’s get this list started!
Choose an Off-Campus Apartment that’s Still Near School
Save money and enjoy off-campus living by choosing an apartment close to school. First, this lets you avoid hefty transportation costs. Second, its proximity to your university makes it easier to find housemates.
After all, a super cheap apartment that’s an hour away can mean costly bus or train rides. This also makes it a hassle to get to school, and you may even end up late for class. You’ll also have a hard time attracting potential roommates if your place is too far.
Share Your Apartment
To save money while living off campus, get yourself a roommate (or a couple of housemates) to split the rent with. Make sure you put together a roommate contract though, to avoid disputes. If possible, choose responsible folks you know will take care of your home-away-from-home. For more information on tips to find the right roommate, click here.
Whip Up Your Own Food
One of the perks of living off-campus is having access to your own kitchen. So, be sure to take full advantage of the kitchen, so you can save money on homemade meals!
Plus, prepping your own food also helps you cut your fast-food intake. While your busy schedule makes it tempting to go for fast-food, it’s still junk food. Having such meals more than once a week can increase your risks for obesity.
Use as Many Discount Coupons as You Can
Speaking of homemade meals, make sure you scour the Internet for grocery coupons. A $1 discount may seem small, but that could quickly add up especially if those are for items you always use. If you manage to get $1 off for five items each, that’s already a $5 savings!
Also, consider buying stuff – like rolls of tissue, which you seem to always run out of – in bulk. You don’t have to hoard, but bulk buying or packaged deals can get you good discounts.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Every year, the average college student spends $1,200 on books and school materials. What’s more, once the school year is over, many students no longer find a use for these books.
Therefore, buying used books instead of brand-new ones is one of the best college money saving tips to keep in mind.
Amazon is a great place to score these second-hand books, and you may also find them on the site Textbooks.com. If, by the end of the semester, your books are still in good condition, sell them off to recoup some of your cash.
Drop the Cable and Go with Streaming to Save on Entertainment
Skip the Pay TV service, which now costs over $100 a month on average. Instead, stick to your favorite streaming services (AKA Netflix). Netflix’s monthly standard plan rate has gone up to $12.99, but it’s still almost eight times cheaper than Pay TV.
Aside from Netflix, there are also loads of other free (and legal) streaming sites for movies and TV shows. Take your pick, watch them with your roommates, and have fun on a budget.
Take Great Care of Your Apartment
Basic maintenance and daily cleaning can prevent hefty out-of-pocket apartment repair costs. Such costs can arise from damages that are outside the definition of “normal wear and tear”.
Also, the longer you put off cleaning, the more cleaning solutions you’d likely need to use. This means shelling out more money, since cleaning your apartment is your responsibility.
Also, filth creates a haven for pests. By taking care of your place, you can keep these unwanted visitors outside, where they belong. For more information on how to regularly maintain a clean apartment, refer to our cleaning schedule guide here.
Bike to School
Getting on your bike as often as you can is key to saving money in college while also enjoying better health should you choose an off-campus apartment that’s close to school. The nearer your place is to the campus, the less money you’d need for private or public transportation.
Get a Flexible, Part-Time Job
If you are skilled at time management between your schoolwork, extracurriculars, and day-to-day responsibilities, it might be worth considering getting a flexible, part-time job. Another beneficial reason to consider getting a part-time job is so that you can build your resume and have work experience to show for when you graduate and look for your future full-time career job. The University of California, Davis Internship & Career Center has a great website that offers resources on what kind of jobs you can get with your degree once you graduate, how to build a resume and cover letter, how to prepare for your job/internship interview, and the ability to find positions for hire all right at your fingertips on campus.
Follow these Tips to Save Money in College and Enjoy Your School Life
So long as you follow these tips to save money in college, you can get the most out of off-campus living. You can control your finances better, while still having fun and not stressing out due to lack of funds. Who knows, you may even find a lifetime friend in the form of your roommate!
If you’re looking for a new Davis apartment that you can fit into your student budget, we can help. Get in touch with us now so you can start exploring your next home away from home!