So you’ve worked on finding scholarships, you’re working a part time job and you ask about getting student discounts everywhere you go. But, you look at the cost of living expenses and you’re like, well this just ain’t happening. Have no fear! I have some tips today that can help you get really affordable housing while you’re in college.
1.Rent- Renting a room in a house or apartment is seriously so much cheaper than living in a dorm. In my case, it was over $4,500 less. Universities charge a lot more for dorms than a room will cost you and 529 plans and a lot of scholarships can be used on local apartment rent so renting can help you stretch your money farther. However, notice I said renting a room, not renting a whole apartment. Andddd I know I’m going to get hate mail for this but to help your budget stretch even farther, consider renting a room and then sharing it to help split the cost. For instance, I rented a room for $620 in a 4 bedroom apartment. This included all utilities (TV and internet- the works) however, I didn’t have $620 extra a month, so I found a roommate and split the cost in half, which made my rent $310 a month, a much more affordable cost.
2.Consider Newly Built Apartments- I know this sounds so counter intuitive but stay with me. Why in the world would I rent a new apartment if I’m trying to save money? Well new apartments, especially ones that are slated for completion in college towns in the summer often offer deep discounts to get their buildings filled. Many students for fear of missing out on finding their dream apartment (I don’t know what that even means- you’re in college so you’re suppose to live somewhere significantly crappier than where you grew up. Your parents have real jobs and money- aka two things college kids don’t have) anyway, students rush and sign a lease in the winter to secure their spots for the following school year so oftentimes not a lot of kids are waiting until summer to sign a lease meaning their “pool” of potential renters is empty. Wait it out. A lot of times, these places aren’t ready until August (bonus- you aren’t paying rent over summer when you’re not there) and they will do just about anything to get you to sign a lease and to get their “name out there” like furnishing the place, offering lower rent, including utilities etc. They need to get those spaces rented because they have bills to pay so use their loss is your gain. Plus, you get to live in a fresh new space. So who is the real winner now.
3.Consider Living off the Beaten Path- This sounds silly but it’s so true. Living in an apartment or a house that’s a little far from campus but still within walking/biking or bus riding distance can save you serious cash. In college, I had a friend that lived across from the football stadium, which was a ways from downtown. But the university had a bus that ran for the athletes to and from the stadium so he caught the bus whenever the weather was bad and enjoyed getting some exercise on the other days. Bonus, a lot of his classes were at a building right near the stadium so although he wasn’t close to the bars and restaurants downtown, he was close to his classes, which is where you will spend most of your time anyway. Within a mile or two from most campuses is close enough to catch a university bus and save you some big money on cheaper rentals.
So there are 3 of my favorite money saving tips for avoiding hefty room and board bills. Remember saving money is like being a Sherlock Holmes of sorts, you’ve got to think outside of the box. (If you want to consider yourself a debt slashing ninja I’m totally cool with that too.)