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How to save money while living off-campus

By Ryan Thomas

College is often described as being some of the best years of your life. 

Unfortunately, college is also some of the “brokest” years of your life. Living off-campus, as freeing as it may be, is very expensive no matter how you look at it.
With that being said, it is important to find ways to save a little money when you can.
Here are some simple ways to avoid breaking the bank when away at school… 

1. Cut back on eating out


By far one of the best ways to save dollars during the semester is to take advantage of on-campus eateries.
Rather than spending $8-$15 per day going out to eat, using your meal plan will ensure that you have some leftover cash when the weekend arrives.
Money saved on food adds up quickly and you’ll be thankful to have it.

2. Don’t overspend on utilities


Anyone will tell you that one of the most expensive aspects about living off-campus is paying for utilities.
When selecting a cable/internet provider, don’t pick an overly-extravagant plan. In today’s world, most of us just use Netflix or Hulu 85% of the time anyway.
Select an efficient package that gives you the best bang for your buck.

3. Rent textbooks


This tip isn’t exclusive to off-campus housing, but important, nonetheless. Textbooks put a huge dent in most students’ bank accounts at the beginning of each semester.
The best way to avoid such a setback is to use a textbook rental service, whether it be Chegg, Amazon, or any other alternative.
You will likely save hundreds of dollars by renting rather than buying and that goes a long way- believe me.

4. Split community items

Another good way to stay efficient in your spending is by splitting many common household items with your roommates.
If you can find things that at least one other person in your house uses (e.g. Tide Pods, cleaning supplies, groceries, streaming services, etc.), it may be easier to split the cost of the item(s) and share.  Rather than a $40 charge at a convenience store, at a time, the price lowers to $20 or less.
Smaller purchases, even if they occur more frequently, are easier to swallow if you’re looking to save money.