Living off campus can be a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. But, it can also be expensive. If this is your first year living off campus you may be in for a shock. Everything costs than you thought.
Buy a used bike. A beat-up bike will get you wherever you need to go, probably won’t get stolen, and save you a fair amount in gas costs and parking permits (both at home and at school).
Buy a dining hall card. This way you won’t have to waste time and money grocery shopping, cooking, and doing dishes. You can visit your friends while you eat, and you can actually do your shopping at school. Dining halls usually have a fair sampling of fruit, bagels, and cereal. Bring a few Tupperware containers and your dinner at the dining hall has just provided your breakfast at home.
Free connections. You may not believe me, but the Internet is not one of life’s basic necessities. When it comes to either paying your water bill or your wireless bill, water should win. So, either use the Internet only when you’re at school or move into an apartment building where wireless or DSL is included. Same goes for cable.
Fun without funds. Check out free campus events, including movie screenings, plays, and lectures.
Shop smart. Hit the discount stores. And I’m not talking about Target or WalMart. I’m speaking of real discount stores—Big Lots or dollar stores. Dishwashing soap, cleaning materials, Tupperware will all be significantly cheaper.
Dress warm. Wait until you absolutely can’t stand it before you turn on the heat. Put on a sweater and wrap yourself in a blanket. The longer you can put off turning on the heat, the more money you’ll save. Take a trip to Home Depot—plastic on your windows can save you money.