Living off campus when you’re in college or university can be challenging, as there can be many expenses involved in setting up your new living space. Yet, despite all of the complexities and financial considerations that come with living off campus, you can still find ways to save. Here are six tips to help you minimize your spending.
Get a Roommate
The simplest way to save money if you plan to live in St. Catharine’s student housing is to share your apartment or house with at least one roommate. In doing so, you’ll cut your rent in half or more, helping you to save every single month.
Another benefit of a roommate is that you can share services and save money. For example, if you have a subscription to Netflix, and they have a subscription to another streaming service, you can share passwords and save money. You can also share shopping responsibilities and divvy up lists for items like garbage bags, cleaning products, and other essentials.
Create a Budget
Living off campus means truly living like an adult. You’ll have more independence, which means that you’ll need to create and stick to a budget. Here are some suggested limits to help you manage your total monthly spending:
- Housing and utilities: 30%
- Food: 10%
- Clothing/Entertainment: 10%
- Transportation: 10%
- Insurance and Personal Expenses: 20%
- Loan Repayment and Savings: 20%
As long as you follow these general guidelines, you’ll feel more comfortable and less stressed about your finances while living off campus. You might even try to stay under budget for at least one of these categories so you can actually start saving money.
Take Advantage of Family Plans
If your cell phone provider offers them, consider signing up for or staying on your family’s Family Plan. Your parents may still ask you to pay for your share, but it should still be much cheaper than paying for your own plan.
Collecting coupons can help you keep your grocery bill down. To sign up for coupons, simply go to the website of your nearest grocery store and see if they offer coupons via email or an app. Next, all you have to do is print the coupons out or have them sent to your phone to enjoy savings every time you grocery shop.
If you own a car, you have another off-campus expense to consider. With the cost of a car payment, car insurance, gasoline, maintenance, and campus parking, owning a car while living off campus can quickly become expensive. Of course, you can avoid or significantly reduce these costs by living close to campus or near public transportation.
If you own a bike, be sure to bring it with you when you move into your off-campus student housing. Riding a bike to class is budget-friendly and a better choice for the environment.
Get a Meal Plan
If you don’t enjoy cooking and want to avoid spending money at restaurants, consider getting a campus meal plan. You can check with your university dining centres to see what’s available. Many universities do offer a limited meal plan for those who live off campus. Such options allow students to enjoy a quick meal between classes and often allow for a set number of meals on campus each week.