Over the years, the cost of college has risen at a near astronomical rate. Even during times of low to no inflation, university administrators consistently raised the annual cost of tuition, fees and meal and lodging expenses associated with getting an education. As a result of these annual price hikes, students attending college today often leave with both an education and far too much debt.
Fortunately, there are some proactive steps you can take to lower your annual college costs and take control of your expenses. One of the areas you can address is your university housing and meal plan expenditures. In the past, students often simply lived in the dorms and purchased the meal plan. This option was quite costly. A far better approach is to pick the best off campus housing and move into a shared, fully featured student apartment.
Benefits of a Student Apartment
Living in an off campus student apartment gives you lots of benefits when compared to dorm room living. Dorms are typically crowded, and you must share communal bathrooms. In a student apartment you’ll have your own private bedroom and bathroom too. You’ll always have your own room so you can study, chill out and get sleep when you want to.
When you rent an apartment to share with your roommates or college friends, you can shop and compare prices at various locations. You’ll also be able to choose from 2-, 3- or 4-bedroom units so you can make the most economical choice. Depending on the housing situation in a community, some apartment complexes might even offer move-in or other rental incentives.
Save Lots of Money When You Make Your Own Meals
If you live in the dorms and have a meal plan, you are going to be paying whatever price the university sets. You might have an option or two, but you are a captive audience and you will be overpaying for what you get. With your student apartment, you’ll find that each unit comes with a complete and fully functional kitchen.
You can save lots of money each month if you shop for your ingredients at a discount grocery store and make all of your meals at home. Don’t buy prepared foods at the store. Buying fresh produce and meat, staples such as rice and beans, spices and sauces and the like will let you prepare any recipe at home. Your food costs will be dramatically lower, and you will be eating healthier and more delicious food too.
Look at Living Near Campus So You Don’t Need a Car
As you start to shop for the best off campus place to live, you may want to consider a location that’s within walking distance of the school. If you can simply walk to classes or events, of if you have an easy and quick bus ride there, you won’t need a car. For the few times where you might need transportation, you could simply get a ride share.
If you skip the car, you’ll save lots of money. You won’t have to pay for the car and spend all that cash outright or make monthly loan payments. You’ll also save on auto repairs and the high costs of auto insurance. Best of all, you won’t have to fill up at the gas station all of the time. By living off campus, you can save a lot of money on room and board and meals every year. You’ll be able to share the rent with roommates, cook great meals with affordable ingredients in your own kitchen and hopefully save on annual car expenditures too.