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Apartment Penny-Pinching

After one or two years of living in the dorms, most students decide that it’s time to move on. The idea of sharing one room and dealing with a cocky floor RA gets old quickly. Surprisingly, you can save hundreds by moving out. You don’t even have to live off of ramen and powdered milk to do it. The average college dorm will cost each person $690 a month while the average 2 bedroom apartment will cost $403. For a 3 bedroom apartment, the average drops to $375. This price takes into account rent, utilities, and a basic cable/internet package. Oh yes, and a separate room for each person. Here are some money-saving tips that will help you make the most out of your move.

Food

  • Buy in bulk
  • Stock up on non perishables
  • Buy staple foods that can be used for numerous meals e.g. chicken, cheese, bread, fruits and vegetables
  • Limit the number of times you eat out
  • When you do go out, check school newspapers for daily food specials

Utilities

  • When heating the apartment, close off rooms that are not in use. The less space there is to heat, the less money you have to dish out
  • Wait until your hamper is full before using the washing machine. One big load costs less than multiple small ones. This also applies to dishwashers
  • Invest in a good fan to minimize air conditioning costs

Electronics and Technology

  • If you decide to purchase a computer, skip the laptop, and go for the less expensive PC. Most companies also offer special deals for students; ask around before splurging
  • Purchase cable and internet as one package, the basic one
  • If you already have a cell phone, skip the at-home phone line

The Little Things

  • Don’t be a decorating diva. Use plastic containers and closet storage racks to avoid furniture purchases
  • Place your desk near a bedroom window to minimize lamp usage. Natural light is better for you anyway
  • Avoid frequent car usage. If you and your car are bound at the hip, at least find an apartment close to campus
  • Buy generic items. Most of these are just as good. This applies to food, cleaning supplies, and kitchen supplies (garbage bags, paper towels etc)
Any money that you can save as a student will make your post-graduate years that much easier. My professor gave me a piece of advice that still seems to apply. "You can live like a student now or live like a student later."

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