Choosing to stay off campus when studying can be a sound financial decision. While your student loans may cover on-campus living, it is very expensive and will increase the amount you owe by the time you leave college. However, finding a cheap off-campus apartment to rent is not easy in 2022.
Renting anywhere is expensive right now, and the closer you are to the university the more likely you will pay a premium for a student apartment. Since your funds are limited, learning to find ways to save money when renting is crucial.
Remember to get renters insurance for students. It won’t add much to your monthly costs but it could save you a lot of money if something happens to your stuff.
Here are some ways you can save money when renting off campus.
Choosing where to stay
The reality is that the most convenient parts of Baltimore for TU students to say are also the most expensive parts. You may be tempted to look further afield and pay significantly less for your monthly rent. However, you need to balance what you’ll spend on transport, both in terms of money and time.
The cheapest parts of Baltimore for renting are far from campus. If you are using public transport, you could spend an hour or so just getting to campus. If you have a car of your own, it will take you a lot quicker, but you will spend significant funds on gas.
What you save on rent may not be worth it. This is true even if you won’t be spending much on public transport. Your time is valuable and you lose out on more than money when spending hours every day getting to and from campus.
Of course, if you are the type of person to get a lot of work done while in transit, you may find the trips worthwhile.
Some people love the idea of staying with roommates, but for others it can be daunting. You have to give up some of your privacy and potentially deal with the bad habits of strangers. Renting a small studio apartment might seem like the best option.
But it will almost always cost you more to rent a studio apartment than to rent a room in a shared apartment. You pay a lot for the privilege of staying alone, and it is important to ask whether it is truly worth it. After all, you’ll have very little space of your own regardless. When staying with roommates, you can keep to yourself as much as you’d like.
It may also be worthwhile getting to know your roommates and expanding your social circle. This is especially true if you are living with other students who may be like-minded.
Learn to cook some basic meals
You may save a lot of money on rent, only to spend it on eating at restaurants or getting takeout. If you don’t know how to cook, the thought of having to feed yourself every day is intimidating. The good news is that cooking is not as difficult as you may think. There are some very simple meals you can learn to make that will take you just half an hour.
For example, you can learn to fry burgers on the stove and to make oven-baked chips. You can learn to make a simple salad using fresh, affordable vegetables for healthy meals. You can learn to throw together a one-pot pasta that requires very little preparation.
Find simple recipes for meals that you enjoy and you can use them over and over again. Eventually, cooking these meals will become second nature, and you won’t have to waste money on eating out.
The above tips will help you save money when renting. Weigh up your options carefully, and keep in mind that staying far from campus can be a double-edged sword.