Sunday, May 5, 2013

Living in an apartment or dorm? Save some money!

I'm a college student living alone in a 1-bedroom apartment. The going gets tough sometimes and I could stand to save money here and there. Here are some tips for any dorm room/apartment dweller.

Use natural lighting.Use natural lighting.
  • Use as much natural light as possible. Open all those blinds, draw the curtains, and only use light switches when you really need them.
Take offers from your parents and generous friends.
  • If anyone offers for you to come over for dinner, take them up on it. Not only will you get a free meal, but also company!
  • Likewise, if someone offers you any item, take a look. If it's clothes and they fit, why not? If you don't particularly care for whatever it is, think of other friends to whom you could re-gift it (if the condition is good).
Ditch cable.Ditch cable.
  • Cut out commercials by using Netflix, Redbox, or another movie provider.
  • Many apartments and colleges have a television room. Use this when craving TV.
  • Libraries have free DVD rentals.
Unplug electronics that aren't in use.
  • Okay, so you've probably heard this a thousands times, but it helps your bill significantly! Unplug your desktop, laptop, TV, lamps, toaster, blender, and all other lesser appliances!
  • Leave your larger appliances (washer/dryer, stove) plugged in, as constantly unplugging can wear down the electrical outlet and cost you more for repair in the end).
Use Craigslist for furniture.Use Craigslist to furnish your apartment/dorm.
  • It's not always the most fashionable option, but Craigslist can have outstanding deals. check out the FREE section. Fold-out sofas are frequently put up for free.
  • Many other household items are available on Craigslist, such as decor and smaller appliances.
Take advantage of free samples.
  • is a site I use often. You can get anything from free cans of Pepsi to free shampoo samples to a coupon for a free burger at a local fast food joint.
Travel smart.
    Travel smart.
  • If you're going away for spring or summer break, consider camping instead of hotels. Many campsites cost $15-$35 a night, as opposed to $100+ for a hotel. Borrow a tent if you can (or even camp in your car) and have fun surrounded by great outdoors while also enjoying the new place you're visiting.
  • Look for free things where you're headed. Seek out natural wonders like hot springs, rocks to climb, hiking trails, free concerts, etc. If you know any locals, ask for insider advice on a cheap trip.
  • If you live away from family, try to carpool with friends to visit home.
  • Pack sandwich fixings instead of eating fast food constantly during a road trip.
  • Drink water (with lemons if you like) at every restaurant.
  • Chose museums wisely. If you think a certain museum will have the same features as your local one, skip it.
Enjoy the perks of your apartment or campus.
    Enjoy the perks of your apartment or campus.
  • If your complex offers gas grills, use them often for everything from burgers to beans. If there's a fire pit, use this for s'morse with friends, or roasting hotdogs.
  • Your turn to host a night out with friends? Instead of spending on bowling or the like, play volleyball/basketball/whatever if you have access to a court. Also, hit up the pool when the weather is nice.
  • Most apartments offer free coffee and tea, so use this instead of brewing your own.
  • If there's a community event, check it out. Even if it's for something you don't care about (a Mary Kay party, etc), there's probably free food.
  • Use the free workout room and don't be tempted to purchase a membership at the local gym.

*This is also an article on WikiHow. I am the author of that article and would be more than happy to prove such if necessary.

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