I created this student check list for saving money on housing because – it’s almost that time of year again! Time to really plan out your living situation for the next semester of post-secondary education.
So how do you manage to save money on housing if there’s still tuition and the general cost of living eating away at your wallet? Here are a couple of tips that may help with the cost of living as a student:
1. Live with your parents
Many students may live on campus or residence during the first year of post-secondary education but when the high cost of residence is not an option, staying with your parents is not a bad idea. What are the benefits of staying with your parents? You can save money on rent, food, laundry, maybe even car related expenses (if you borrow your parents car to drive to school).
If your parents do not ask you to pay for your expenses, you can show your thanks by helping out with more chores than usual.
2. Do your homework
Everyone’s situation is different, so you should put time and consideration into all option and resources that are available to you when it comes to saving money on housing. Whether you’re planning to live at home or away and renting, you should list all of the pros and cons of living with or without parents.
Financial factors should be among the top factors, and you should budget your money accordingly.
3. Shop online
Looking for an affordable place to live is not an easy task. Make sure you start doing your research months before moving day. Research the area, the general asking price of rentals in the area and the also, the amenities available. Make use of classified websites such as Kijiji, Craigslist, and ViewIt.
4. Rent all inclusive
Renting with roommates can be challenging when it comes to things like utilities. You can’t control the amount of water and electricity that your friends use, for example, so it’s a good idea to look for a place where your landlord is okay with handling the utilities.
This is something to really keep in mind when you are shopping for a place to rent. All inclusive utilities will help you out a lot if you have laundry machines and/or as a dishwasher in the home.
5. Rent with friends
When renting, it’s always a great idea to rent with friends to save money. Splitting the cost of rent, utilities and even food can save you significant amounts of money! Plus, it’s always a great idea to live with friends simply for the social aspect of it (as long as your friends are responsible, of course!).
6. Look for laundry facilities
If possible, try to find a place to live that includes laundry machines in your living space. Why? It will save you a lot of time (you don’t have to walk to a laundromat to clean your clothes). Also, if your utilities are included, you don’t have to spend extra money laundry. If your utilities are not included, you should invest in a high quality laundry rack instead of using the dryer, to save on hydro.
Try not to purchase a flimsy one because when clothing is wet, it can be very heavy. The better the rack, the more clothing you can hang to dry. Also, hang drying your clothing will prolong the life of your garment (another money saving tip).
If your rental does not include laundry, there is a chance that the laundry machines at a laundromat are much bigger than you need. If this is the case, consider doing laundry with your roommate to split the costs.
7. Take advantage of local transit
When house hunting, it’s always a good idea to base your decision on location prior to all other factors. Make sure to research the local transit schedule before choosing a location.
You probably don’t want to end up living in a location that doesn’t have late buses to rely on when you have night classes. Ensuring that you won’t have to call a taxi to go home will save you a lot of money over the long term.
8. Use your cellphone
The majority of people have cellphones nowadays and the argument about the need of having a home phone always arises when moving into a new home. Depending on your cellphone plan, you may consider ditching the home phone altogether. Even better, consider avoiding both home phone and cellphone by talking to loved ones on Skype!
9. Stay connected
If you are living with roommates, use an internet service that does not have a limit on bandwidth use. The use of websites such as Netflix (Netflix is an easy, cheap way to avoid cable TV) can use a lot of bandwidth and rack up overage charges.
You should also consider bargaining with your current cellphone service provider to see if they can offer you a deal on your internet service since you’re a current customer.
10. Use old furniture
When moving into your new place, remember that this is most likely not the house that you will be living in for the rest of your life. If possible, do not go out of your way to purchase brand new furniture and instead, shop your local thrift shops.
Ask your friends and family if they have old unused furniture that they could lend or give you. That way, when you’re moving out, you can donate or toss your old furniture.
11. Seeing is believing
When renting, you should always ask for photos when showing interest in renting, however, in some cases landlords do not make photos available. To make sure that you are getting the most for your money, always view the rental property before signing any lease.
When you’re able to visit the property before signing a lease, you can experience the feel of the neighbourhood and can look for nearby amenities.
When looking through the property, make sure to look slowly and thoroughly for any issues with the place. Whether it be plumbing, mould, pests, or any other housing issues. Take photos or videos to ensure that there is nothing that you have overlooked during the tour. Don’t be afraid to ask the landlord or property manager any questions you may have.
As a student, it may be overwhelming to see how many expenses are associated with your education and your living situation. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult to budget your money when it comes housing.
It may take a bit of time to find the perfect place to fit your needs, but your time investment and effort will prove to be worth it as you sign that lease for a great new place.
I hope that this checklist for saving money on housing has proven helpful for you! If you have any questions at all, please shoot them my way!