Budgeting Tips for Living Off-Campus

by Mei Li Hart

Do you find yourself living off-campus this year? Perhaps you’ve opted to get an apartment with your friends, or maybe you’ve decided to live at Emory’s Clairmont campus. Either way, you want to have as much savings as possible. How do you manage this with seemingly so many more expenses? 

Tip #1: Make a budget 

Making a budget and knowing how much various expenses are in comparison to your income is critical to your financial health. There are many ways to make a budget and keep track of your net flow. Budgeting apps can be really useful, as, in many instances, you can link it to your bank, in addition to the ease of access, given that it’s on your device. Here is a helpful list of trusted budgeting apps. 

Tip #2: Save on Utilities 

Saving on utilities, such as water and electricity, are simple ways to cut costs. Be mindful yourself (and encourage your roommates and friends!) to take shorter showers and to turn the water and lights off when they’re not being used. Keep your space at a comfortable temperature, but be sure to adjust the thermostat setting when no one is home.

Tip #3: Meal Prep

An effective way to save money is to meal prep for the week. Not only is it a healthy way to make some of your most beloved homecooked meals, but you will save money by not buying dinner when it’s not necessary. I suggest over the summer (or whenever you have free time) asking your parents or googling some easy, quick recipes of foods you love. Perhaps every Sunday (or another day in the week you know you’ll be free consistently) plan a few recipes you want for the week and go grocery shopping. You can even plan to make a double batch of the recipes you’ve chosen to make the time spent cooking more worthwhile! 

Tip #4: Try to buy used furniture/appliances 

Oftentimes there are groups on Facebook marketplace that sell used furniture and appliances for great prices. This is a lot cheaper than trying to buy new furniture. Buying from places such as IKEA and assembling it yourself is also a great way to save! 

Tip #5: Cut down on subscriptions

Most people are subscribed to many different streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime. But do you often use all of the services you’re subscribed to? These subscriptions are typically billed monthly – automatically, and it’s very easy to lose track. Go through all of your subscriptions and be sure to cancel any that you don’t use on a regular basis

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