You have already experienced the "joys" of dorm life: Cramped quarters, cafeteria food, and paper-thin walls, and now you are ready to spread your wings and find an apartment of your own. Or maybe you already live in an apartment, with roommates, but you have had enough of the noise and chaos and desire your own private dwellings. One problem, though: Getting a roommate is an ideal way for a college student to save money on rent, and without one, you can't afford your rent -- or maybe you can. Here are a few tips and tricks for saving money on a college apartment without having to share your space with that chronic snorer or around-the-clock party animal of yesteryear:
Do you really need an entire 1-bedroom apartment to spread out, or can you survive in a studio unit, where your living space, sleeping space, and kitchen are typically confined to one multipurpose room only? Obviously, you have to live a little cozier in a studio than you would in a 1-bedroom rental, but you will also save money, since studios are typically the most economical option for renters.
Even for a college student like yourself, rent prices are not set in stone, and landlords are often willing to strike a deal with you if they think you are an ideal renter. One way to make yourself desirable to a property manager is to offer to sign a multi-year lease instead of the typical 1-year variety. Your landlord may be willing to shave money off your rent if he knows that he won't need to fill the unit again in another year. Especially if you have multiple years left in school, it's best to have a long-term leasing strategy anyway; signing a longer-term lease means that you won't have to worry about your rent going up after your 1-year lease expires, which is common.
Your utility costs will already be low in a studio, but there are some additional things you can do to conserve energy and lower those payments even more. If possible, utilize natural light as much as you can, allowing good old-fashioned sunlight to brighten your room instead of light switches. Turn your air conditioner or heater to a level where it won't kick on while you are gone, since your modest-sized humble abode will not take long to heat up or cool down anyway once you return. Also, don't be a victim of vampire energy, which costs Americans more than $3 billion a year. Unplug your electronic gadgets before you leave or, better yet, plug them into a single power strip that you can turn on and off as needed. Your already minuscule utility charges will go even lower.
Having a roommate is a great way for college renters to save money, but roommates aren't for everyone. If you prefer privacy over camaraderie and want to live on your own without breaking the bank, follow these three simple tips and tricks for saving money on a roommate-free rental.Share