Browsing Tag

student budget

Health Other

Free is Better!

September 6, 2019

College is expensive! Luckily, there are loads of zero cost resources available to you on campus. You are paying thousands of dollars to attend school so get your money’s worth. Here are a few “free” resources that every student should take advantage of:

Gym/Pool: Nearly every university has a weight room and pool available to students. Check with the fitness center to see if free fitness classes are also offered.

Tennis/Racquetball/Volleyball/Basketball Courts: Not only is there free access to these facilities, but most universities also offer free equipment rentals. There are usually scheduled nights where you can drop in and play a pickup game.

Sporting Events: A lot of universities offer free admission to sporting events. Football and basketball games are always popular, but you might have just as much fun at a volleyball or tennis match. In addition, free shirts are everywhere at sporting events.

Tutors: Paying for a personal tutor can be extremely expensive, but many universities offer free tutors. In addition, utilize your university’s writing center, where qualified students will edit your essays and research papers for free.

Software: Using your student email address, most universities offer free software downloads. This typically includes Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and much more. Before you buy any software, make sure to check if it is available through your university, as you will likely get a discount.

Food: There is free food EVERYWHERE at university. If you pay attention you will see flyers for events almost every day offering free pizza, ice cream, etc. The only real cost is your time (which might not be worth that much if you play Fortnite as often the average college student).

Intramurals: There are intramurals for several sports, including flag football, volleyball, basketball, kickball, tennis, and frisbee. Intramurals are great for the guys who peaked in high school when they were the captain of the varsity basketball team, but they are also a great way to meet people and stay active. Be warned, intramurals can be very competitive. If you want to play intramurals but don’t want to get in any fights, then consider playing on a coed team.

Counseling: University may expose you to more stress then you have ever experienced in your life. It’s completely normal if you start to develop depression or anxiety. Luckily, universities offer complimentary counseling services. Do not be afraid to use these resources! You might be surprised at how many people utilize them.

Using these resources will enrich your college experience without breaking the bank. For more ways to save money, refer to the Not-Rich Guide made by students at the University of Michigan. Although this guide is specific to the University of Michigan, much of the advice is applicable wherever you go to school. Your university may even have its own “Not-Rich” guide or something similar to assist you in saving money!

Other Transition

Cutting College Costs Like a Boss

August 29, 2019

Tuition costs continue to rise every year, but one thing seems to remain constant: attending college often necessitates penny-pinching. Whether it’s eating out less to buy textbooks or applying for scholarships to avoid debt, saving money and attending college go hand in hand.

Here are some of my methods for reining in your spending, hopefully earning a buck or two on the side, and still enjoying a four- (for some five-) year education—without resorting to dumpster diving.

Read on for five tips to help you cut costs.

1. Limit eating or drinking out (unless it’s a good deal)

Scour your local watering holes for deals, become a coupon clipper, and refuse to go out unless you know you won’t have to pay full price.

In general, though, you’ll save a lot more money if you buy groceries and cook yourself. Or, if you’re fortunate enough to live close to home, you could always mooch food off your parents.

2. Student discounts

It’s incredible how many businesses will give you a discount if you flash that plastic, poorly printed student ID of yours. Restaurants, movie tickets, admission to concerts, you name it. Don’t know for sure? Just ask! Maybe you can even persuade them to give you a discount.

3. Be shrewd with textbooks

Here is some advice: get clever. Talk to classmates, read reviews on the course, and see if you really need the book for the class. If you do, consider renting instead of buying (which is generally cheaper).

Or, try to buy it cheaper online. Look on Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook, or your college forums. You could even harass people who took the class last semester to loan you their old one.

Finally, if you can get away with buying an older edition of the same textbook, you can save a TON of money. It doesn’t work for every class, but when it can, it’s a godsend.

4. Get a side-hustle

No amount of saving will help if you don’t have even a small influx of cash. In college, your earning options are limited:

  • Get loans and go into (more) debt.
  • Beg your parents for money.
  • Apply for scholarships.
  • Get a job.
  • All of the above.

If you haven’t searched for scholarships yet, what are you waiting for? It’s free money, and sometimes you can earn them for ridiculous things. Good at duck calling? Scholarship. Is your last name Zolp? Scholarship. Check out your college’s .edu site, find some scholarships, and apply!

If you don’t want to write an essay, you could always get a job on the side. You could drive for Uber or Lyft when it’s convenient for you. Don’t have a car? Work one of the many jobs available on campus (conveniently within walking distance!). There’s no shortage of jobs if you’re willing to look.

5. Profit

Those are just a few tips, and it barely scratches the surface— college students should consider the importance of insuring essentials

Bio: Alex Enabnit, an ASU grad and certified tightwad, is an insurance and Medicare writer for Eligibility.com. In his spare time, you’ll find him trying to avoid the sun and stay cool while failing at both.

Career Other

Top 5 Ways to Save Money After College

August 12, 2019

There are 3.6 million college graduates living in poverty, and that is to be expected given factors such as student loans and other college-related debt along with the difficulties one might experience when obtaining a job in their field or the starting wages at these jobs.

Creating a Budget

You likely hear this all the time, but creating a budget is the first step to saving money, especially as you start paying back student loans or other debts. Right now you’re probably getting notifications that you need to start paying off your loans, having to move out of student housing, and basically this whole being-an-adult-thing is about to get a lot harder!

You can do this though! And the first step is creating that budget. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can even use a free template on Excel or Google Docs. Make sure to carefully document all sources of income and all expenses, even the ones you might want to ignore. If you’re not sure where to start on paying your student loan debt, there are great calculators and resources available.

Saving $$$ on Food

Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat ramen the rest of your life — although there are some fun ways to spice up that cost-effective meal! But a good chunk of your expenses may be coming from food. Apps like Mint actually track how you spend your money and you might be surprised to see how often you eat out or how much those “treat yourself” items at the grocery store are costing you. A great way to avoid those last-minute splurges is making yourself a meal plan with a shopping list, allowing yourself only one spur-of-the-moment item.

Meal planning isn’t just for being healthy, although that can be a great perk, it’s great for time management and budgeting. Simple, cheap meal plans will help you save without living off rice, beans, and ramen!

Cut Back on Utility Bills

A lot of us may have had the luxury of free or discounted internet and TV while living in student housing, but now that we’ve graduated, we’re having to deal with these bills on our own. A great way to cut down bills is to really examine what you need: Do you really watch cable or do you watch Netflix or Hulu? You might even be able to cut down on your internet speeds. An internet connection with 5mbps, though not ideal, is enough to stream and browse the internet.

Getting Married? Don’t Worry!

And then there’s the biggest expense of all—marriage! If you’re one of those ‘lucky’ ones about to make the big commitment dive into marriage, you’re probably stressed about a long list of expenses ranging from booking a venue, the cost of a wedding dress, and all the things that come after. What if you don’t get the things you need most on your registry? And if you’re the one getting to propose, you might be worried about the cost of a ring. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that complicated!

There is even a list of venues that won’t cost an arm and a leg. And if you’re still looking for that special ring you might consider an eternity band that offers special financing and a wide array of options for various budgets.

Creating Long-Term Goals and Building Credit

Two of the most important things to consider after graduating from college are your long-term goals and how you’re going to obtain them. One of the biggest factors for obtaining our long-term goals (such as buying a house) is building your credit. There are important factors to pay attention to when building your credit, such as staying on top of your student loan payments, credit card usage, and ways to avoid negative marks are your credit. There are also options for credit repair if you’re already suffering from negative items on your credit report.

Whatever your goals may be, there are many paths to take, even when you’re fresh out of college and still sorting everything out. If you start saving now and planning for those special life plans, there’s nothing you can’t achieve! 

 For more tips on being smart with your money, check out more of our blogs and follow us on social media!

BIO: Brett has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Other Student Life

Do Your Homework Before You Buy Your Books

July 22, 2019

You’ve probably heard every college student out there complain about having to buy books. You can’t really blame them though; buying books for one semester can cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars. Here are a few tips to help you avoid wasting money on books.

Don’t buy any books before the first day of class. This might sound crazy, but it will save you a lot of money. Every class has a “required” book list, which leads students to believe they need to have every book on the list. This is not true! Go to the first day of class and ask the professor (or the TA) how much the book will be used. They might say that you will only have one or two assignments out of the book all year or that the reading from the book is optional. Most of the time, however, the professor will probably reinforce that the book is “required,” but it still might not be true.

Talk to someone who has taken the course. Find someone who has taken the course and ask them. They will know better than anyone if you really need the $300 Introduction to Philosophy book that you are never going to read again. Students who have already taken the course will be your best resource in knowing if you actually need the books on your list. 

*Note: if someone tells you that you don’t need a book for a class and they are on academic probation, they may not be the best source of information. Talk to someone who did well in the class.

Unfortunately, there are some books that you will need; there will be no way to do well in the class without them. You can still avoid wasting money if you play it smart.

Buy/rent from Amazon or another online site. You should probably never buy a book from your university bookstore. It will be overpriced, and the store will give you very little money if you resale to them at the end of the semester. The exact book you need can easily be located online using the ISBN number. It is very rare that you won’t be able to find the book you are looking for on Amazon, Redshelf, or some other site. If it is cheaper to rent than buy, always rent (especially when dealing with textbooks). You’re never going to even think about opening your Econometrics book after the semester is over. It won’t happen. You can rent a digital version that you can access on your computer or a hard copy that gets mailed to you. 

Consider buying an older edition of the textbook. There may be a class that will require the 6th edition of the textbook. However, the 5th edition will be nearly identical to the 6th edition and will be much more affordable. As long as major changes weren’t made to the text, you will be fine buying older versions of the textbook. This is something you can check with people who have taken the course. You are not the first student that has attempted to use the 5th edition instead of the 6th. Find someone who did and see how they fared. 

The only thing worse than buying expensive books is buying expensive books you don’t need. Or that you could have rented for much less. Do your homework before you buy your books, follow these tips from GradGuard, and you will save thousands of dollars during your time in college.

Other Student Life

How to Take Charge of Your Finances

July 15, 2019

You’ve done it! You’ve graduated! Now that your textbooks are sold and you are starting out your career, it’s time to take a look at your financial situation. Now is the time to take control of your finances.

Pay off your student loans

The average college student graduates with over $37,000 in student debt. That can seem incredibly daunting as you are just starting your career; however, when you break it down into a reasonable payment plan for your finances, you can chip away at that debt over time. By breaking your student debt into bite-sized pieces every month, you can pay it off within a reasonable amount of time. 

The key is consistency and to never skip a payment. Kathryn Casna, a financial expert from TermLife2Go.com, provides three ways to make paying off your debt a priority: 

  • Avoid missing payments by setting up autopay through your bank. 
  • Eliminate debts faster by paying more than the minimum.
  • Make loan payments non-negotiable: cover them before budgeting for anything else. 

No one wants to have their student loans follow them around their entire life. You can avoid that by creating a payment plan that will get you out of debt and moving forward. 

Create a budget

If you don’t watch where your money goes, you will be stuck always wondering where your money went. After living life on ramen, you may feel like you can forget your college budget when you get your first paycheck. However, if you want to be living the high life in the future, you need to be disciplined now. Creating and sticking to a budget will help you keep those unnecessary purchases in check while helping you to pay for what’s important. 

Todd Christensen, an education manager at Moneyfit.org, breaks down his recommended budget: 

  • 10% Give: Donations, taxes, and acts of kindness
  • 50% Live: Rent or mortgage, utilities, transportation, cellphone, internet, groceries, and clothing
  • 10% Prepare: Emergency fund, care repair or replacement, travel, gift giving, furniture and appliances, and other short-term goals
  • 10% Plan: Retirement, down payment on a home and other long-term goals
  • 10% Improve: Increase your income-earning potential through education (or paying off student loans), training, or starting a business
  • 10% Enjoy: Have fun without the guilt of breaking your budget

Start investing

You’ve worked hard to earn your paycheck. Now let that money work for you. Investing is a way that you can literally make money in your sleep. By investing as often as you can, you can see your money increase without having to do anything. 

While you may think that investing is something that old, rich people do, you have the greatest advantage if you start investing now. Why? Because time is on your side. The longer you can let your investments grow, the larger your return will be.  

Robert Farrington, a financial expert at The College Investor said:

“If you get started investing at 18 years old, you only need to invest about $2,100 per year to be a millionaire by age 62. That number starts to go up a lot the older you get. If you wait until 30, that number becomes $6,900 per year you need to invest – over 3x the amount per year. All because of time.”

College finances are no joke and they are not always easy to figure out. With these tips from GradGuard, you are sure to get ahead of the game!

Other Student Life

A College Student’s Financial Bucket List

June 25, 2019

You’re about to graduate from college, and you’re staring at your financial future with wide eyes. But the more uncertainty that exists in a situation, the more freedom there is to shape it the way you need it. One great way to approach your fiscal future is to create a “bucket list” of things to do as soon as possible to improve your financial success. These simple tips will help you save a lot of money and give you the chance to reinvest in your future.

Cut Your Entertainment Costs

If you’re like most college students, you probably incur entertainment expenses that you might not be able to afford once they’re no longer subsidized. For example, you might have a combo of cable, Netflix, Prime or other streaming accounts, books, comics, and much more. If you seriously cut your entertainment budget to only a few options that you use regularly, you can save yourself real money.

In the analog sphere, stop buying books and magazines and, instead, visit the library. Digitally, you could cancel your cable and streaming video accounts, and turn to YouTube and other free sites. Don’t forget that you can also visit the library to find movies and even television shows. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save if you slash your entertainment budget in this way.

Don’t Be Afraid of Roommates

Like many students just out of college, you probably want to get a place for yourself as soon as possible. However, your post-college years are the best time to get a roommate or two. During this time, you’ll be able to save money on rent if you live with friends or people you know.

This step is also a smart choice if you want to move to a new city shortly after graduation. If you pair this step with relocating to a new and less expensive city, like Tampa, your chances of saving money grows exponentially.

Start a Side Hustle

This is the retirement strategy favored by most millennials these days. Many people of this generation — and many others— use the side hustle as a way to explore their hobbies as a source of financing. For example, you might sell paintings, clothes you’ve made, or many more items, or you might offer services you can render for a fee.

You can also try to collect items such as old electronics, cell phones, gift cards, vintage furniture, and more. Fix these items up, flip them for a buck, and you can make a small bundle of cash. While you’re piling up this profit, as with any business venture, you need to make sure that you keep track of tax expenses to avoid issues in the future.

Use Public Transportation

If you own a car or are thinking of getting one, why not instead focus on public transportation, which is loads cheaper? Though you may spend $5 for a bus ticket to get to and from work every day, you’d still ultimately be paying a lot less than if you buy (or even just maintain) a car. Let’s break this down financially.

If you buy a new car and pay $350 per month in payments and $250 in insurance, you’re paying $600 every month. By contrast, paying $5 per day for public transportation racks up a mere $150 during the 30 days of any month. That difference represents a huge savings you can’t ignore.

These ideas are just a handful of the many ways you can save money and work toward financial success as a college student. Try to expand to other plans if you have the skills and patience, and never sell yourself short. If you cut your expenses and build up your income for a few years in college or just after graduation, you could walk away with huge savings — and a more stable financial future.

For more tips on preparing for life after graduation and making the most out of your college experience follow @GradGuard on our social media!

Other Student Life

Pros and Cons of Having a Car on Campus

June 25, 2019

When you arrive on campus there are many difficult decisions to make. One decision that many students grapple with is whether or not to bring their car to school. There are many factors to consider such as the distance of your school from your home, the climate where your school is located, and the price of gas. Here are some pros and cons to consider before bringing your car to campus.  

Pros

Freedom to travel where you need to go

Having a car will make it easier to go off campus and travel. You won’t have to rely on public transportation or have to ask other people to get around. It can be helpful to be able to drive to the grocery store or have the ability to go on a short trip.

Cut down on flight costs

If you have a car on campus you will not have to purchase plane tickets when you want to go back home. This, of course, depends on whether or not you are going to a school that is close to where you live. A car will allow you to travel home without paying a hefty flight price.

Ability to transport your possessions

It can be difficult to move in and out of your residence when in college and having a car may assist with this process. The ability to drive to college with your possessions is very valuable. You can cut down on the cost of a storage unit and won’t have to worry too much about shipping your items.

Cons

You might get taken advantage of

If you are the person in your friend group who has a car, some people may start treating you like their personal taxi service. If you create boundaries you may avoid this issue but there is always the risk of others using you for your car.

You need to pay for parking and gas

A burden of having a car on campus is that you typically have to pay a hefty fee just to park it. This varies among different schools but this added expense can be bigger than expected. Another thing to consider is the price of gas. This may be a high cost depending on your location.

Weather conditions

If you are going to school somewhere with harsh winters, it may not be the best conditions for having a car. The snow can be an issue for college students who have cars on campus, especially if the student is not used to living in that type of climate.

The decision of whether or not to bring your car to campus is contingent on the different factors presented. It’s a choice that some students are happy with and other’s regret. No matter your decision, it is important to be prepared and to be aware of all the conditions.

GradGuard is a great resource for students who want to be prepared for any surprises that life may present them with. Follow GradGuard on social media to stay up to date on valuable advice and tips for your first year of college.

Health Other

College Campus Vegan Survival Guide

April 17, 2019

During the fall of 2011, GradGuard’s Director of Customer Experience made the trek from Phoenix to Colorado State University for her freshman year of college. Upon crossing the state line, she decided to slowly adopt a vegan lifestyle.

Like most college students, she embraced the opportunity to express her newfound individuality and values. She had her own fridge, a small student budget, and a newfound desire for sustainability. Little did she know that her creative tricks to ‘veganize’ comfort food would one day land a selfie of her and her grandma in The Wall Street Journal.

The other day, while she was munching on carrots and vegan ranch, we asked her what advice she would give to incoming vegan freshmen on a budget. We expected a simple response and instead received the following detailed guide. Whether you’re vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, or just plain healthy; check out this guide and true tricks for cooking on college campuses.

College Campus Vegan Survival Guide

Surviving In the Dorm Room

Living on campus can be daunting without a kitchen, especially if you’re a foodie. Learning how to cook creatively in the dorm can feel a lot like being a contestant on Chopped. These items made cooking in the dorms not only fun and challenging but healthy!

The Basics The Extras
-Mini-fridge
-Microwave
-Electric kettle*
-Utensils Slow-cooker*
-Rice maker*
-Glass containers
-16oz mason jars
-Cutting board with knife*  
-An herb garden
-A fungi-growing kit
-Sprouting jar and lids
-Cheesecloth
-Espresso maker*
-Cold-brew coffee maker
-A homemade kombucha kit  

*Please make sure to check with your residence hall’s rules and regulations regarding these items

Mini-Fridge Staples Shelf-Stable Staples
-Crudités
-Vegan ranch or mayo
-Hummus
-Seasonal fruits
-Frozen burritos
-Frozen vegetables in steam bags
-Beans
-Nuts and nut butters
-Plant-based milk
-Soup
-PastaSauce
-Microwavable rice and pasta

Surviving In the Dining Halls

Over 70% of college campuses are now providing vegan options in the dining halls. Most schools post a weekly menu for each dining hall complete with nutritional information. If you can’t easily find one online, reach out to your university. If your particular college is more vegetarian-friendly, it helps to sneak in your own cheese or condiments.

If you’re on a limited meal plan, it is easiest to skip the bacon and egg-laden breakfast most schools provide and stick to a quick protein bar or shake. Make sure to plan out your meals for the week if you have a limited number of dining hall passes. This way, you can create a short grocery list for the meals you know you’ll need to make.

Overall, being vegan on campus will take a lot of trial and error until you standardize your weekly routine. GradGuard is always here to help you with tips on wellness and college hacks. Here are a few vegan food bloggers’ guides that made being vegan in college look like a breeze:

Emilie Eats’ College Vegan Guide
Graduate of Louisiana State University & Current Colorado State Grad Student

Jordan Waddel’s Easy Packed Cold Lunches for Work or School
Current Nursing student

From My Bowl’s Easy 3-Ingredient After School Snacks
Graduate of the University of Pittsburg

Bon appétit!

Health Other

How to Stop Making Excuses and Start Traveling Already

April 15, 2019

Traveling opens the door to achieving new opportunities and discovering new dreams. Getting to see countries, continents, jumping on cruises, and seeing other places can allow for you to gain a new sense of optimism and see things from a different light. It’s hard for college students to travel because of a lack of money and having time to do so, but the truth is that you need to stop making those excuses if you want to live life fruitfully.

Stop Making Excuses About Not Being Able To Travel

Traveling is one of the most incredible ways to experience life, but when you constantly use your college life circumstances as your reasoning as to why you can’t do it, then you will miss out. Most excuses usually stem from two things: not having enough money and not having enough time. If you don’t sort either of these out, you are missing out on great opportunities.

Understand that traveling can be done in multiple ways and doesn’t have to be through the traditional route. For example, you can always take a luxury cruise to Hawaii instead of flying. Doing this means the traveling already begins even before you land on the islands. You can also take long drives and road trips to different destinations around the nation. Traveling can be done in ways that can suit your budget, lifestyle, and means of ability.

Saving Money To Travel

Tuck Away Extra Cash

Do you ever find yourself getting random checks? How about additional change you never use? Stash away real dollar bills and coins that you find and have, and then use that to build your next trip. Every paycheck you have should have a small amount go straight into your future trips fund.

Extra Side Jobs

If you want to travel badly enough, find a side hustle. There are plenty of ways you can make an extra amount of cash on top of your current workload. Side hustles can be anything from mowing lawns to tutoring kids or other students. Be creative. Use any skills you have. Making extra money is about being creative and putting yourself out there.

Know How To Hunt For Flights

You don’t need to fly business class to have a good vacation. You don’t need to stay at the most expensive place at the Bahamas to achieve a fun time. Know how to hunt down quality flights and good hotel prices. It’s all about creativity and using your mind to find resources that open the door to saving money. Cheap hotels, flights, and accommodation within your budget can allow you to go anywhere you want. The Internet is full of resources to locate affordable options for everything travel related.

Creating Time to Travel

Plan Months In Advance

Take a look at the next two months of your life and try to find a time and a place when you can fly to the destination of your dreams and see other parts of the world. Planning out a trip in advance also means you have the time to save money for it for the future. No need to spend every dollar that you have right now for your trip.

Day Off Requests

Getting time off from work is also a tough thing to overcome. Asking for days off months in advance opens the door to achieving the best possible free time so that you can travel.

Lessons To Be Learned From Traveling

Going out of your state and into other parts of the nation opens the door to learning about your country. Traveling out of state and going abroad opens an even bigger door of knowledge and education learning about other parts of the globe. Historical landmarks, national parks, an educational sites allow you to discover new cultures and livelihoods. Traveling teaches you about the way other people live their daily life, allowing you to appreciate the world and how it operates in different parts of the globe. You can even pick up a new language everywhere you go and dive right in to the other cultures.

Stop making excuses on why you aren’t traveling enough. Stop not caring about your financial life and start saving for the future. Your next trip is not far away. You can plan a trip and go to a new country this year and make it a goal to visit someplace else in the next year. Just a few adventures a year can open your mind to endless possibilities. These tips from GradGuard can helo get you there!

BIO: Brett has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Other Transition

Living Off-Campus: What You Need to Know

April 12, 2019

Now that you are ending that “dreadful” year of living on-campus, I’m sure you are considering living off-campus. You’re sick of the small space, the hovering of the RA’s, having to use your keycard every time you go in and out of your residence hall, the limited amount of guests you can have over at any given time–the list goes on and on. The only logical thing you’ve been thinking about for awhile is “when can I finally move off-campus?”

Don’t worry, we all have this thought and are excited for what that entails, however, life is very different off-campus opposed to on-campus and there are definitely a few things you need to consider when making that decision.

Can You Afford It?

This is huge honestly. Though you are stoked to be living on your own with the ability to have get togethers whenever you want to, there is a pretty large price tag to come along with that. Living off-campus you need to consider what your rent will be, how much your bills are going to cost, whether your apartment comes furnished or not, how much your groceries will be each week, etc. Sometimes, the cost of living off-campus exceeds the cost of living on-campus. Be sure you consider all of these expenses first before moving.

Are you living with roommates or by yourself?

It can be tempting to live by yourself, but that experience should be saved for when you are finished with school. Living with roommates will probably be your best bet, as long as you pick and choose them wisely. It takes a certain human(s) to be a good roommate to share the expenses properly, understand your weird habits, and do their fair share of the cleaning. There wasn’t a need to worry about those things when living in the dorms, but outside of them, it is a whole new world.

How are you going to get to campus?

Commuting is something that we sometimes forget when moving off-campus. How are you going to get to class when you move off-campus? Hopefully, you find a place with good rent at a good size that is close enough to campus for you to walk or bike, but if not, you definitely need to think about the cost it will be for you to get a parking pass for your car or what the bus schedule is and the route it takes to get to campus. These can really be deal breakers depending on the location of the apartment/house you’re looking at.

Changes in your renters insurance

If you move off-campus, there can be some changes in your renters insurance coverage. The premium price might change, your landlord could want you to get higher limits, you have more stuff to cover so you might want to get higher limits anyway, etc. Regardless of your living situation if it is on-campus or off-campus, renters insurance is a must, but definitely for off-campus housing. You don’t want to be stuck with having to replace a bunch of stuff on your own if you come home from class one day to see that you were robbed and all of your stuff missing.

GradGuard offers renters insurance to students living off-campus as well as on-campus! You still get all the benefits like low deductibles and worldwide personal property coverage, so don’t forget to update your address or purchase a new policy when moving.

We hope this has helped you with your decision making! Remember that college is the time of your life and living off-campus is a great experience, just be sure you are prepared for it.