Cut Your College Rent Costs In Half

Cut Your College Rent Costs In Half

We said raise the roof, not the rent.

Even with help from my parents, paying for college has been tough. After agreeing to pay X amount of tuition there are always unexpected fees, books to buy and rent every month.

As the population in my college town increased, so did living prices. Each year I found myself in a worse situation, financially, than the previous year. Looking back, I’ve realized the smartest move would have been to buy a house, rent out the extra rooms and after graduation decide to either sell the place or keep renting it.

Buying a house right after high school may sound a bit aggressive, and maybe unfeasible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge decision to make but for those of us with parents committed to the college dream, it’s actually possible.

Convincing your parents

Surprisingly, this is the easiest part. A simple rent or buy calculator would probably do the trick, but there are some other financial questions to ask yourselves. First, you should consider the rental market.

A mortgage payment is typically a lot less than asking rent prices. With that said, you may be able to pay the full mortgage every month using the rent money from your roommates. You would be spending a good chunk of money but as an investment for free (or cheap) college living.

If that isn’t convincing enough, look at the population trends in your college town. If it’s growing, remind them that this year’s rent is the lowest price they will see. Each year prices will go up, tuition might too. Plus, renting a place costs a lot more than just rent. You’ll pay double for the first month after a move-in deposit and fees. Oh, and you might as well just kiss that deposit goodbye now. Regardless of the condition you leave your apartment, complexes love that deposit money and you’re probably never going to see it again.

There are obvious financial benefits that come with buying a house, but imagine life without a landlord. You can recklessly hang up pictures, paint the walls, have unlimited pets and anything you break can be replaced at a realistic price.

Shopping for the best

The first step is to determine what you can afford. Use a mortgage calculator to see what the monthly payment would be for each prospective house. It’s common for shoppers to prepare for one big initial cost, but remember there are smaller and recurring costs too. Consider the taxes, closing costs, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

As you decide how much is worth spending, remember the income you will receive from roommates. Up front it may seem cheaper to go with a two bedroom, but after some calculation you will realize that two or more roommates is ideal. If you’re receiving rent from one other person, you’ll still be responsible for a chunk of the mortgage. However, with two or more extra rooms, you can collect enough rent to cover the entire mortgage every month.

You should also research the city construction plans in areas you look. If there are permits underway for a new park on your block or a new mall down the street, this probably isn’t the best place to buy.

When hunting for a place to live there are dozens of money pits you can fall into. Avoid scams by finding companies worth doing business with. Owning a home for a few years may end up being the best financial decision you ever made. Life without a landlord is just a bonus.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.

As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs/Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.


If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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