We get it, college life is expensive – and a busy class load means less time to work and earn extra money for fun stuff. It's vitally important to start saving now and build a reasonable budget for making the most of your funds. From saving money on your grocery bill, to finding cheap entertainment, we've rounded up the best tips for saving money while living in apartments near USF.
You've probably heard the annoying adage about how giving up frappuccinos and avocado toast (does anybody really eat that?) is the number one way to save money. While it is totally cheaper to make your own fancy coffee drinks – and everyone looks cooler carrying a personalized wacky coffee mug – here are a few more creative things you can do to painlessly save some cash on your weekly food bill.
Get gourmet: Eating meals that you create yourself is wayyy less costly than ordering Uber Eats or dining out. Cooking at home is actually a breeze and much cheaper and healthier than restaurant food. Check out some of these tasty and affordable recipes – you'll be an amateur chef in no time.
Bring Back the Classic Dinner Party: Calling it a dinner party sounds more refined than a "pot-luck," but that's exactly what it is. Most off-campus housing options at USF offer charming kitchens and a dining area – or if the weather is right, dine al fresco on your patio or balcony. Invite your closest friends to bring their favorite dish and enjoy some home cooked deliciousness you didn't pay for.
Campus Food is Fattening: Even places hyping the latest health food trends offer items laden with hidden calories. If you're trying to ditch that freshman 15, then it's best to make your own between-class snacks at home. Dollar stores carry a variety of adorable food storage solutions, or the classic Mason jar is the perfect way to carry a salad or soup. Just be sure to tote your lunch with care – no one wants to go to class looking like that kind of snack.
Dig Those Apartment Amenities
Another stellar way to save is by utilizing the amenities that your apartment community offers. Most of the student housing communities near USF feature sweet onsite fitness centers that are perfect for getting some cardio literally steps away from your couch. Take a brisk 5K morning walk and ditch that gym membership. An energizing swim is also a grand way to exercise and studying by the absolutely gorgeous pool gives you a nice healthy glow – just be sure to wear sunscreen!
Rent an All-Inclusive Apartment
Renting a student-friendly place that is already furnished or are all-inclusive can actually help you save a pretty penny. If you're on an individual lease in one of these communities, then you can pinpoint your expenditures on rent and utilities, making sticking to your budget even easier. Getting a pre-furnished apartment means that you don't have to spend your funds on crappy furniture right now – you can save that money and buy what you really want later. These apartment homes usually come with good-quality and relatively modern seating areas, sturdy tables, comfy beds, and some units even come with high-end flat screen TVs.
Consider Ditching Your Car
Another way to help increase your savings now is to ditch your car for a little while. While having your own whip is certainly convenient, all of the related costs can really add up fast. Car payment and insurance can be several hundred dollars a month, in addition to parking fees, gas, and regular maintenance. If you live close to campus, biking or walking is both healthier and hella cheaper than USF's parking fees. The ever-expanding Bull Runner Shuttle has stops at many of the area's apartment communities and is a safe and easy alternative than trying to find a parking spot on campus. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are another option; they are incredibly affordable and help the local economy. Keeping individual car use to a minimum is also important for combatting climate change and ridding ourselves of the dependence on fossil fuels.
The High Life is Within Reach
Hopefully, your college years are filled with treasured memories, fun, and lifelong friends – not brokitude and debt. Being smart with your money now will only make your future that much brighter. Things like keeping your apartment clean and tidy so you get your deposit back, putting your bills on autopay, eating at home, and driving less CAN help you put away a tidy sum while the rest of your friends are buying ramen noodles with pennies. Be smart now, and live fat later! Keep checking back for more sneaky tips on how to get the most out of your college lifestyle.