Sometimes I miss the good 'old days, back when I wasn't a "homeowner" and I got by with living in a two bedroom apartment. Life was simpler back then. I had fewer (and smaller) bills to worry about and I never had to make repairs or upgrades to my living space. While home-ownership certainly has its benefits over apartment living, living in an apartment can really save you some money if you go about it in the right way. Here are just a few ways I saved money while I was living in an apartment.
Not Getting a Roommate
While deciding to live alone in a two bedroom apartment might not seem like the best use of space or money, in the long run this decision saved me a ton of money and my sanity. Lots of my college classmates decided to share an apartment with people they went to high school with, or people they met during their college classes. For most of these people the classic advice "don't room with someone you're friends with" turned out to be very true. Most of these people are no longer speaking to each other and they certainly aren't still living together. In fact, many of them didn't even make it through their one year lease term. This resulted in them having to look for a new place to live mid-school year and pay a large amount in fees to get out of their rental contract early.
Having a roommate might save you some money on rent and utilities, but it doesn't usually save you any money on groceries. The grocery situation is always a tricky one, no matter if you decide to share groceries and split the bill or have each individual provide their own food without any sharing. Groceries and splitting apartment chores always seem to be the big factors that split roommates up.
Live Modestly in an Apartment
By not seeking the most glamorous apartment in the most luxurious neighborhood, I was able to rent my apartments by myself in college and still have them remain affordable. When you are a full-time college student working a part-time job, you don't need to have all of life's luxuries in your apartment. Your main focus should be on your education (and having a little fun), not on having the best apartment out of everyone you know.
Part of living modestly also means keeping your other living expenses and bills in check too. Simple things like choosing Netflix over cable TV and setting your thermostat a little lower than you'd prefer during the winter will go a long way in helping you keep your living expenses low. Luckily, the utility bills associated with apartment living are usually much lower than that of a house to begin with. When I lived in an apartment, my monthly utility bills ranged from $30-50 each month (for all my utilities combined)!
There's something to be said for truly "living like a broke college student," this is a great way to keep your living expenses low and build wealth quickly if you are no longer a student. I made the mistake of taking on too big a mortgage after college and now I'm almost "house poor". There are certainly days that I miss the cheaper lifestyle that comes with apartment living.
How else do you think apartment living can save you money?
Photo courtesy of: Matthew Trentacoste