Living Frugal In a University Residence

So you decided to move out of your parents house and live in residence. As the “Teacher Man” mentioned in “Student Living Options,” living in residence will cost relatively the same as living with friend; however, there are things that you can take advantage of while living in residence.

First off, your costs are set and there are no unseen costs associated with living on campus. You can either pay upfront for the whole year, or follow whatever term payments your particular residence has.  Fixed costs give you one less thing to worry about, so all that is left is your cell phone bill, food (unless you have a food plan), and your gym membership.  There are many things that you can spend your money on so it’s best to prioritize them.

living frugally on campus
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In residence there are many programs run on campus and by your Student Housing Team that are free (or paid for in your fees depending how you look at it).  At the U of M each Resident Advisor has to do roughly 5 programs a month which adds up with the 30+ R.A’s that they have. These programs can include trips to the grocery store, movie night out, or even workout classes.
I’ll try to break it down with those 3 examples so you can see how much money you can save just by taking advantage of those programs.

The residence meal plans didn’t really suit me that well because I was a breakfast eater and there wasn’t enough money on my plan for 3 meals a day. So I bought cereal and ate that most mornings. Taking a bus to the store was a pain, and it took forever. The Resident Advisor’s organized a day where we would take a few vehicles and go ourselves.  This program saves you time, and the bus fare, and you can even buy bulk and split it with the people on your floor.

I’m a big movie fan and it’s difficult to rent movies when you don’t have a car. You could rent them online, but when your internet is used by a building of students with the same mindset, downloads can be very slow.  So one popular program that the R.A.’s put on  is “movie nights.” It’s petty much exactly what it sounds like, they will rent 2-3 movies and book a place to watch them in the building.  They sometimes watch a different movie on multiple floors so you can have your choice to watch 8 different movies.  So it’s good selection, it’s free, and you can still watch it in your pajamas.

Related – 8 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment for College Students

If you are like most students, chances are you will buy a gym membership when you get to school, go for the first 2 weeks, then never see the gym again. If you go to a workout program it’s free, you’ll have motivation because you’ll be encouraged to go by your R.A, and it’s a good way to meet people. The more people that attend those programs the more resources they throw into it, and some eventually even bring in different trainers in order to have other workouts more often.

There are many programs ran by students themselves and the professionals from Residence Housing.  By living frugal on campus will allows you take advantage of these free/cheap programs which are well attended, tons of fun, and are great for building a wide range of contact and relationships.

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