When it comes to college, we all know that tuition and room and board are the Big Two expenses, but it can help to keep your everyday living expenses to a minimum. You can do that by sharing certain expenses with your roommates. How much you can save by doing this will vary depending on whether or not you live off campus – where the savings can be substantial – or in a dorm, where they’ll be more modest.
Here are some expenses you can save on by splitting expenses. You may not be able to do it every time, but to the extent you’re able to, you will save money.
Food and groceries
Even if you live in a dorm room, there are certain food items that you’ll want to keep in the room. It could be just coffee, cereal, and snacks, but what ever it is, you can cut down on the cost by spitting the bill when you buy. If you live in an apartment and regularly stock up on staples, you can save even more by sharing the cost.
You can also save some money when it comes to buying cleaning supplies and paper goods. Soap, detergent, paper towels and bathroom tissue are more affordable when you split the cost. Even if you buy these intending that they will be for your personal use, there’s a very good chance others are using them, with or without your knowledge. By getting others to help with the cost, you not only lower the cost to you, but you also encourage responsible use.
Eating out is another food area where sharing expenses can be an advantage. Many eateries offer coupons and discounts that allow you to “buy one and get one free” or at least half price. If you aren’t able to use these for a date, you can use them with roommates. You can get the discounted price, and then spit the cost of the amount that does have to be paid evenly.
Even in a dorm arrangement you might have certain subscriptions where you can save some money by sharing expenses. Netflix comes to mind. If your roommates are benefiting from your subscription – or you from theirs – you can all afford it more easily if you share the cost of keeping it.
If you have a car, or one of your roommates does, this can be an excellent way to save money on long distance travel. If you and another roommate are heading to the same general area for summer vacation or for the holidays you can both save money by carpooling for the trip.
It could be a matter of you paying the gas for your friends car. You get the benefit of riding in his car – saving money on air, rail, or bus fare, while he saves with you paying the gas.
This can be an even bigger advantage if you will need to spend a night in a hotel along the way. By spitting the cost of the hotel room down the middle, it will be the same as if both of you are getting a 50% discount.
If you are doing your laundry at a coin operated laundry, you may be able to save money by combining your wash. As a single person, you probably aren’t doing anything more than half-loads in the washing machines, but you’re paying the same price as if you were doing full loads (assuming of course that you do colors and whites in separate loads). By combining your wash loads, you will both have your laundry done for the price of one.
Since you probably do your laundry at least once a week, the savings can really add up. What’s more, if you split the cost of laundry detergent, bleach and dryer sheets, you will also save money on those purchases. In fact, you will almost certainly save even more since you will be able to by the more economical large sizes of each.
This is not an ongoing expense, but it could save some money at the start of the school year. You probably will need some basic items, such as a TV, a microwave oven, a coffee machine, and maybe even some extra light fixtures. You can split these purchases and save some money on them.
Maybe you could supply a TV and a coffee machine, while your roommate provides a microwave oven and extra lamps. This may happen more than occasionally, if you have a regular changing of the roommate guard.
Can you think of other ways you can save money by combining expenses?
(image courtesy of adamr / freedigitalphotos.net)