Ways to Save

Image Source
Negotiate the agent/broker fee and the security deposit: Real estate agent fees can be difficult to avoid when searching for an apartment in the Boston area. If you can't avoid an agent/broker fee, consider negotiating the fee. Some agents offer no-fee or half-fee apartments and others would consider reducing their fee if it means finalizing the transaction. Landlords may also be willing to bend on the security deposit. Property owners can request a maximum of one month's rent for their security deposit - which you will get back 30 days after your lease ends with damage costs deducted. Some landlords may not require a full month's rent for their deposit - if you can demonstrate you will be a good and respectful tenant, they may reduce their deposit, giving you some extra money to have on hand.

Image Source
Get a direct roommate: Want to cut your housing costs in half? Get a direct roommate. In fact, it is the expectation of financial aid that students live off-campus as they would in university housing, with a direct roommate. For the 2017-2018 academic year, Boston College financial aid estimates the average off-campus student will spend $1,183 for rent, food, and utilities. This number assumes students have a direct roommate. 

Image Source
Cook rather than order out: Cooking rather than ordering out or going out to eat will save you big money over the long term. According to Business Insider, just buying lunch instead of packing your own costs $2,000 a year on average. Eating at home doesn't need to be complicated either - grilled chicken, pasta, sandwiches, and roasted veggies are all cheap, easy to make, and are great for left-overs.

Image Source
Limit alcohol spending and don't host parties: Going out or hosting friends can be fun, but it is always very expensive. Those of you enjoying the new found freedom that comes with turning 21 may also have noticed the cost associated with purchasing alcohol. The cost of one beer at a bar can be between $7 and $10 dollars. Three drinks and tip will almost always put you at or near the $30 mark. Add in costs for travel, cover charges, or food and you will very quickly see your spending skyrocket.

To keep costs down, some students will consider passing on a night out and opt to hosts their friends (and maybe their friend's friends, and then their friend's friend's friends) at their apartment. This may sound cost effective on the surface, but you must also consider costs such as purchasing alcohol and food, potential damage to the apartment (bye-bye security deposit), liability and risk of possibly providing underage students with alcohol, risk of someone getting hurt, and potential costs associated with a court summons.


Keep doors and windows shut and monitor your energy use: Drafty, ajar, or open windows will cause your money to "fly out the window." Regardless of heat or air conditioning, your goal is to keep the heat or cool air in your apartment. Open windows will slow the heating or cooling process and cause your appliances and utilities bills to work harder and cost you more money. You may also consider using a fan rather than AC in hot weather or consider keeping the heat set on a slightly lower temp during cold days - sometimes a sweatshirt is all you need.

Image Source
Limit your in-home entertainment: Consider if you really need cable, HBO, Starz, high speed internet, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. Monthly cable/wifi costs can fall between $100-$150, or even higher depending on your subscription package. These costs can add up over the term of your lease. A cost saving solution many students opt for is just to purchase high speed internet and share a Netflix account ($7.99/month), which more their covers their in home entertainment needs and can save them $50-$100 each month.

Popular Posts: Last Seven Days