Dorm life isn’t suitable for everyone. Between the cramped living quarters and the surprisingly expensive cost, some college students might look off campus for places to live. The average dorm costs between $8,000 and $13,000 a year, which doesn’t include the months of the year when school is not in session.
See Our List: 100 Most Influential Money Experts
Read On: 22 Side Gigs That Can Make You Richer Than a Full-Time Job
Saying you’re in your dorm nine months out of the year, which breaks down to about $900-$1,500 in rent per month for a dorm. For that kind of money, you definitely have other options in which you’re not sharing a bedroom with another person.
1. Live at Home
It might not be the most freeing choice, but it is the cheapest. If you’re going to school close to home, and you won’t mind kicking it with the folks for a few more years, you can definitely save some money and avoid high dorm costs. This also doesn’t have to be a permanent solution. Since you’ll be saving money, you might be able to move out after a year or two.
Take Our Poll: Do You Tip for Service?
2. Move Into a Room in a House
If you don’t live close to home, or staying at home isn’t an option, take a look at sites like Craigslist, Spare Room, and HotPads to find a room in a home with roommates. You will probably end up saving more money than you would in the dorms, plus you’ll have your own room and won’t have to move out every time a semester ends. Houses close to campus will probably be especially cheap, and you can potentially meet other people from your school that you can become friends with. This has all the perks of dorm life without the spartan bunk beds.
3. Find an Apartment With Friends
Not crazy about the prospect of living with strangers? See if one or more of your friends is also looking to move. This way, you can look for apartments or homes together, still split the rent, and you’ll already know the people you’re going to live with.
4. Rent a Studio
Depending on the city you’re renting in, a studio might be a more affordable choice than a dorm, or at least it will be comparable. Nationwide, the average cost to rent a studio is about $1,700. That’s $20,400 a year. Yes, that’s higher than what it costs for a dorm on average, but as mentioned, dorms aren’t meant for yearlong living. Plus, you’ll have your privacy, which might be worth the extra money if you can afford it.
5. Live in a Greek House
If you’re part of a fraternity or a sorority, you might be able to live in one of the houses. The advantages here are that you’re living near campus, and you’ll be able to get to know your brothers and sisters better. The disadvantage might be that this option isn’t that much affordable, depending on where your college is. It’s best to weigh your options against local rental costs, especially since you’ll be paying dues to be in the fraternity or sorority already.
6. Live in a Co-op
Some colleges might have a student cooperative or co-op. Co-ops can be a very affordable living option for college students, since part of the way you “pay” to live at the co-op is by helping to run the building it’s in. Whether that be a store or other business within the building depends on the co-op, but working there will often significantly lower your rent. Working and living in a co-op also gives you the opportunity to meet other people from your college. Often, co-ops will have social events as well, so you can hopefully make some friends while living there.
7. Look Into Student Family Housing
If you’re married or have children, you might have access to affordable living options through your college. Your school might offer something known as student-family housing. These are often apartments near campus that the school has bought and rents to you at a discounted rate compared to what it would be without the school’s intervention. Some of these units might even offer amenities for children like parks and playsets, that make it even more enjoyable for your whole family.
More From GOBankingRates