The Frugal Student Renter’s Survival Guide: 4 Tips for First-Time Renters


Housing often represents somewhat of a sticky situation for students renting for the first time.

After all, those with little to no knowledge of real estate often aren’t aware of the hidden costs involved; likewise, finding the ideal student apartment for rent requires some research for those who still want to get the full “college” experience.

The best advice for first-time renters is relatively simple: do everything you can to keep money in your pocket.

For many students, this means living a frugal lifestyle beyond finding an affordable apartment. Thankfully, living on a tight budget is one of the cornerstones of being a college student and is sometimes a fun challenge for students looking to see how far they can go on a dime.

So, how can you keep the as much money in your pocket as possible when you’re a student renter?

Start With Roommates and Responsibilities

Having roommates will inevitably slash your monthly rent check and represent a win-win as you have the opportunity to delegate tasks around the house. To avoid a potential roommate nightmare, try to have a good idea of who you’re going to live with ahead of time. This can be done via Facebook groups or roommate-matching services provided by your college.

Beyond dividing up the rent check, roommates ensure that the upkeep of the apartment is much easier to handle. In short, each roommate should have designated chores and be held accountable for making sure that regular cleaning gets done.

Between taking out the trash and doing the dishes and beyond, no one person should be stuck with the responsibility of taking care of the apartment. This will help you save in cleaning costs in the long-run and keep you from having to hire a cleaning service when it comes time to move out.

Don’t Be Afraid to Report Repairs

Speaking of upkeep, make sure to report any and all problems and damages to your landlord immediately after they occur. This may be daunting to first-time renters; however, you don’t want to get hit with any unnecessary move-out fees when your lease is up.

Although you might be temporary tenants, you bear responsibility for the inner workings of your apartment such as the plumbing and air-conditioner: don’t let these things fall to the wayside.

Forget About Cable

Ditch any cable bundles offered by your apartment complex and instead strive to enjoy entertainment on your own time. For example, four roommates could easily share subscriptions for Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now for a fraction of the cost of cable without missing any shows. Besides, students are often way too busy with studies and social outings to tune out in front of the television anyway.

Learn to Cook in Bulk


This tip is crucial for saving money and avoiding the dreaded “freshman fifteen.” If you live with others, it only makes sense to start cooking in bulk as means of always having food around and keeping more money in your pocket. Rice and pasta dishes are great options that will only cost you pennies per meal.

On a related note, chances are it’d also be a good idea to invest in a membership to a warehouse-style store (such as Costco) to purchase household items in bulk such as toilet paper or paper towels.

Being a student renter can be a thrilling yet challenging journey. Do everything you can to keep costs down for the long-term while actually being able to enjoy your college experience.

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