Moving out of your childhood home and into a college apartment is an exciting step. There are memories just waiting to be made. But this is a time when you have to take more personal responsibility than you might have in the past. Here are there key things to keep in mind before you move into your new digs:
Grocery shop in bulk. Your freezer is your friend, so use it. Separate meats into storage bags according to serving size, and be sure to properly label each bag with the type of meat and date it was frozen. Not only is this the most economical way to shop, you’ll always have meat for a meal. In fact, there are many things you can keep in your freezer to eat later. Do a little research and make noes about what you can safely freeze and what you can’t or shouldn’t. Keep a list on the outside of the freezer of what items you added and when.
When canned goods go on sale, stock up. Cans of vegetables and soup are inexpensive and can be stored for a long time. They make excellent sides to any dish, or they are fine on their own. As much as possible, buy off brand, and download the digital coupon app for your local grocery store.
If you have roommates, work together to make grocery lists that can be split equitably. Agree on who will cook what and when, and who will clean up. Grocery shopping and kitchen duty are chores that need to be shared.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, learn to cook.
Prepare a Chore Chart
The kitchen isn’t the only room that will require some maintenance. Someone is going to have to occasionally vacuum the floors, take out the trash and clean the bathroom. Everyone in the apartment should be responsible for their own laundry, and making their own beds, of course.
Sit down with your roommates and make a detailed list of what needs to be done to keep the apartment presentable. Then, make assignments, including how often each chose needs to be completed and who is responsible. You can vary the chores by week or month, so that one person isn’t always in charge of vacuuming or mopping. On the other hand, you and your roommates may want to stick to the same schedule. The most important thing is to come up with a chart that works for your situation.
Communication is key. If someone isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, bring it up – and refer to the chart.
If you’re going to be living on your own, the chores are all on you. Make a schedule of what needs to be done and when. Add your chores to your planner so things don’t get away from you, and your apartment is respectable enough for surprise visitors (like mom and dad).
Finances are among the biggest complaints of students in apartments at Utah State, primarily because they see the monthly rent, but not all the extra costs. Aside from tuition and books, college is pricey, so before signing a lease, make sure you’ve read the terms of it and understand exactly what you’re agreeing to.
Make a budget you can realistically live with. There are so many apps today that provide a snapshot of what you’re truly spending, and what you’re spending it on, so you can make adjustments as needed.
Don’t sign up for credit cards because you think it’s a way to get you extra spending money. College students routinely get into financial trouble by getting credit cards with high interest rates that they can’t repay. College should be some of the best years of your life. Follow these practical tips for reducing headache and keeping the peace with your friends and family.