When you have a child preparing to live on their own off-campus at college, it can be a pretty nerve-wracking experience. While they’re not paying a real estate agent commission just yet, they’ll have an apartment and the expenses that come with it for the duration of the school year. If you want to make sure they’re prepared to handle all of those new bills, here are a few money-saving tips to teach your college student.
Turn the Heat Down
Heating is one of the most expensive bills your college student will likely need to pay when they’re living on their own. In fact, over 50% of a typical home’s energy is dedicated to heating and cooling expenses. So in order to help your child save money on this particular expense, it’s important to teach them to keep the heat down whenever possible. A great way to determine the appropriate temperature is to dress for the weather. If it’s chilly outside, a few layers or a big sweater combined with some socks and slippers is appropriate attire to wear inside. If someone is wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of a cold winter day, then it’s likely that the heat is too high. Another great tip to help keep heat expenses down is to keep the thermostat at one consistent temperature instead of turning it up every time you get a little chilly. Again, dressing for the weather definitely has its benefits.
Live Below Your Means
Living below your means is an excellent strategy to teach your college student to help them save a little bit of money. While most people live within their means, living below your means allows for the opportunity to create a nice cushion of savings for when it’s really needed. One of the first ways to teach your college student how to do this is to help them create a monthly budget. This involves tracking typical spending, looking for areas where there might be overspending, and then creating a strategy to reduce that number. Placing limits on frivolous spending can also be a great tool to help your college student live below their means. In addition, this is a great opportunity to teach them how to be savvy in the kitchen and make basic ingredients go a long way. Meal prepping and planning can be an excellent money-saving tool.
Pick the Right Living Space
Picking the right living situation is crucial when your college student is planning on moving off-campus. Will they be able to split bills evenly among roommates? Will the landlord be flexible with deadlines? Are there enough amenities to justify the cost of rent? These are important questions to ask when helping your child look for a suitable apartment. While they may not be in the same space for five to seven years like most Americans, this will be their home for a while and it’s up to them to maintain it. This is where your expertise as a homeowner and as a parent can come in handy, too. Join your college student on a walkthrough of their potential home and make note of any issues that need to be fixed before they move in. It might be helpful to offer to talk to the landlord about some of those issues, too. Especially if they’re going to cost your child money or peace of mind while they reside on that property.
Seeing your child grow up and live semi-independently is a tough thing to do. But when the time comes, it’s important to help your child adjust in whatever way you can. With these money-saving tips in their toolbox, your college student should be well on their way to making smart money moves.