How to Save Money While Living Off Campus

Cutting Costs… Comfortably

Many times, people make the switch to living off-campus to save money. While moving off campus can literally save you thousands of dollars a year, it may seem like you have to pay for more since everything isn’t included in one price tag. Here’s your guide to saving money on all the odds and ends that come up when you’re living off campus.

Live With Roommates

This is just for those of you that are still considering if you’re going to live off-campus or not. Splitting the rent with a few friends is still the most significant money saver available. We’re talking thousands of dollars a year on this one. So we recommend you grab some friends, whether it’s one or a few more, and sign that lease together.

For those of you who go to ODU and don’t have anyone to room with, check out’s roommate pairing system. We can help you find someone you’ll be compatible with!

Use Smart Transportation

Transportation is one of those nickel and dime costs. While it doesn’t necessarily feel like paying the rent, it really does cost hundreds of dollars a year (at least) to drive your car everywhere. Here’s a few ways you can cut costs and still get everywhere you need to go. For more ideas on how to make transportation a breeze, check out our resources for current tenants.

  1. Stay Close to Campus – If you haven’t signed a lease yet, staying within a block or two of campus can make walks pretty easy, even if you have a car. It’ll only take an extra five minutes, but you’ll save on those city MPG’s that chew through your gas tank.
  2. Bike Sharing – This is one of the most incredible and affordable ways to get around campus. A group called Pace Bike Share rents out bikes for $1 every 30 minutes! You can use their app to locate one of their 7 racks on campus, and the more than 15 around the city of Norfolk. They are sleek, faster than walking, and way cheaper than driving!
  3. Take the Shuttle – All of ODURent’s properties are adjacent to or very close to ODURent’s shuttle stations. These can help you get anywhere you want to go on campus.
  4. Carpool – It may mean that you have to stay on campus an extra hour or two from time to time, but try and find friends near you that you can drive with.

Do You Really Need That?…

This is the hard part, but we will try and make it as painless as possible. If you’re serious about saving some money, these questions might just be necessary.

First, let’s talk about cable. Cable is what we would call a luxury because it’s not exactly vital to your survival. If you adamantly claim it is, then let’s talk about some more cost-efficient options. Odds are, you’re probably already paying for a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. But if you really want your LIVE streaming, see if your family has cable already. Several providers let you watch your favorite shows and channels online if you have the login!

Second, let’s talk about food. As convenient as it is to order pizza and Chinese 5 times a week, this will cost you more money in the long run. Groceries might feel like a drag and take work to make, but it will save money and you can eat way healthier, look better, all that awesome stuff.

Smart Utilities

Finally, utilities are one of those costs that change based on how you use it. It’s always going to cost money to live reasonably, so don’t just live in the dark and never drink water. Still, it’s really important that you and your roommates make good habits if you want to keep costs down.

Get in the habit of not turning the shower on until you are ready to get in, and use something like a timer or music to help you not lose track of time. Get in the habit of turning off lights, especially when you leave the apartment or house. Don’t just leave the television running over night as you sleep. If you are generally cost-conscious about your utilities, they’ll stay at a reasonable level.

If you have more questions about the best way to save money while living off-campus, we would love to help! Give us a call or shoot us an email, and we will get you on your way to the best off-campus living experience possible.