This year I moved into a house off campus after living in the dorms for two years. I can definitely say that it is better than the dorms, but it required a lot more planning, and money, than a dorm ever did. If it’s your first time living off campus here are some tips I wish I would’ve had:
Coordinate everything with your housemates
It might be obvious that it’s important to decide who is bringing the couch and kitchen table, but it’s also important to figure out who is bringing the dishes, decorations and vacuum (something we forgot about, whoops). It’ll say everyone so much stress to have it figured out in advance.
2. Try to plan the layout of your room beforehand (if you can)
There’s nothing more exciting than getting to your first house for the first time all ready to move in, until you realize that you have no idea where anything in your bedroom is going to fit. I suggest going minimalist because chances are your room won’t be that big, and having too much will just make it look cluttered. Be realistic about what you’ll actually use and what you actually need.
3. Decide beforehand how you’re splitting bills
Whether you’re putting them all in one person’s name or splitting each of them up, it’s important that everyone knows how you’re paying, when they’re due, and how much they cost. My housemates and I have a calendar on the fridge with all the due dates so we don’t forget to pay them on time.
4. Coordinate schedules to make driving easier
There is nowhere to park on Miami’s campus, so my housemates and I set up a system of who is driving and dropping off and when. It’s made getting to class so much easier and reduced a lot of stress (and saved a lot of money).
5. Save money for groceries!
It sounds stupid, but this is not something I planned for very well. I try to cook a lot at home so I don’t spend money on campus, but I also didn’t anticipate how quickly food goes or how costly it is. I’ve found that meal planning and only buying what’s on my list has helped a lot – and it’s a good way to make sure you’re eating right!