1. Divide and conquer. In order to save as much money as possible, make a checklist of everything you need for your room. Rank the items from most to least expensive. Ask yourself twice if you really need the most expensive things on the list (for example, do you really watch TV enough to need one in your room, or is the TV in your dorm’s common room enough? Or, can you get away with using the TV across the hall in your friends’ room?). When you finalize your list, divvy up the items fairly so that no one is saddled with an unfair amount of costs.
2. Recycle. Keep all your cans and bottles and make a trip, say, once every other week to recycle them. That way, you’ll have a little extra change in your pocket. For sure, don’t underestimate the power of a little extra change; it can go a long way, especially when you’re looking for a buck or two to pay for that load of laundry, or for that extra cup of coffee when you need to study late into the night.
3. DIY. The more you rely on yourself, the more you’ll be able to cut down on costs, guaranteed. For example, instead of going to your campus store or nearby coffee shop to buy coffee, invest in a home coffee maker and brew your own at home. Your wallet will thank you later.
4. Sell, sell, sell. If you accumulate some items that you find out you don’t actually need, or if you’re moving out of your room at the end of the year and packing that futon into the car will prove a burden, then don’t just chuck it into the dumpster. Instead, put your extras on Craigslist and see if anyone’s interested in buying. Or better yet see if any of your friends are interested in buying some stuff off you. No doubt–it’s an easy, convenient way to make some cash.
5. Start planning for the future…now. If you get along with your roommate and want to continue rooming together, then consider all of your options now. Would it be cheaper to live off-campus? If so, do you need to find more roommates to cut down on rent and living expenses? Are there different kinds or cheaper housing available on campus? Do the research now so you don’t have to make a costly decision at the last minute.