M is for money

Money is the main factor for many when choosing housing. Living with friends makes apartment living more cost effective. After finding roommates, choosing housing and getting ready for a new place, you have to figure out how to pay for it all.

Roommates can simplify or complicate the issue. The financial benefits of roommates include sharing of utilities, use of their possessions (TV, game systems, kitchen utensils) and buying food in bulk.

One way that I ease the pain of paying the bills is taking turns paying rent and utilities with my roommates. Every fourth month I pay the full rent check. I save on checks and the experience of paying a large sum infrequently is similar to writing a paper single spaced then double spacing it before turning it in.

With multiple roommates, fixed cost utilities, such as Internet and cable, become much more affordable and upgrading to DVR, HD, premium channels and faster Internet speeds is feasible. “Entourage” fans, rent a house with your friends and rejoice at affordable HBO.

When picking a place for housing, there are many variables that control the prices: location, size and condition. Other things that you may over look are availability of a washer/dryer, storage space (closets, cabinets and drawers) and furniture.

After being restricted by dining hall plans while in residence halls, apartment life liberates your meal options.

You could choose to spend two dollars a day eating oatmeal and potatoes or $20 eating out for every meal. Cooking meals, not microwaving TV dinners, will be better for you and save you money.

Because apartment living is short term, investing in expensive furniture may not be the best idea. The cheapest option is to garbage pick as soon as you move in. The second, less disgusting, option is to visit the Champaign resale shops: Salvation Army (two locations: 2212 N. Market St. and 109 W. John St.), Goodwill (1102 N. Prospect Ave.) and the Habitat for Humanity Reshop (119 E. University Ave.) When attempting to save on furniture, it’s the journey not the destination.

Ned Mulka is a junior in FAA.