Cheap Student Living

This cheap student living page assists college and university students to live cheaply and to start a home business at the same time. If you imagine this to sound crazy, then just consider the success of Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computer.  He started Dell while a student living in a dormitory at The University of Texas at Austin.

There are 7 categories of items that  we all have to spend money on. The 7 categories are housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, health, and savings. To these 7 categories you can consider adding the additional expense of frugally starting a business. Prepare yourself to adapt to inexpensive living with each of these spending categories.

Cheap Student Living - Housing

There are several living arrangements that we have available as students. You can live in a dorm, either a school or a private dorm.  You can live in an apartment or in a house. It is usually cheaper to live in a group than as a single regardless of the type of housing.  That way you can divide up the rent and other expenses.  

Another housing arrangement is to lodge at your parents or relatives’ home. This can be a real savings, especially when all residents are compatible. But your school has to be accessible from this home. 

Cheap Student Living - Food

One advantage of living in a dormitory is that a meal plan is included, so you don’t have to concern yourself with food preparation. In a group setting you can take turns cooking. 

If you end up cooking, it is easier to eat simply. Cooking takes some time out of your busy day. You could eat a cold breakfast, buy lunch and then eat a cooked dinner. 

You can cook your own food. Get a cook book or look up recipes online. You will have to grocery-shop for the food items you cook.  You can make a list based on planning several meals, or just have a supply of staple foods. 


As a student you may be relying on parents or relatives to give you clothing as gifts. But be sure to let them know what you need. You may be able to ask your relatives and maybe friends for cast-offs. You can also look at thrift stores, such as Salvation Army, and discount stores such as Target or Walmart for new clothing.


Riding a bicycle is the principle way I have used to get to and from campus as a student. In rainy or very cold weather I sometimes used an auto instead. Many universities provide shuttle busses and other transportation, so you don’t have to be concerned about buying and maintaining a vehicle.

When you are operating a business, a vehicle may be necessary for obtaining inventory or supplies, shipping, or other trips.

Cheap Student Living - Entertainment

All sorts of entertainment is usually available on campus or near campus. This includes student union-sponsored activities, plays, concerts and movies, and just plain old television in lounges. There are museums and school department presentations.  Courses and lectures that are different from one’s required courses may be a great source of diversion and enjoyment.


You must take care of your health. This includes eating nutritious food and getting some regular exercise. 

Fitness equipment and facilities are often available for free at schools. Seek them out. This is also a good way to network and gain friends. Health insurance for students is relatively inexpensive.  You need to have this type of protection to cover the medical uncertainties of life.

Cheap Student Living - Savings

As a student you may have funds coming from parents, student loans, a scholarship, and other sources. You may also find easily available student employment. So why save? 

Savings can allow you the freedom to buy a business, prepare for emergencies, live more confidently, ot maybe pay for that spring break at the beach. Saving a portion of your income can give you more freedom.

Plan to begin saving a small amount each week or month, to develop this habit. Start a bank or brokerage account that allows you to save. If you do have a job, plan to put an amount into this account when you deposit or cash your paycheck.

Cheap Student Living – Home Business

For help getting a business started while in school go to Starting a Business from Home. This page has links to several pages of lists and suggestions for coming up with your ideal business to start.


More frugal living information is on this site. Check Guide To Living Cheap and Frugal Living Ideas.