Now that it’s October and students are fully immersed in the school year, it’s around the time when many people start looking and signing up for off-campus housing. Though it can be nerve-wracking, off-campus life can be more enjoyable and less expensive than living in a dorm. But moving away from the dorms requires some new equipment. Overall, the best way to transition smoothly from on- to off-campus life is to treat your place like a home away from home. With these five tips, not only will you be fully adjusted to off-campus life, but your house or apartment will feel like its truly yours.

1. Groceries

Since there will no longer be a dining hall 50 feet away from your room, you will have to find the optimal grocery store to shop at. When done right, grocery shopping will result in minimal pay for the maximum amount of food. The foods you will need can fall into four categories: protein, produce, carbs and snacks. Proteins include eggs, fish, meat and nuts. These tend to be the most expensive but will give your meals variety and give you the most energy. Produce and carbs are all relatively inexpensive, but are key components to being able to cook diversely. Lastly, everyone needs their snacks. Allow yourself a budget that factors your guilty pleasures in so your grocery shopping trips are sufficient. Some of the most affordable places to do your grocery shopping in the area are Aldi, Price Chopper and Walmart.

2. Commuter Meal Plan

Although it is not a necessity, the commuter meal plan is a worthwhile investment. There are going to be days when you do not have breakfast at home or are unable to pack a lunch. The commuter meal plan comes in handy as your schedule picks up and you lack time for cooking. Commuter meal plans are also convenient when you spend a long time on campus. Starting your day early and ending it late could make for more frequent usage of the commuter meal plan than you think.

3. Cookware

It’s no surprise that most things that you will need when you move off campus are food related. However, lack of easy access to food is one of the biggest downfalls of off-campus life. Pots and pans are necessary for cooking, and reusable silverware, plates and bowls are all eco-friendly and cost-efficient. All these items can be found at Target or Walmart for relatively low prices.

4. Cleaning Supplies

Because you will be living in a much larger space, enough cleaning products for an entire apartment or house are now a necessity. For many, this will be your first time having your own kitchen and bathrooms, two rooms that require extra attention when cleaning. The same supplies that you find in your home are the ones you should have for your home at school. You should also clean your house as frequently as you do back home — that is, if you want that security deposit back.

5. Medicine

Just like every home has cleaning supplies, every home has a medicine stash. This includes allergy, cough, cold, general sickness and sleep medicines. Dayquil, Nyquil, Benadryl, Robitussin and Emergen-C are some of the medicines that are reliable for most minor illnesses. If your sickness requires more than any of these and a good night’s rests, you should probably take a trip to United Health Services (UHS). So, make sure that you have the necessary medicine in your cabinet and remember to bring your insurance card with you to school.