Living in Atlanta: What I save on and what I splurge on


By: Alessandra Kovac – 2nd Year – Epidemiology

Gas… Sitting in the Atlanta traffic can do wonders to your MPG and I’ve noticed that my gas tank doesn’t last me as long as it once did.  Therefore, I try to be mindful of filling up.  First, I’ve noticed that gas prices in the “city of Atlanta” can be upwards of 20 cents more than Decatur, even though it’s just down the street.  Secondly, shopping at Kroger with my Kroger Plus card saves me money on gas.  With your card, you save 3 cents per gallon any time you fill up, and for every $100 you spend on groceries, you can save 10 cents per gallon.  I usually take advantage of both and fill my gas tank up at the Kroger gas station in Decatur at the end of the money and I end up maximizing my savings!

Food… Food is always my biggest extra expense of the month but I have really gotten into meal prepping and cooking for myself.  Rollins has numerous refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, and toasters for your use.  Therefore, I pack myself breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or snacks (believe me, you will eventually eat one of every meal at school!) and easily heat it up. While lunch hour (12-1pm) can get busy, I’ve never found myself waiting too long at a microwave or not finding a seat. The Rollins Café is a great source for lunch, but it can quickly add up. I usually pack a lunch and supplement with a soup or snack from the café if needed!

Textbooks… Do not purchase your textbooks before going to the first class! I have found that many professors and classes do not “require” textbooks and will put PDFs of the readings on the Canvas page.  I will admit that I do like hard copies of reading, so if I do want to hold the textbook in my hand, I will rent them on Amazon.  Not only is it usually cheaper than purchasing the textbook, I get to send them back after the semester and not have to worry about the books collecting dust after the class is over.


Gym… To be fair, your student activity fees cover the Emory gym and facilities and many apartment complexes around Atlanta have their own gyms. However, I am a big fan of group fitness classes. Emory does offer a “fitness pass” for $30 a semester, but the times of the classes can be inconvenient (only early morning or at early evening) and the variety of classes is limited.  I joined the YMCA and got access to all facilities around the metro Atlanta area. I’ve noticed the machines are updated, the facilities are clean, and there are so many fitness classes and times to choose. The going rate for a “Young Adult” is $37/ month, but they have a great referral program that can save you and a friend 20% every month!

Washer/Dryer… I will admit I did not even think about asking if a washer and dryer were included in the apartment.  Therefore, you can imagine how surprised I was to find out there were connections but no actual machines! I am sure there are shared laundromats around but I splurged on renting a washer and dryer for my apartment and personal use, which puts me back around $35/ month. I know a lot of places will include one, but make sure you ask!

Manicure/ Pedicures… This is definitely one of personal splurges but living in warmer Atlanta means open toed shoes for longer. I have found a great nail salon (At Nails and Spa) right on Briarcliff Road that not only has reasonable prices, but also offers a 15% student discount. This is a great place de-stress from an exam that is convenient to school.

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