Cost of Living in Atlanta: Making it Work

By: Tamsin Smith – Epidemiology

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into Rollins. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding where to go to graduate school. You will be making a home in a new place—cost of living is a major question. Is there affordable housing? How will you avoid spending your entire budget on food? Is there anything to do that doesn’t involve spending money? In Atlanta, the answer to all those questions is yes!

The housing search
Visit Atlanta and you will see housing all around! But is it affordable? Yes, it is easy to find a place within budget. You can start by looking at Emory’s Off Campus Housing Search site. You can refine your search by budget, location, and many more options. Your admitted students Facebook page is also a good place to start. You can find a roommate—or a few to share a house with! If you are willing to live with a larger group of people, there are many houses close to campus. My roommate and I used Apartments.com to find a cute complex in Decatur. Emory has free shuttle routes that you can use if you want to look further from campus.

Food
Atlanta has a multitude of wonderful restaurants and places to eat. I suggest checking them out! But for the day-to-day, you need a good place to get affordable, healthful food. Kroger is an Atlanta staple—I find great sales on specialty products there. Aldi’s is a go-to for weekly shopping: this grocery store chain has consistently some of the best prices for pantry staples. It’s important to get your veggies in! Sprouts, City Farmer’s Market, and Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market all have great deals on produce. Bulk shopping is a great way to save money on food, and there are options all around! I use the bins at Sprouts often to fill up on oats, rice, beans, and dried fruit.

Outside of class
There is so much you can do in the area, all while staying under a budget. Rollins has a very active student life; there are events during lunch most of the week. In the wider Emory community, there are so many amazing guest speakers who come. I frequently fill my free evenings with lectures across campus. Bonus: a lot of these events also have free food!

Time for fun
During the weekends, I take the chance to get outside. There are many in the area: Piedmont Park, Woodruff Park, the Jimmy Carter gardens, the Centennial Olympic Park, and more! We are also surrounded by national parks and hiking trails. The Atlanta Beltline is a fun place to walk or bike. If you have a car, I highly suggest taking a day trip to one. Admission is usually free or a small parking fee, which you can split in a group of friends. For indoors, there are museums and exhibits that offer reduced rates for students. I use the Facebook events tab to find if there are any special events going on with free admission.