How to Afford Student Accommodation
31st January 2020
Before you even start to look at houses, the first thing you should do is sit down and go through your budget. Look at how much you will receive in student loans, as well as any other income you receive, and plan out how much you will be able to afford per month. This will give you a better idea of what price ranges to look at when searching for housing.
Don’t forget to factor in house bills (gas, electric, water, TV, broadband, etc) as well as any personal bills you may have (phone contract, car insurance) - these things can all add up when budgeting.
When setting out a budget, this is a good time to go through and set your priorities when it comes to your finances. When renting, your priority should generally be paying for your rent and bills first, so going through your current finances can force you to look at things you may be able to do without or things you could cut back on in order to afford your student housing.
Part Time Jobs
If you find that your student loan just won’t quite stretch enough to pay for student housing, or that you’re left with very little - if anything - after paying for student housing and bills, you may want to consider also looking for a part time job.
There are plenty of part time jobs, especially in student areas, that you can fit around uni. Type up a CV and take it around to the bars, cafes, and shops in the local areas - but be quick as everyone else is probably doing the exact same thing.
The location of the house can have a considerable impact on the price you pay for your housing, so be sure to look at houses in various locations within the area you will be living in. The rule of thumb is usually that, the closer you are to the city centre, the more you will pay in rent. So, look at the areas a little bit further out and you’ll probably find that these are much more affordable, and are more than likely to have excellent transport links, so it would still be just as easy for you to get to campus.
Although there is the option to live in a private studio flat, you will end up paying a lot more for the privilege. Moving into a house with several other students is much more cost effective (and usually more fun); the more people sharing a house, the cheaper it could work out for each of you. So, speak to your friends or fellow students and discuss options of moving into student housing together, or you can rent a room in a student house with new people (you always have the option of meeting the students prior to moving in if you’re unsure).
Also, take into consideration the room types. If you have a room with an en-suite you will likely pay more than you would if you were to share a bathroom.
When moving into any rental property you will be required to pay a deposit, which you should get back at the end of your tenancy as long as there is no damage to the property, and you have paid all your utility bills.
Deposits may vary between letting agents/landlords, or dependant on the property you’re moving into. So, always check this with the letting agents and make sure you have this money set aside before signing anything, as you will be required to pay this straight away to secure the property.
Some letting agents will offer all-inclusive packages, to bundle all of your bills and your rent into one monthly payment. This means you don’t have to worry about setting up individual bills for such as gas, electricity, broadband, etc.
If this is offered, carry out a quick check online to make sure this is the cheaper option. Although it seems like the easier option, it may actually end up working out more expensive than if you were to do this yourself.
The Money Supermarket is a quick way of comparing prices on things like energy and broadband prices.