Securing accommodation is one of the first steps when heading off to university, but it’s also one of the most expensive. That’s not to say that finding somewhere to live has to break the bank, however. There are indeed several ways to cut costs and assist in a more frugal way of life, whether your goal is to minimise student debt or to increase your disposable income.
It’s a small world these days, and with the power of social media at our fingertips, we have access to a vast network of contacts. It’s well worth reaching out to see if there are any ‘friend of a friend’ types with accommodation who may be willing to negotiate some mates’ rates. This more personal approach can often result in finding a landlord you know and trust and can also work out considerably cheaper than opting for standard accommodation through the university itself.
The ideals of freedom and independence can draw many towards living alone, but this is very costly. With the full hit of every bill and expense falling to you alone, you can quickly feel overwhelmed by the reality of the finances. If you opt for a flat share with several others instead, these outgoings can be split evenly – including everything from utilities, rent and insurance, to broadband, a TV licence and food. The simple act of spreading the cost of living can reduce financial pressure drastically.
Rent a room
If you aren’t too fussy about having lots of space, and simply want somewhere to crash at the end of each day, renting a room could be a great option. Lots of people with houses and flats in popular university towns look to take in lodgers as a means of drumming up a bit of extra cash. Rent costs will be a lot less than if you were securing a whole flat, and being a more short-term solution, you won’t feel tied down beyond the time of your study, keeping your options open for the future.
Be an RA
A Resident Assistant (RA) is a student in their later years of study who acts as a first port of call for new students seeking guidance, be it related to their uni or their accommodation. You’ll have to be on hand to advise or help them if they have any issues and can sometimes be called upon to organise events and suchlike for the residents. The great news is that RAs generally get to live in the designated student accommodation rent free.
Live at home
Applying to a local university and remaining at the family home throughout your degree may not play into the idyll of spreading your wings, but it’s certainly a great money saving option. With none of the upheaval of relocating or sorting out bills and paperwork – and most parents expecting little or no rent money – it’s easy to see why many delay flying the nest until they’re qualified and ready to start earning full-time.