Managing your money is probably one of the biggest steps for students and this is crucial to making sure that you have a good renting experience. Key to this is your monthly budgeting and making sure that you understand what’s affordable for you and what isn’t.
What’s your income?
The first step for establishing affordability is working out what income you have. You may be receiving money from your parents, you might have a loan, you might be planning to get a job – perhaps you’re going to opt for a combination of all these. Try to establish an approximate monthly income from these sources and then work out what 30% of that income is – it’s the general rule of thumb that you should spend no more of 30% of your income on rent.
This starts at the point at which you’re viewing properties. We all want the best that we can get for our money but stretching your budget to breaking point so that you can have a flash student house is a bad idea. You will either spend the whole time sitting in it because you can’t afford to go out or you’ll have to work to pay the rent instead of focusing on your studies. Choose a monthly rent that works within that 30% amount.
Once you know what your income is and what the allocation for rent will be, learn to manage the rest of your money too so that you never find yourself without enough to meet your financial requirements. Budgeting for the first time is hard – it’s not interesting or exciting and less thrilling than going mad in the shops. However, it’s key to managing your money and it’s actually very simple. Work out your monthly outgoings and then deduct them from your income – what’s left is what you have for everything from beer money to sports club subsidies.
Additional costs to consider
It’s often the hidden costs that will catch you out when it comes to budgeting and when you’re renting there can be plenty. At the start of your tenancy there will be the deposit to pay, fees for the check in inventory, perhaps a holding fee for the property and any agents fees. You will need insurance if you’re renting, as break ins are often high in student areas, and remember to factor in an amount for your monthly bills – household bills such as gas and personal bills such as your mobile phone. You may want to pay for a cleaner for your student house, you will need to fund transport to and from your classes and you will also need to factor in a weekly amount for food and for socialising. Clothing, shoes and toiletries should also feature on your list and you may want to include other costs, such as gym memberships, books and study supplies.