With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the world, and with almost everyone in lockdown, it’s hard to think about the future. Yet, it’s important to remember that, at some point, we will come out of this. For many students, it’s time to start thinking about student accommodation for the upcoming academic year.
So much of university life is influenced by your choice in accommodation, so it’s important to get it right, and within budget. To give you a hand, we’ve put together our top tips on saving money on your student accommodation.
Where you choose to live in your city will play a big factor on how expensive your student accommodation is. City centres are naturally on the pricier side, but most of the time surrounding areas are much cheaper, and even more popular among students.
For example, Sheffield plays host to around 60,000 students every year, and although the city centre is a hotspot, Ecclesall and Broomhall are just as popular. These areas are better suited to the student lifestyle and are a lot cheaper when it comes to accommodation. Likewise, Bristol plays host to one of the top-ranked universities in the UK, and although the city centre is always popular, Redland is a very well-known and famous student district in the city.
It all depends on what kind of area you want to live in, but it’s important to remember that some of the student villages in the city will often be hugely popular. They’ll be full of bars, restaurants, and cafes, so they’ll always be plenty to do. As a general rule of thumb, the further away an area is from the city centre, the cheaper student houses will be (but don’t forget to account for travel costs!).
An easy way to save money is to split your costs with your housemates. This can be with subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify Family, or with something as substantial as your bills. It’s often cheaper to go for larger packages and share the cost equally, rather than paying for things individually.
Having an all-inclusive setup with your bills can pay dividends, and not just in terms of saving money. Having someone to sort your utilities for you can completely wipe out the stress of sorting them yourself, nevermind trying to organise the payments every month with your housemates. Having a set amount coming out each month means you can properly budget your remaining income, without any nasty payment surprises.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own furniture as a student, kitting out your accommodation with your own stuff will make it seem much more homely. But don’t underestimate the benefit of moving into a fully furnished property. If you don’t have any furniture to take with you, moving to an unfurnished property can cost a fortune when it comes to finding new décor to pad out your house with.
Although you might think a bigger house means higher rent, it’s usually the opposite. The more people you share with, the cheaper things are likely to be. Some student houses go as big as eight or nine-beds, which usually lowers the cost of the rooms. However, with a bigger house, you have to consider the drawbacks; less space in communal areas, more people to clean up after, and more people to share a bathroom with.
Living with more people is probably the easiest way to lower your rent and utility bills, but it can come with a different price. So, make sure you think things through and especially who you live with, before signing for a property.
Some letting agents offer a reduced rent during the summer, which will save you hundreds in the long run. As students usually aren’t in their accommodation during the warmer months, agents are willing to do as much as half the rent of the property.
Obviously, a major drawback of this is that you can’t live at the property while paying cheaper rent prices, but if you’re planning on moving home anyway, it’s a great compromise. Try searching for student accommodation that offers summer rent, or ask your letting agent if they have something like this available.
Student houses are often converted terraced or Victorian-style homes, meaning one or two bedrooms are repurposed. These rooms are usually smaller, and some landlords offer these out for a cheaper rent than the other bedrooms in the property.
This reduced rent can often be a touchy subject between students who don’t want to settle for a small living space. But, if you’re happy to opt for a smaller room, you’re likely to save hundreds over the course of your tenancy (plus, your housemates will be glad they can have the bigger ones).
There are a bunch of smalls ways that you can save loads of rent when living in student accommodation. As a general rule, it’s good to take your time when signing for a home, and to be flexible with your requirements. At the end of the day, as long as you’re living with your best mates, you’re bound to have an amazing time.
Edward is a journalism graduate and writer from Sheffield. Working for UniHomes he writes about everything ‘student’. The challenges, the tips and any kind of advice on University living!
Student time really teaches me how to save money as well as how to treat money sparingly. If I can save on buying something, I take this opportunity. I've temporarily canceled my subscriptions for services - even for apple music. I cook myself instead of eating in the dining room or cafe and not buying new things. And I' m okay with that.
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