Living off-campus can drastically change your university experience. You can share expenses with a friend and get a more conveniently-located living space. If you have a job, a private apartment will make your life easier. Above all, there are no distractions, so you can study in peace. Transitioning to off-campus living requires organization, diplomacy, and compromise. It can be difficult to achieve, particularly if stress levels are high. But you have to make an effort. Here are a few tips that might be helpful to you.
Decide What Housing Option Is Best for You
The possibilities are (almost) endless when it comes to off-campus housing. However, this variety in the market can be confusing if you’re a newbie. The most popular choices among students are private rented houses and rooms. The property is owned by a landlord and leased, and it’s typically located in a neighborhood with a high concentration of students. You’ll be further away from campus, but the area is served by good transport links, not to mention shops, bars, and food outlets. It’s recommended to get the tenancy agreement and read it carefully before signing.
When To Start Looking?
Accommodation is variable, with room prices to match, so university doesn’t need to be an expensive business. Start searching for off-campus housing ahead of time to give yourself enough time to compare price points and amenities. Decide what things are a deal breaker and what things you’re willing to compromise on. When you should start looking for student accommodation depends on where you are in the country. If you’re in Newcastle, start your house hunting as soon as possible. Most letting agents will release the details of their properties for rent towards the end of October to the beginning of November. So, keep up with the latest property news.
Arrange for a property viewing. If you’re in a larger group, take photos to show those who can’t be present. Inspect the property and make sure there are no problems. Be wary of mold and pests. If there’s mold in the home, you’ll sense a rotten smell or have an asthma flare-up. Don’t forget to check the appliances. Everything that comes with the property, including the washing machine, fridge, and dishwasher, should be in perfect working condition. If they’re not, ask the landlord to replace them.
Pick Your Housemate(S)
Chances are you don’t want to live solo. So, decide if you want a housemate or you’d like to share the space with several people to cut down on costs. If you have some people in mind, don’t wait any longer and start the conversation. If you want to avoid face-to-face conversation, ask them via WhatsApp. You and your housemate don’t need to be copies of each other, yet it’s important that your temperaments match. If you don’t like excitement, parties, or too much socializing, you won’t enjoy having to live with someone who spends more time getting drunk than studying.
You’ll want a housemate that pitches in with the household chores. Some people like to take care of their weekly tasks at their convenience. If you’re not okay with that, you should let your housemate know. Don’t be resentful or do more than your fair share. Living with someone makes your residents feel less like a home and more like a battleground. Discuss how you’ll address money problems before signing the lease. Talk about rent and the other expenses you’ll share. For utilities like phone and cable, decide whose name will be on the accounts.
Understand What You Can Afford to Pay
Your parents will contribute financially to your expenses. Most of your income will go towards your rent. Other notable expenses are the security deposit and utilities, such as gas, electricity, water, and internet. Creating a budget helps you track spending and take control of your finances. It’s advisable to get a job. If you can effectively schedule your day, your studies won’t be affected. In the UK, you’re allowed to work, but only part-time. That being said, there are many offers and opportunities for students. How many hours you’re allowed to work depends on the type of course you’re attending.
Learn To Grocery Shop and Cook for Yourself
When you live off-campus, you have to shop and cook for yourself. Grocery shopping isn’t complicated at all. Make a list of what you like to eat and figure out how much time you can allocate to cooking. After all, you’re busy with classwork, extracurricular activities, and maybe working part-time. Look up recipes on the internet and find grocery stores that work best for you. Don’t use plastic bags. You’re better off using reusable bags; you’ll save money and the planet. Meat is going to be the most expensive thing on your shopping list. Change your diet up a notch and eat more veggies.
Keep Up with Rent and Responsibilities
Although you’ll have more freedom living off-campus, you have to be more conscientious about rent and other responsibilities. Don’t spend more than you can afford. As a university student, you have to save money whenever you can. Only buy new textbooks if they’re really good for what you’re studying. Otherwise, you’ll be fine with used books. Just don’t get distracted when you see notes or highlighted text. Here’s an idea: Why don’t you rent your textbooks? You can save up to 70% of the cost of studying by renting your textbooks. You’ll be emailed reminders before they’re due for return.
Take advantage of student discounts. You can get discounts on everything from train fares to pizza delivery. Several brands out there offer student discounts to grow their business audience and give back. If you want to save more money, start clipping coupons. It’s still possible to clip coupons out of a magazine or newspaper. However, there are fewer options available these days, as couponing has moved online. If you do couponing the right way, you can save a lot when it comes to food, toiletries, and more. You’ll pay for just a fraction of the normal cost.