When deciding on your second year accommodation, you will be choosing between living solo or sharing accommodation with friends. You can either opt for jointly renting a house or a flat, or choose one of the many private halls setup specifically for students. While initially your focus should be on finding suitable properties and then choosing one depending on your needs and plans, you should not forget that the monthly rent will not be your only expense.
Private halls are convenient in terms of the services they provide, because everything is included in the rent agreement and you pay one bill, inclusive of all charges. However, if you are going to be sharing a house or a flat with friends, you should take several expenses into consideration.
You are going to need a Television license (on a monthly or yearly basis) in order to own and use a television at your residence. In a group tenancy, only one license is required, but if every tenant has a separate agreement, separate television licenses will also be needed. Similarly, if you are living at a private hall, you will probably need a license in order to set up a television in your own room.
Moreover, you cannot do without broadband internet, which is essential for your studies and for keeping in touch with friends and family. Different internet providers have different packages but you can usually save money by opting for a bundle package which includes internet and digital television.
Insurance is also something you should look into. If you are going to be renting a property, it is prudent to get contents insurance, which covers any loss of personal property or possessions from your residence. Furthermore, part-time students may be liable to pay tax, as per local laws. If you or any of your housemates work alongside studies, you will need to look into local tax laws as well.
Food expenses are quite obvious, and can amount to a lot if everyone has peculiar eating habits. Instead of you or each of your housemates making their own food, it is much more practical and economical to cook collectively for everyone and taking joint meals. Utility bills are also like food expenses, they are inescapable. The most you can do is conserve power by using the lounge or a large room for group activities rather than putting a television in every room.
Affording a cleaner to look after your property can be very expensive. If you and your friends can afford to hire help, you can go ahead with it, but if you need to save money, it is better to divide housework equally between all tenants and alternate between the assignments every week. Managing your expenses is key here – you should look to find a balance between necessities and luxuries.