A guide to independent living
Moving out from home and into university brings lots of new and exciting experiences. For many, moving away to university will be the first experience of living independently. This blog looks to highlight things to consider and be aware of when living independently.
Food and nutrition: Gone are the days of having a hot meal cooked for you every night that you can simply turn up and eat. The onus is now on you and this takes a bit of planning. Prior to arriving at university, it may be a good idea to try and feed yourself for a week. This will give you practice of both cooking and being responsible in the kitchen, whilst still having support nearby. It is worth thinking about what meals you would like to cook at university before you actually arrive. This gives you the chance to get recipes together and practice them first. Meals that can be cooked in bulk such as chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognese are good as they can be enjoyed on the night but also frozen for a quick and easy meal in the future. Make sure you balance your meals and nutrition too, don’t just rely on the convenience of fast food. This gets unhealthy and expensive very quickly!
Rent and council tax: Unsurprisingly rent will vary between properties. Whereas a change in rent price is justifiable in some cases, be aware that some landlords look to rip students off. Make sure to view the property and if you’re not sure on a property, you can always approach the university accommodation office and gain their opinion first. Make sure you are aware as to what is included with your rent, in terms of bills being included or not. As a student you are also exempt from paying council tax. An exemption can achieved through contacting the council or again by seeking help through the accommodation office. It’s always best to ask for help and support before making a decision you’ll live to regret.
Bills and Utilities: For some, the realisation that gas, electric and water don’t come free can be a shock. Although included in the overhead costs for some halls of residence and in the rent of some student housing, it is cheapest to organise these bills yourself. Bills can be a pain, but take time to make sure you are on the cheapest or best tariff options for you. Be aware that cancelling out of a contract early incurs a fine and that bills are only charged to one account so make sure you trust those that you live with to pay you. Don’t just ignore the situation if no bills turn up, it’s your responsibility to organise this. The cost will be greater if you’re using a utility for a sustained period and not paying for it!
Living independently is an exciting and fun experience. So long as you give consideration to decisions and apply general common sense, then you’ll be sure to get on great.