When I found out that I actually managed to get to the university of my choice, I was really excited. At last some independence, and moving away from home but I knew I had to learn about the real cost of living on my own for the first time! I didn't want to go into halls so I decided to rent a house with a couple of friends who were also going there. I quickly realised it was going to cost me more than I thought for 'setting up'!
Some of the places were really awful, but we managed to find a house that was in good shape and close enough to the university that we could walk (great for saving on transport costs). Although the rent cost £400 a month each, the landlord needed a six-week deposit in advance. So along with the first month's rent we had to each pay out £1, 000 up front, that took a big chunk out of my savings!
Of course we had to be responsible for our own bills and get them in our name including electricity, TV Licence, internet and a landline phone. Luckily we didn't need to pay council tax because we are all studying full-time, so I called the council to let them know. This helped us save £30 each a month!
Now we're in the house I have set up a simple budget to track the regular bills and expenses and to see how much I have left to spend after all of the necessities. I've also taken up a part-time job to bring in extra cash, so this income goes in my budget too. I am learning how to manage my expenses with the money I earn, and if I stick to my budget I can save a bit of money for going out with my mates!
Research the costs of university accommodation in your area - look on university websites and search for letting agencies that specialise in student housing. What is the cheapest rent you can find and what is the most expensive?