Living away from campus is a very different experience from living in student halls. If you’ve lived in halls, it might be that you’re used to your bills being included in your rent. When you live off-campus, however, you’re usually responsible for sorting out your own utilities.
Student accommodation in Bournemouth might cost you somewhere between £250 and £500 in a house share. If you’re considering living by yourself, however, you can expect a rental property to start at £500 for a one-bed flat or studio.
Obviously, that isn’t a small amount of money for a student, and it will likely take up most of your budget. However, while you might find that your bills aren’t included, that isn’t always the case. And it isn’t something you should take lightly when you’re surviving on student loans.
Which Bills Might I Have to Pay?
This might surprise you, but the bills you’ll receive aren’t that different from those received by a typical tenant. The only one you won’t be expected to pay, in fact, is council tax (although you’ll need to apply for an exemption beforehand).
Of course, no two rental properties are the same. And some landlords will offer to include such utilities as water. So you should be certain which ones you’ll be expected to pay before you officially move. You should allow for the following in your student budget.
Gas and Electricity
The amount you’ll pay here depends on many things, which include the energy supplier and property size. These utilities rank second behind rent in terms of biggest expenses. Of course, you should feel free to shop around by visiting sites such as uSwitch. Just because you live in a rental property, it doesn’t mean that you can’t switch your supplier. Look out for any dual fuel tariffs that enable you to pay for both utilities from a single supplier. They can be more convenient and save you money at the same time.
Unfortunately, this is one bill you can’t shop around for. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost a huge amount; especially if you’re sharing with others. Southern Water says that you can expect to pay from £200 p/a for a 1-bed flat to £400 for a 4-bed house. You can split that cost over a year, with no additional cost, if you choose direct debit as your payment method.
Broadband is essential for all students, with the alternative meaning you’d be tethered to your phone permanently. Broadband provides 24/7 access to the Internet, with the costs and providers varying from one region to the next.
In Bournemouth, you can get access to fiber broadband for around £20 per month. If you’re sharing, however, you should be wary of the length of the contract, as you’ll want to avoid signing up to anything longer than a year. You should also go for unlimited downloads to prevent any disagreements over who has been using up all the monthly allowance.