Budgeting tips for your student’s moving out journey

When a student ventures into the adult world on their own, it can be quite daunting. Possibly for the first time in their lives, they have to take care of their financial needs; expenses like rent, groceries, utilities, and transport. However, with the right guidance, your student will be able to easily transition to living on their own.

With essential tips to help you navigate everything from basic budgeting to finding the perfect place to stay, the entire process will be easier. This advice will help any student manage their basic finances as they start their journey into the “real” world.

Finding a place to live

The first step is finding a place to live that is affordable, liveable, and convenient. This is probably the biggest single expense to consider and it will greatly affect the rest of the budget. Ideally, this location should be close to their educational institution to minimise commuting time and costs.

The rule of thumb is that a rental should not cost more than around 30% of the available budget. A great option is finding shared accommodation, or renting a place to stay through estate agents and then taking in a suitable tenant as a roommate. This is a great way to share rental expenses, freeing up some much-needed cash. Other options may be staying in purpose-built student accommodation.

student moving into accommodation

Setting a weekly and monthly budget

Typically a budget should be divided according to the 50/30/20 rule.

  • 50% for necessities (rent, utilities, food, transportation)
  • 30% for wants (“fun” – entertainment, socialising)
  • 20% for debt repayment, savings and emergencies

A basic student budget

You need to add all forms of income, whether these come from grants, student loans, or part-time work. This gives you a base to work from. From there, the budget should be divided into monthly and weekly expenses.

The monthly segment should include:

  • Rental payments (this amount may be divided weekly if requested by the letting services)
  • Utilities
  • Tuition fees
  • Internet and mobile costs
  • Any other bills and subscriptions

The weekly segment should include:

  • Groceries
  • Transport
  • Entertainment

student in her student accommodation

Extra budgeting tips

  • Find someone who is selling pre-owned textbooks. It will save money in the long run.
  • Check the tenancy agreement to see if the student can take on roommates. This means shared rent, which will save money.
  • Look for properties within walking distance of the education facility.
  • Build an emergency fund. Things tend to happen when you least expect them!
  • It is more affordable to cook at home instead of eating takeaways.
  • Calculate transport costs and add in a bit extra if possible.
  • It is the student’s legal obligation to ensure that rent is paid to the letting agent on time. If there are rent arrears, this could incur interest, which would hurt the budget.

When setting up a budget for the initial move, remember to include all extras like moving costs, deposits, furniture, and appliances. A student may be moving into an empty apartment with nothing to start. They may need some basic cutlery, plates, and cups, as well as some toiletries just to get them started.

It is also crucial to keep records of all expenses. This can be done on a spreadsheet, or through a budgeting app. Keeping track of expenses will be helpful if you need to adjust the budget along the way.

Explore any financial aid and assistance options

Many education facilities offer financial assistance to help students. Applying for financial aid could help offset general expenses, making your budget go further. Apply for grants or scholarships, or look for opportunities that allow students to work and study simultaneously. You can also look for private business services that offer scholarships.

Start packing

It is exciting when it is time to start packing! However, you first need to make sure that you have made arrangements with the letting agents to collect keys for the property.

Also, check that all water and gas services are activated in the house and that all certifications are up to date, as this is part of the legal obligations of your landlord.

Moving out into the “real” world is both exciting and scary for young adults. However, if they follow these basic tips, work within the allotted budget, and seek financial aid where possible, they will be able to control their own finances before long. By preparing your student and offering some ongoing support where necessary, they will be able to embark on the next stage of their journey with confidence.

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