Property guides

Being realistic about what you can afford

Before you can even begin to think about where you want to live it is useful to figure out what you, and anyone you’re planning on sharing with, can afford.

DON’T FORGET: Before moving into your new accommodation a deposit will have to be paid.

A deposit is normally between four and six weeks rent, so if your property was £350pcm, you could expect to pay between £350 and £525 as a deposit.

You can find information on rent, and how to calculate this, in our section on knowing what you can afford and costs to expect, along with information on fees and other expenses you will likely need to cover when securing a property.

JARGON BUSTER: PCM stands for price per calendar month and PW stands for price per week. These acronyms are used to display the rental price for either duration.

Other costs to consider:

When renting a property the monthly rent is unlikely to be your only expense. There will be other costs you should consider in order to calculate how much you and your new housemates can afford each month.

TV licence:

This can be paid either annually or in monthly instalments. If you are renting a property on a group tenancy then you will be liable for only one licence, however sharers with individual agreements will need a license for each occupier that owns and uses a TV. If you’re renting a room in a private hall, you need to check if you need a TV licence for a TV in your living area or bedroom. You’re also required to purchase a TV licence if you watch live streaming via your PC laptop or tablet.

Full TV Licence Fee: £147
Quarterly fee: £37
Monthly fee: £12.25

Utility bills:

These are payable in a number of ways and it is advisable to check with your landlord/letting agent what exactly they require from you (many will ask for proof of payments before returning your deposit).

For essential bills (gas, water and electricity) you can expect to pay about £50-£60 per month
For optional bills (phone, broadband, Wi-Fi) you can expect to pay an additional £10 per month.

Council tax:

Whilst full–time students are exempt from this, part–time students are not. If you are planning on living with part–time students, you will need to take council tax into consideration.

Contents insurance:

This will cover your personal items, such as computer equipment, clothing and valuables and covers you in the event of accidental damage or theft. Definitely something to consider and well worth the money just in case something was to happen.

As a student, you can expect to pay between £50 and £100 for the year.

Further monthly costs to think about when budgeting:


Food can be expensive. Cut down the costs by eating together – it’s a great social activity and it’ll save you money.

You can expect to spend around £50 per week on food.

Travel costs:

If you use the bus or own a car, then these travel costs need to be included in your monthly budget.

Gym membership:

If you’re a student that likes to keep fit and healthy then your gym membership (usually a monthly payment) is something else to consider.

Student gym memberships are generally cheaper, so you can expect to pay around £15 per month.

Mobile phone bill:

Generally, most students will have a mobile phone contract as opposed to pay as you go, but both require frequent payments that will need to be considered in your monthly expenses.

Phone contract prices can vary based on the package, so you can expect to pay anything between £15 and £50.

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