Ready to start living the dream? Bags packet, train/plane booked? Prepared to go out every-single- night? Awesome. Now, let's go back to reality. I need to tell you that sharing a home with strangers (and even friends) isn't a walk in the park. It is in fact a quite complicated affaire. But with the help of someone who's done that for 7 years, you are in safe hands. You're welcome!
1. Math is an opinion, it's a science
No, I'm not going crazy and I'm not trying to teach you some basic maths, you are going to uni for that! But follow me for a second: if 100£:5=20£, it's also true that 5people * 5 minutes =25 mins is > than 3 people * 5 minutes =15 minutes. Meaning? The less people live in a household, the lower your bills will be. So, the trick here is to find the right amount of people to live in a shared house. And hopefully that those people you live with are also great with short showers. Remember also that there are some legal rules about how many people can live in any property.
2. Choose your location carefully + Get Cycling
You might have found the perfect house but you work/study right at the other side of London. You already know how expensive public transports are, so you may want to forget about that perfect house and start carefully plan house hunting around your Uni / work area. In this way, you can save money a lot of money. Another great idea is to avoid all public transports - whenever possible - and get your bum on bike.
3. Make and respect rules
Unless you have no money problem whatsoever, you might want to implement (and respect) some shared rules.
Examples of this are:
- when the heating can be on: bear in mind that keeping your heating at minimum rather than switching on and off every day has a negative impact on your bill
- set a 5-minutes shower limit so that there is enough water for everyone AND you'll all end up saving money.
Need some convincing? Show your flatmates how much energy costs so they can have a clearer idea of how to save money.
4. Do you really need to watch TV ?
Not sure about you, but I haven't watched TV for the past 10 years, and guess what? I'm alive!! Sure, I watch Netflix and the news, god bless the Internet, but you can definitely survive without a TV and save on your TV Licence (one per shared household).
By the way, if you’re renting rooms separately, a £150 licence will be required for each room. And if you get caught without one, the £1,000 fine will kill all your holidays plans.
5. Choose your flatmates carefully
Did you know that full-time students are exempt from paying council tax? You'll need to give the council evidence of you being a student to get your exemption. But then you'll live council tax-free forever....no, only joking! Well, you won't pay any council tax until you start working and/or leave uni.
Note: part-time students don't get council exemption, but they'll get a discount.
6. Shop and Eat together
I know, I know. You're probably super excited about living your mum healthy dishes behind and move to junk food. Great. But remember, sharing is saving. Especially when we talk about food shopping and cooking.
In fact, you can save loads of money by simply chipping in all together and buying bulk food. For example, if you and your flatmates buy food together, you should always opt for the family packs vs the mono-dose. Oh and you don't have to all go to the supermarket: welcome to the future where you can order online and get your food delivered right at your home.
Plus, eating together even one or two nights a week, can be the perfect opportunity to get to know your new mates and spend some quality time together. Oh! And if you need some inspiration or if you need some easy recipes read this article.
7. Loyalty cards
Many supermarkets and shops have loyalty cards. In this way they are sure you'll go back and this also allows you to collect loyalty points which often means special discounts. Other times you get points you can collect and then use to pay for your groceries.
8. Buy second hand
Of course you are an environment activist, if you are not, you should really become one. And buying second hand, not only helps the planet to reduce its trash, but it helps you to save a lot of money. For example, you could opt for pre-owned iPhone if you don't have enough cash in hand right now. Or you could do some cool vintage shopping with your BFF instead of fast-fashion-no-lasting-more-than-two-weeks shopping. And if you are looking for great piece of furniture for you new home, look around. People often leave theirs out of their homes. I've found some incredible pieces which I then fixed and painted and looked like brand new.
Still looking for the right apartment in London? Look no further, here's our favourites of the week.