Tuesday, 15 August 2017

How to manage life in a student house

Viewing, packing, moving in, and decorating sounds like the most exhilarating thing, right? You're either prepared to start a new chapter of your life, or all hyped up for your second or third freshers, and hanging out with your mates all over again. It's such an exciting time of the year, but it's worth taking a minute to consider how you're going to manage your independence over the next year.

Those bills don't solve themselves
Unfortunate but true – the money involved in the rent isn't the only money you'll need to fork out. By keeping track of what you each owe per week or per month, it'll be so much easier when it comes to paying your letting agents. Keep emergency numbers, previous payments, and any necessary details together, somewhere all housemates can access. If someone has to file through every bit of discarded paper on top of the fridge to find out who to contact, or can't find necessary numbers because they're locked in Jonny's room, it can be a nightmare.

Force yourself to love cleaning
From experience, telling yourself everything will be OK for another week is a recipe for disaster. Get a grip and get your hands dirty! The more disgusting it gets, the less you'll want to clean, so start while it's acceptable and keep it constant. Don't let your lazy flatmates get away with it as everyone has to be held accountable – especially if you're facing potential fines or don't want your landlord to hate you if you ask for a lease renewal later.

Bin duty
Don't be that person who forces food into a bin that's already struggling – if everyone adopts this habit, it'll never get sorted out. If you see a full bin, accept your fate, sort it out, and hope others follow suit, either out of guilt or genuine responsibility. Recycle when you can, whether it's because you're passionate or it's trendy to be environmentally conscious. Your local council is apparently amazing at advising students on new living, so get in touch with any questions, even if they're minor.

Realising even food can be an issue
It's so hard to work out how much or little food you need, especially when you might have nights where you cook as a group, get a takeaway, or eat out. Piling things up that won't get used in time is what makes student areas look so grim on rubbish collection days, and the amount of food waste is a seagull's dream. If you're a terror for over-buying, simply cook it all up and freeze it, so you don't have to throw it too soon.

The most important – living money
It goes without saying, but also needs to be said – do not spend money on anything that will harm you when it's time for rent and bills. Unless you're positive you'll have the funds, you do not need to go on an unnecessary night out. If you're struggling, remember that it's much better to have a week cleaning out the back of the food cupboards than it is to get constant calls from your letting agent, asking why you're not giving them the agreed money. It'll harm your friendship with your flatmates if they get fined or punished too!

For more advice from students, join the student community at Campus Society.

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