How to work out your budget

by Ed Firmin

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 at 10:00

When deciding what property to go for, you need to work out how much you can afford. There are lots of costs associated with signing a contract, moving in, and then ongoing bills. So what do you need to budget for? Below is a guide to help you plan your finances.

Signing a contract

Before you even sign on the dotted line, you’ll need to allocate some money for:

  • Holding deposit to secure the property whilst the checks are being done. Sometimes this will be taken off your security deposit if the checks are successful, but you will need to determine that with your landlord or letting agent
  • Referencing checks to determine you are who you say you are, and you’ll also be subject to credit referencing checks. These will cost; your landlord or letting agent will tell you how much these will be
  • Admin fees – you may also be asked to pay admin fees by your letting agent. Check their website – they legally have to display a list of their fees on there, so you’ll be able to see up front what you are entitled to pay. This may be for the inventory check-in/check-out process, or other associated admin costs
  • Security deposit – usually the equivalent to six weeks rent. This is held in a protection scheme until the end of the tenancy. An amount may be deducted in the event there are any repairs to be made or cleaning that needs to be done which isn’t up to scratch

Moving in

  • There may be some items of furniture that aren’t included that you need to purchase
  • You will need to budget for any utensils or crockery you need
  • You may also want to put aside some money for bed linen, pictures, etc.
  • Think about how you are going to get your belongings into the property, will you need to hire a van? If so, that’ll need to go on the budget sheet

Once you’re in

  • In addition to the rent, you will also need to pay the following bills (if they aren’t included)
    • Gas
    • Electricity
    • Water
    • Phone/internet/TV
    • TV licence
    • Contents insurance
    • Council Tax you will be exempt from, but you will need to provide evidence to the council to do this, so ensure you do, otherwise you will end up paying
  • You will also need to budget as per your first year for food, socialising, books, mobile phone etc, so don’t forget to add these in too
  • Some bills will be payable monthly, and others paid quarterly, so take this into account
  • To get an idea of approximate costs, then your Student Union should be able to help you

So lots to think about, and lots to budget for. However, the more you are prepared, the less you’ll find yourself having to scrabble around to pay for unexpected bills or charges. If you’d like some advice on bills and other associated costs with renting, please get in touch.

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