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Independence. It’s a daunting, yet amazing, thought to a young adult living with their parents, isn’t it? I know it was for me at least. The thought of living away from home and fending for myself excited me but I can’t say I wasn’t a bit scared. The thought of bills and rent and the general cost of living, juxtaposed with the thought of parties, late nights, indulgence and freedom. But I wasn’t sure that these could work in tandem.
I was nervous about being late paying bills and rent, and struggling to budget enough for food. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford to go out and have fun, have a good time with my friends, visit my girlfriend or afford to buy things to treat myself once in a while, like buy new musical equipment or finally get that tattoo I’ve always wanted. And whilst I’m still nervous of these things, I now understand how I can make this all work, because it’s definitely possible.
A lot of things on the LifeSkills website have really helped me understand how I can budget effectively, as I’m still fairly new to living independently. 7 ways to stay out of debt and 34 ways to save really helped me grasp the best ways to think about how I use my money. It helped me look forward to the positive aspects of living independently a lot more. I knew that there were ways for me to balance enjoying life and affording to live well. When I went to see my bank about getting an overdraft for my student account, I ended up having a long conversation with my advisor about his university experience and how he managed to bring himself from the brink of debt to a comfortable life as a student with just a few simple lifestyle changes.
“Getting the most out of independent living” really helped me put it all into perspective, showing how living with other people changes the way you think about money, and how you shouldn’t worry about asking for help and advice. The video gives some great tips and methods for living by yourself, like make sure you shop for the best deals in the supermarkets, and buy the raw materials over ready meals, cooking for yourself is far cheaper in the long run. Hopping on various student deals and signing up for student deal websites can be a life (and serious money) saver too! When I saw that you could get lots of money off music-streaming membership, you best believe I jumped on those offers fast! But to add to that, I’ve got a few tips of my own to give to people who perhaps are either heading to university next year, or are moving in with friends.
Avoiding temptation is key, especially when you’re a university student. When your student loan comes in, it’s far too easy to treat yourself, but this might leave you without enough money to pay your bills. Instead, think about things you want to buy, put the money aside, and wait until the best time financially to buy it. Your overdraft may be a good safety net, but it isn’t free money, so think about how you will manage paying it off before you go and buy that new jacket! I’ve instead used mine to help me put down a deposit on a new property with 4 of my friends for accommodation for the next 2 years, which will be a blessing in the long run. Don’t go out every night, instead give yourself one night a week to really enjoy yourself. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. During Fresher’s week, I made the mistake of thinking that to make friends you needed to be a party animal and spend upwards of £30+ a night, and believe me, whilst my new friends may have enjoyed it, my bank account definitely did not!
It’s natural to worry about a change in your living situation, but with some helpful advice from friends, family, and LifeSkills, you really needn’t worry about living independently. It’s a fantastic experience - good luck!
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