University is known as one of the best times of your life and one of the main reasons is due to the fact you get to live with your friends. If you’re lucky then in first year you may be put into a flat with people that will be friends for life. Although, getting to choose who you live with in second year is where the fun really starts. However moving into a house instead of having the security of a flat can bring with it a few changes so here are some hopefully useful tips and things I’ve learnt along the way!
Start a ‘Kitty’: A kitty, as I’ve always known it, is a communal jar where each housemate puts in a couple of quid a week, as a house you can decide on the amount and how often. This jar can then be used for household items that are needed such as washing up liquid, bathroom cleaner or toothpaste. This means everyone’s put their fair share in and there’s always money for when you realise you’ve run out of toilet roll!
Cook together: Buying in bulk can be so much cheaper but often means if you’re buying for one person things go to waste. It depends on who you live with and what you like to eat but some houses will do a big shop together, which will work out cheaper. Others like to shop separately (as we do in our house) but then we’ll have nights when we cook together. It’s fun, uses up food that could otherwise go to waste and is always a tasty meal that you wouldn’t necessarily make on your own. An easy way to do it is to buy casserole mixes, such as Coleman’s sausage and tomato casserole mix, or the ‘bake in a bag’ ranges. Both are available in most supermarkets and there’s lots of variety so it means that you won’t get bored. Another favourite of mine is fajitas. It’s easy and if you want to make it into a themed night then a few margaritas and mojitos wouldn’t be out of place!
Bills: Getting organised with bills is the most important thing to remember. As soon as you move in make sure you find out which company is in charge of what, such as water, electricity, gas and internet and get in touch with them to sort your accounts. A second thing to do is to read your meters for the gas and electricity when you move in. This will mean that when you sort your accounts your bill will be accurate to what you’ve used and you won’t get overcharged. Finally pay your bills on time. It may seem easier to ignore them but if you don’t pay on time some companies will charge you for being late, as we found out with an extra £40 added to our gas bill. Ouch!
Buy local: One thing I’ve learnt is that eating healthily at university can be expensive. A great tip I would definitely advise is that buying fresh food locally can be so much cheaper and means that you only buy what you need when you need it, so you don’t waste anything either. My local international supermarket has a wide variety of vegetables and even a butcher. I buy what I need, it means I have variety in what I eat and I can be healthy too. So have a nosey in your local shops, whether they’re food stores or charity shops, you’re bound to find some bargains.