When you’re a new student, you’re not just living by yourself – possibly for the first time, learning to manage your own time, study as an adult and keep the essentials of laundry and food under control – you’re also surrounded by other people doing the same thing, all with varying degrees of success. It’s a real challenge.
This is possibly the most boring thing ever but it’s still worth doing. If you don’t learn to budget effectively, you’ll find yourself trying to make two tins of beans and a loaf of bread last you a fortnight and then wonder how you will afford to get home.
First, you need to identify the essentials – keeping a roof over your head, paying the bills, food and clothing. Then you can spend your remaining funds on the more exciting things. For student accommodation, London is undoubtedly expensive, so this is particularly important for students living there.
Fortunately, there are tools and apps that can take the stress out of a weekly budget and can help you stretch your loan as far as it needs to go.
Even if you get your meals served in your halls of residence, your schedule won’t always fit theirs, and you’ll have to move out one day. Having some simple, cheap recipes in your repertoire can be a lifesaver and a good way of impressing a date if you’re planning an intimate evening at home.
If you’re a completely inexperienced chef, starting simple and seeking help are good ways to build your confidence. Partnering up with someone else in your halls and cooking an easy meal together will not only be more fun but also give you someone to split the load of tidying up with!
Many halls of residence will come with some provision for cleaning in the communal areas. This is rarely daily, and your room is usually your own responsibility, so you’re going to want to get organised.
Simply tidy up as you go; don’t let mess pile up. When you’re cooking, wash up all your dishes and pans straight away rather than letting this become a separate job when you just want to sit down and let your food go down.
For communal areas, make plans with your roommates. Then, you can make sure everyone does their part and no one gets resentful because they feel like they’re doing too much.
What are your top tips for surviving in a hall of residence?