Oh Brighton! A beautiful city by the beach filled with the many wanderers, wonderful allies and friendly aliens.
Despite the beauty and rich history which Brighton has, one cause of headache is the high cost of living. As a student, it is hard to balance the rent and bills on your earnings from a part-time job in a coffee shop.
Having lived in Brighton for approximately four years as a student, I have found eight ways which help to balance my income against expenditure and in some instances, have a little for my piggy bank.
- Slash Your Rent
Rent is such a huge factor as it takes away a massive chunk of your income. Rent in Brighton for a double bedroom in a shared house is between £450-£600 per month depending on location. This is very expensive! However, I found possible ways of cutting your rent between £250 and £390 bills inclusive. Please note that it mightn’t be as idyllic as the picture below.
Tip 1. Become a Student Residential Advisor (SRA) or a Residential Advisor (RA)
The University of Brighton and University of Sussex both offer opportunities to become an SRA or RA. This opportunity usually offers you a discount in your accommodation costs in exchange for some responsibilities in the halls of residence. Living as an SRA in the University of Brighton can cut your rent down with a 50% discount to approximately £250 per month bills inclusive. There are of course pros and cons to the job, one being that you live amongst extremely excited first year students!
Tip 2. Share a bedroom flat with a friend
For most of my years at university, I shared a one bed flat with my sister. At first, we lived together in the same room but one day (after an argument), one of us moved into the living room. So, we converted the living room to another bedroom and placed a bed in it. We were very lucky to have a huge flat where our kitchen was big enough to contain chairs and a small sofa.
Sharing this flat with my sister brought our rent down to £375 per head excluding bills. You also get the benefit of having things like your washing machine and your bathroom to yourselves! This can also work out cheaper for you compared to living in a shared house. So when next you are looking, look for a spacious one bed flat, possibly walking distance to the university with a separate kitchen so you can convert the living room to another bedroom!
Tip 3. Move into a family house
Some families are happy to let out a room in their house for the extra cash. Of course, this means that you have to abide by their rules of ‘No Loud Music’ and friends coming over. If you are very easy going, this should work for you. I was able to get a room in Hove for as low as £350 with bills in 2014.
Tip 4. Get your rich friends to buy a house
Some of us are blessed to have friends whose parents have the extra disposable income. Getting these friends to be your landlord is a fantastic way of getting cheaper rent as they are unlikely to charge like the commercially-minded landlords. As long as you do not mix private life with business i.e don’t pay your rent on time, you should be fine!
- Raise Your Income and Decrease Spending
Tip 5. Get highly paid jobs
If you are a student, I will highly recommend that you do not waste your time earning £5.20 as a Team Member in Burger King like I did. Instead, go for jobs within your university. There are lots of jobs as Student Ambassadors, Student Helpers, Summer Accommodation Assistants and many more. The pay ranges from £8-£10. You can guarantee in addition to the flexible working that you will be treated with professionalism. You can find these opportunities on the Brighton and Sussex Careers websites. Earn more, spend less. Time is money!!
Tip 6. Move on the Minimum
As a student, the cost of an annual bus pass is £399 – £412! This is very expensive and equivalent to a month’s rent. Cutting or reducing this would drastically give you more disposable income. I have found that it helps to find a friend who drives. However, if you cannot find one, consider cycling or walking if you live in close proximity to your university. Alternatively, you can take the free shuttle service provided by the University of Brighton provided you are a Brighton student of course.
Tip 7. Use student discounts on virtually everything!
Student discounts everyday! You do not even need to buy the NUS card with companies like Unidays and StudentBeans serving the same purpose at no cost to you. You are able to buy virtually everything at a bargain from brands like Asos to supermarkets like the Co-Operative giving you 10% off food items.
Tip 8. Shop the sale sections always!
My rule is simple, if you need it, plan for it. By planning, I mean buy it during Sales. It makes no sense to get an Aldo backpack for £50 and in the next two weeks, I see it for half the price. Search the sale sections, always! You will be surprised that you will find what you need at only a fraction of the cost.