Lucy, 22, is finishing a Journalism MA and is looking forward to leaving student life behind. She loves writing, travelling, handbags, Kit Kat Chunky bars and coffee.
For most people the chance to spread their wings and move out from under their parents watchful eyes is exciting and something to be anticipated. Yet this important rite of passage is being ruined by heavy financial burden, says Lucy.
You can waste hours trawling through flat-rental websites, typing in specifications like car parking, two bedrooms, washing machine, not in the same building as a crack house... But it's not just about how many bedrooms I want, I also need to decide whether or not to pay a bit more and have the entire place furnished to someone else's taste or leave it unfurnished and sort out my own furniture (and even Ikea can cost quite a bit.) Then there's always part furnished, which I presume means they throw in a couple of beanbags.
Then there's the deposit, one more thing to consider. Usually this is around one-and-a-half to two months rent in advance. It's a major drain on my pennies and just pushes that move date further and further away.
I'm searching for a dream home (budget depending.) But the cheaper places always seem to have something missing. Something I would consider essential to a house, like a lounge. Maybe I'm just being a bit of a snob about this, but I consider it an important room in a house. You wouldn't move into a place without a kitchen or bathroom so why are houses being advertised without sitting rooms? A rented place should feel like a home, not a throwback to university halls where friends sit on each other's beds.
"One of the most difficult decisions I'm facing is whether to indulge in the little luxuries, such as Sky. Some may call Sky a necessity, but if I'm really honest with myself, I don't need 500 channels (nobody does.)"
On top of paying exorbitant rent there's council tax to pay, which I believe is one of the most unjust taxes we will pay in our lives, as it is not based on our income but the value of our property. Yes, that property we don't own. Between taxes and bills it is easy to forget the other expenses we face like stocking our own fridges and cupboards. It's the little things like food and a television licence which cause headaches and get forgotten in budget predictions.
Electricity and gas bills are another expense and just the thought of paying for heating makes the idea of wearing a coat indoors appealing. Yes I can search for the cheapest provider, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are the most suitable. While I want to save money I also want a company that will fix any problems quickly meaning it might actually be best to avoid budget companies.
One of the most difficult decisions I'm facing is whether to indulge in the little luxuries, such as Sky. Some may call Sky a necessity, but if I'm really honest with myself, I don't need 500 channels (nobody does.) Besides most of us will probably have to work all day to pay for our new place, leaving no time to watch TV.
I've decided to stretch my budget to cover broadband. I think that's a necessity and not a luxury. Some people will no doubt disagree, being able to look things up on the internet is definitely an essential for me.
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