London on a Student Budget – Survive and Thrive

London on a Student BudgetWith its vibrant, cosmopolitan way of life, coupled with its rich history and cultural diversity, London is, dare I say, one of the most lusted-after countries that students dream of studying abroad in. Furthermore, with more internationally-acclaimed universities than you can count on one hand, its no wonder that there are more international students flocking to London than any other city in the world.

However, whilst London is full of glitz and glamour, it may come to a nasty shock to some when they realise how quickly the cost of living can add up to if they are not careful. Hence, apart from checking out the Big Ben and other famous landmarks littered across the city, it is likely that students will also spend the first few weeks in London searching out ways to scrimp on cash.

Well, we’re here to make your life a little easier. Presenting, Liveable’s guide to surviving London on a student budget

Find the right accomodation IN LONDON

Looking for accomodation should be the first thing on your to-do list upon being accepted to a university in London. Seeing how leases generally require you to rent for six months to a year, it is vital that you have enough knowledge to make an informed decision.

This is where sites like Liveable come in handy. Liveable allows you to discover potential suburbs to live in based on what is important to you— whether it is by affordability, convenience or safety of the area.

A good tip for students on a budget would be to live outside central London. Not only will you be able to get accomodation at a cheaper price, but generally, your living space tends to be bigger too. With that said, for convenience sake, ensure that your accomodation is within walking distance to a tube station.

Get a Bicycle TO EXPLORE LONDON

If you’re keen on owning a set of wheels, consider getting a bicycle instead of a car. Not only will you avoid the pesky crowds during rush hour, but you will also avoid falling victim of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen by getting great exercise.

Cycling would also be a cheaper alternative to taking the tube, especially when travelling shorter distances. London’s bike sharing scheme— Santander Cycles is available 24/7 and can be hired from as little as £2. 

Plan for a night out

One of the most exciting aspects about living in London is undeniably its nightlife. As a student, the temptation to spend your week’s allowance on a night out, downing shots and sweating it out on the dance floor can be overwhelming.

However, you can save a substantial amount of money by starting your night having pre-drinks with some friends, before hitting the town. After all, what’s the difference with a pint of beer from a supermarket and a pub, aside from saving a good few pounds?

Eat Smart

Although you may be used to having Vegemite with your toast every morning, don’t get caught up with brands that you are familiar with. When it comes to grocery shopping, imported goods tends to be pricier than local products; and choosing Tesco’s digestive biscuits as a cheaper alternative can be just as satisfying as a packet of Poptarts.

When it comes to eating out, keep your eyes peeled for restaurants that have decent lunch specials and of course, happy hour. Also, investing in something like a Gourmet Society Membership will allow you to save heaps of money on participating restaurants that range from local family favourites to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Want to travel Out of London?

We all deserve to treat ourselves a little every now and then, and what better way than to explore the rest of Europe? Now, you may think that travelling seems counterintuitive, especially in a guide teaching you how to live affordably. However, there are multiple ways to get across the country for close to nothing.

Coaches are your best bet, with services such as Megabus offering bus tickets from one city to another for as little as £1. However, for those with a little less time and patience to spare, look out for sales and special offers for flights on sites like Ryanair and Easyjet.  A nifty trick is to always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode in order to see the lowest prices.

London on a Student Budget – Survive and Thrive

Roommate Etiquette 101

o-COLLEGE-ROOMMATES-facebook.jpgWhether you’ve gotten closer to a friend throughout the years and decided to take the friendship up a notch, or are moving to a new country and can’t afford to live alone; at one point of time or another, many of us will be faced with the dilemma— do we want to live with a roommate?

Sure, there are multiple benefits about having a roommate– you will be able to share the cost of your living space, you will also have constant companionship so you never get too lonely, and in the event where you are gone for extended periods of time, your roommate would be able to help with mundane chores like watering the plants or picking up your mail.

However, like a game of Russian Roulette, finding the perfect roommate may be tricky. Even if you choose to move in with your best friend, this is not a sleepover; and overtime, you may realise that both your lifestyles clash head on. On the flip side, what starts of as living with a complete stranger out of convenience may blossom into a lovely friendship.

Either way, here are some helpful tips to keep the “mate” in “roommate“:

Pick a location that works for everyone

If you’ve decided to move in with friends, have a quick chat about what suburb works best for your various lifestyles. It is vital to consider the characteristics that are essential to each individual.

For example, the safety of the suburb might be of utmost importance to someone who often works late, whereas the affordability of the area might take precedence for a student living on a budget.

Sites like Liveable may come in useful at this stage, as it takes these factors into consideration and efficiently churns out a list of potential suburbs that would be able to satisfy your overarching criteria.

Establish Ground Rules

To ensure that miscommunication is kept to the minimum, lay out some ground rules within the first few days of moving in with each other. Are basic condiments and cleaning supplies going to be shared between roommates? Is smoking inside the apartment tolerated? Should the noise level be kept to a minimum after a certain time? Questions such as these help to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the get-go.

A cleaning schedule should also be agreed upon—perhaps one roommate absolutely detests vacuuming while another would rather that over dusting. Divide the chores up and determine how often they should be done. To enforce this schedule, perhaps note it down on a calendar and pin it on the fridge as a constant reminder, and to keep each other accountable.

Discuss how utilities should be split

Splitting up household expenses can be tricky, hence, it is essential to discuss how utilities, such as electricity, water and the internet bills should be split. An easy way to do this is to split the bills equally amongst roommates, but if not, think up a solution that everyone is satisfied with.

A shared money pot may also come in handy when it comes to buying shared household staples.

Respect Shared Spaces

‘Messy’ could be your middle name, but when it comes to living with roommates, it is important to remember that everyone has a different threshold when it comes to messiness. Limit your mess to your own bedroom, and ensure to always clean up after yourself in communal areas, such as the living room or the kitchen.

Actions as simple as refilling the toilet roll if you use the last of it will also definitely be appreciated by your roommates.

Be Mindful about each other

Mutual respect and consideration for each other is the cornerstone of every good roommate relationship. Don’t borrow their belongings before asking, if they have an early start to the day, don’t go blasting punk rock at 3am in the morning, and always extend basic courtesies to each other.

It may also be useful to find out how comfortable they are with people staying over. They may be cool with an odd couch-surfer every now and then, but if your significant other is staying over six times a week, it may be another story.

Communication is Key

When living in such close proximity with others, problems will definitely crop up at one point of time or another. If you have an issue with your roommate, TALK IT OUT.

Yes, this may seem daunting and the idea of leaving passive-aggressive notes for your roommate to find may sound tempting, but trust me, this won’t solve anything. Although confrontation is never comfortable, nipping a problem in the bud would stop resentment from breeding.

Roommate Etiquette 101

Is moving to Queensland worth it?

The number of Australians packing up and moving to Queensland is the highest its been in a decade; and they’re not moving there to escape the harsher oncoming winters in Sydney and Melbourne, nope! Instead, they’re moving due to its attractive housing price point. This got us wondering exactly how much cheaper properties in Queensland were to rent. Is the difference in housing costs really enough to uproot your life and relocate from one end of the country to the other?

We compared the difference in renting costs between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and ensured that each neighbourhood was comparable to each other in terms of its accessibility and convenience. Here are our results:

Living in the heart of the city:

Sydney

1BR: $620/ week
2BR:  $860/ week

Melbourne

1BR: $385
2BR: $550

Brisbane

1BR: $400/ week
2BR:  $570/ week

Living A stone’s throw from the city (<15 mins)

Sydney

Paddington:
1BR: $473/ week
2BR:  $710/ week

Melbourne

Carlton:
1BR: $335/ week
2BR:  $482/ week

Brisbane

Fortitude Valley:
1BR: $360/ week
2BR:  $480/ week

Living on the outskirts of the city (<45 mins)

Sydney

Bexley:
1BR: $340/ week
2BR:  $460/ week

Melbourne

Sunshine:
1BR: $220/ week
2BR:  $290/ week

Brisbane

Greenslopes:
1BR: $260/ week
2BR:  $355/ week

Our results show that whilst buying properties in Brisbane may be close to half the price of Sydney and Melbourne, its evident that when it comes to renting, Brisbane and Melbourne are neck and neck in competition, while Sydney continues to be significantly more expensive than the aforementioned cities.

All results were generated from Liveable

Is moving to Queensland worth it?

How you can afford to move out of your parents basement

Are you a young millennial looking to move out of home, but not quite keen on giving up your morning coffees and weekly avo smash? There are ways you can afford to move out of home while still enjoying this small luxury.

Follow the 50-30-20 plan

This plan is an easy rule of thumb to follow when learning how to budget.

It states:

  • 50% of your savings should be spent on “Needs”, such as rent
  • 30% should be spent on  “Wants”
  • 20% should be saved for a rainy day

This is a smart way to start living within your means and ensures that you always have a balanced budget. Of course, once you get the hang of it, feel free to shake things up and customize this rule according to what you see fit.

Live with roommates

Living with roommates makes economical sense, but some of us may be wary to do so. After all, we’ve all heard at least one “annoying roommate” story, whether its about the girl with no sense of any personal space or the guy who comes home absolutely hammered every morning at 3am. But it doesn’t always have to end in misery.

When it comes to living with roommates, its important that some house rules are laid out. Aside from ensuring that your temperaments match, agree on matters such as how much contribution is expected towards household bills and cleaning habits. By being honest about what is expected from each other, its a lot less likely for conflicts to arise.

Find a suburb outside the city

Living on the outskirts of the city centre doesn’t mean that you have to settle for less. Using Liveable, we churned out a couple of suggestions that take into consideration how far the suburb is from the city, whether there are things to do in the area and last but not least, its affordability.

For example, in Sydney, both Summer Hill and Ashfield are less than 30 minutes to the city via public transport. Costing an average of $246/week and $229/week respectively for shared housing, these suburbs are also convenient, with a high number of restaurants, bars and supermarkets in their vicinities.

Cook more

Put down Deliveroo and close your Ubereats app. That’s right – instead of collecting that piping hot pizza, pick up a bag of groceries instead.

Not only will this save you heaps of money, but restaurants and commercially prepared food are notorious for being high in fat and salt. By taking the time to prepare yourself a hearty home-cooked meal, you’ll get a peace of mind knowing that your food is more nutritious and healthier for you in the long-run.

How you can afford to move out of your parents basement

Best Student Suburbs in Brisbane

With Brisbane being well-known as a city that provides its dwellers with an extremely balanced lifestyle, it comes to no surprise that this sub-tropical city is home to more than 100,000 students. Not only is Brisbane packed with some of Australia’s most prestigious universities, but the cost of living is also much lower compared to other cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

For both domestic and international students who choose to study their tertiary education here, deciding which suburb to live in is highly dependent on which university you plan on attending.

Using Liveable, we found the best suburbs for students to settle into, depending on where you plan to study:

Students going to the University of Queensland:


St Lucia 
might be the suburb for you. A mere 15 minutes ride on public transport will get you to your classes in no time at all. This makes it a popular suburb for a huge number of university students— perfect if you’re looking to effortlessly integrate into the University’s social scene. Rent is also extremely affordable in this area, with shared housing starting at $197/week. 
Rental Availability: High

Students going to Griffith University:


Robertson 
is a favourable option for Griffith University students. This suburb does not only offer great value for money, with the average price of a one bedroom apartment going for $200/week, but it is also an extremely convenient location to live in! It is central to all amenities— shopping malls, restaurants, grocery stores and even a hospital; you name it, they’ve got it.
Rental Availability: Medium

Students going to James Cook University:


Fortitude Valley 
is located 12 minutes away from James Cook University. Although housing here is a little pricier than the aforementioned neighbourhoods, setting you back approximately $235/week for shared housing, living here is well worth it. Dubbed as the suburb that never sleeps, this entertainment precinct is best known for its wild nightlife. From trendy nightclubs to rooftop bars, you’ll be sure to have a fantastic experience living here.
Rental Availability: High

Best Student Suburbs in Brisbane