Smiling young man waving.

Say hi to your neighbours

It’s always good to introduce yourself to your neighbours, whether they’re fellow students or other community members. If they’re students, why not invite them round to get to know them and their schedule? The same goes for other community members: you may live next to a family, a young professional, or an elderly person, so make sure you take the time to say hello and let them know that they can get in touch at any time for help with the garden, changing the lightbulbs in the dining room, or if you’re being too noisy (or if they are!).

Budgeting and saving money

Whatever income you have to cover your rent and cost of living, it can be a good idea to set up and stick to a budget. This could be as simple a setting a weekly cap on spending or as complicated as a fully-fledged spreadsheet.

To easily save money, consider the following:

  • Turn off lights and heaters when you leave a room
  • Turn your shower temperature down by a few degrees
  • Buy some good coffee and a reusable cup for a morning caffeine fix without the expense
  • Try to buy ingredients, rather than ready-made meals, in your weekly shop
  • Buy fruits and vegetables (including potatoes) loose by weight
  • Keep a Bag For Life in the bottom of your uni bag to avoid bag charges
  • Food shop after you’ve eaten your evening meal to a) get those reduced, end-of-day bargains and b) to avoid unnecessary hunger-induced buys
  • When cooking, put a lid on your saucepan and turn down the heat: it will cook the same as on the top heat with the lid off, and save on your energy bill
  • Take advantage of student deals and discounts on your higher expenses, such as gym membership
  • Share streaming subscriptions as a house by each chipping in and utilising the multiple profiles
  • Get a railcard to save on the trip to the city centre from Selly Oak and University stations
  • Take out a set amount of cash for socialising and don’t get any more out of the ATM
  • If you eat meat and dairy, try to reduce the amount of these in your meals and go veggie (or even vegan) for one or two meals a week. Meat and cheese are often the highest value items in a shopping basket
  • Get as many books as you can from the year above, the library, in e-book form, or from second-hand retailers online.
Male saving money in a jar.
Landlord giving keys to student.

Your landlord and rights

Communication with your landlord or letting agent is key to maintaining a good relationship. It may seem like lettings agents or landlords automatically assume things about you because you are a student, so it is up to you to show them that you are a responsible, reliable tenant!

If something breaks, either accidentally or through misuse, it’s your responsibility to report this to your landlord or property management. Always follow up phone calls or texts with an email so you can prove that you’ve reported the damage.

Unless it’s an emergency, anybody wishing to enter your property (including your landlord) must give you 24 hours’ notice in writing. You are entitled to quiet enjoyment of your home, so make sure you check your email account if you’ve requested a repair or are expecting a visit.

It is likely that the landlord or property management will be responsible for sorting out damp issues on walls, fabrics, and ceilings. However, you can help reduce the impact of potential damp by not drying clothes on radiators, closing the bathroom door after a shower to let the steam escape through the ventilation or a window, keeping the property well ventilated, and reporting any issues as soon as possible.

Get involved

Take advantage of University and local community initiatives to volunteer and get stuck into projects around your new home. Not only can this be a great way to meet new people and make a difference, but it can really add to your skills portfolio and give you something interesting and different to talk about in the future, in job interviews, for example.


students volunteering gardening