Few things in life are as exciting as getting the keys to a new home – but what if we’re new to managing a tenancy on a budget?
While it’s tempting to focus on all the fun bits like inviting our friends and family round to check out our new place, we still have to keep on top of the money.
Renting brings a whole load of new demands on our wallets, so it’s important to be organised and in control – especially when we’re new tenants and on a budget.
The first thing to factor in is rent. We’ll (hopefully) have thought about whether it’s a sum we’ll be able to pay every month before we sign on the dotted line. Paying on time each month is essential to stay on the right side of our landlord, and knowing it’s taken care of lets us relax and enjoy our new home.
Then there may be other up-front costs before we can move in, such as a deposit. This is often around four or five weeks’ rent.
Our landlord can’t ask us for more than five weeks’ rent as our deposit (but this is not the same as asking us to pay rent in advance). We’re likely to be asked for at least a month’s rent in advance.
Lastly, we may have to pay removal costs – for example hiring a van or paying people to help us move our stuff.
Tenancy on a budget – bills
Then we’ll have to factor in the monthly expenses – things like energy bills (our tenancy agreement will say whether we’ll pay these or whether they’re included in our rent), TV and phone costs, council tax (again, this may be included in our rent), and insurance for all our belongings.
We’ll need a TV licence and it’s important to remember if we’re already paying for one that it won’t transfer automatically to our new address. The fines for not having one are steep – up to £1,000 – so it’s something we really have to get sorted.
This may sound like a lot – and it is – but it’s essential we keep on top of them if we’re to enjoy all the benefits that having our own home will bring.
Plus, when we’ve taken care of the essentials we’ll have a better idea of what cash we have left over for the fun stuff like getting kitted out and decorating.
There’s more advice on managing a tenancy on a budget on the government’s MoneyHelper site.