Q: How have you managed living in Kingston houses, after Halls?
Asked by Lynn
I wanted to ask, after staying in halls for the first year, then moving onto living in a shared house perhaps.
Because Kingston houses are very pricey( So I've heard), how have you dealt with this? For example, how has it been like, balancing out your student loan on 1. the rent of the house, 2. food and 3. other necessities?
I am applying to University this year, for next year (2013), and I just wanted to get an idea, of how students at Kingston University in the past, have managed with the high prices of houses in Kingston, after living in Halls? If you know? :) Thanks
A: Answer from Student Ambassador Thomas
Answered on 28 Jun 2012 by Thomas
Unfortunately I will only be able to answer a part of your question, since as a student from Europe I did not receive any loans except the one for my tuition fees.... Assuming that you have UK student status, it is a good idea to get a Student bank account, which entitles you to a certain amount of free overdraft, so you have certain leeway if unforeseen expenses come up.
As for expensive housing around Kingston and balancing your money: normally you can get a decent room in a shared house (usually 4 people or more) for 100-110 pounds/week incl. utilities within the Kingston area, which is about the same rent you would pay in Halls of Residence run by the University. There are of course cheaper options available in certain areas of London, but then you have to consider traveling costs and time that you need to get to your lectures, which often adds up to an equal amount.
When it comes to balancing your money, you might be best off with a secondary bank account, into which you transfer the amount you need for regular transactions such as rent, mobile phone contracts, car insurance etc.... This way you don't experience nasty surprises like having to pay 3 moths rent and having an empty account...In general it is also advisable to keep record on how much money you are spending in a week/month and on what you spend your money on, so you can anticipate your needs and also find ways to save some unnecessary expenses.
As for food and other necessities, there are a couple of ways to get the most out of your budget: For example get a rail card, since it will save you 1/3rd on ALL rail cards for year, including daily travel tickets into London...Also there are numerous institutions that offer a lot of discounts exclusive for students, e.g. Studentbeans.co.uk. or NUSExtra.co.uk. In order to save money on food, it is almost inevitable to learn how to cook, since in many cases it is cheaper compared to ordering take away. A good YouTube channel for cheap and easy food is Sorted food, but I am sure there are loads of books and websites dedicated to student cooking.
However, if your budget turns out not to be enough, you always have the option to work for some extra pocket money, e.g. in bars and restaurants, but also the University has a lot of student jobs on offer, such as library assistant, student ambassador, or even assisting your lecturers in research. Just ask around and with a positive attitude you will most definitely find something.
Hope those tips are helpful to you,
Course: Psychology with Business
Level: Alumni 2012
Other information: I came to university after doing a gap year. I am a member of the Kingston University German Society, Jiu Jitsu Club and Scandinavian Society. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... it had a broad ethnic diversity in students and staff, which allowed me to learn about different cultures and to make friends from all over the world. Furthermore Kingston a nice place to live, it is not too big and if you want to London Waterloo is only 3...