Moving into second and third year, lots of us are choosing to fly the cosy, catered nests of our college accommodation and moving into our own place. Suddenly you’ve got bills to pay, meals to cook, a house to clean, housemates to cope with… oh yeah and that degree to do too! This can sometimes be a little bit overwhelming, so here are some tips to keep you and your housemates sane this year:
Check your bins
There’s nothing worse than a kitchen overflowing with bin bags from who knows how long ago. It leads to a smelly kitchen, angry housemates and could even lead to new housemates in the form of rats and other creatures. Durham County Council alternate collections for rubbish and recycling – one week they empty your rubbish bin and the following week they empty your recycling bin. Download the FREE ‘Durham Student Life’ app, check your bin collection dates, write them on the fridge and decide who’s doing each one. And there you have it, no risk of unwanted furry housemates!
Be a savvy food shopper
Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Iceland are all very well, but if you really want to save some dosh, head to 17 North Road and check out Hector Hall– the veg shop that has fruit and veg stall outside Monday to Saturday, usually accompanied by a man shouting vegetable offers at you. Say goodbye to the £2 punnet of raspberries from Tesco, and say hello to two punnets for the same price. You might not be able to get your full weekly food shop there, but the food is fresh and good to cook quickly, but you’ll save a pretty penny on those all-important greens!
Be a savvy eater
Now I’m not saying you need to write out a detailed breakdown of every single thing you’re going to eat in the week (sometimes you just fancy a pizza right?), but having an idea of what you’re going to eat throughout the week, not only saves time thinking about what to cook when you’re ‘hangry’, but it also tends to stop you wasting food you’ve used half of and forgotten about.
Clean along the way
There’s nothing enjoyable about cleaning, or not as far as I can see anyway. But do you know what’s worse than cleaning? Having to clean 3 months of dirt in one day. Landlords like to see their properties in a tidy state when you leave for holidays, and they definitely expect the place to be spick and span when you move out! So save yourself the torture of a massive clean, and instead clean weekly to keep it under control. Whether that means pinning up a cleaning rota in the kitchen, or putting some time aside every Sunday to each clean a room in the house. You’ll thank yourself later, trust me.
Organise your bills
The likelihood is you’ve come from home where your parents sort out all the scary bills, straight into college accommodation where they deal with all the paper work too. Now suddenly you’re faced with having to juggle gas, electricity, water, TV license and countless other payments. Firstly, don’t be scared to ask your landlord / past tenants/ parents for help. Nobody expects you to know what’s going on instantly, better to ask than be faced with a nasty bill you didn’t see coming. Secondly, sit down as a house and make sure everyone’s on the same page – everyone knows what’s getting paid when, who’s getting paid and how much things are going to cost. The more everyone knows, the less likely you are to be pestering them for money throughout the year (but if you find yourself having to do this, check out apps like Splitwise that tracks who’s owed money and how much!)
Although the bills might be scary, all in all, living out is the best taste of freedom and fun that you’ll remember forever, so enjoy it!
Check out www.climbforcleanwater.org/mtkenya for more information, or check out the facebook group 'Durham University Climb Mount Kenya to Make A Change'.