The cost of moving out

Moving out of home – for university or otherwise – can be a daunting experience. Not least because of the finances. But with a clear idea of your costs you can figure out how to cover them.

Why you need a budget

It’s easy to overspend when you first leave home. It’s natural to exercise your independence, and it’s normal to forget a few things while you get used to paying your own bills.

The trouble is, spending every last penny until payday doesn’t leave you with anything to save for the big things in life – once-in-a-lifetime holidays, getting married, buying a house. Worse, you could end up in debt.

Setting yourself a budget keeps you in control. So you know how much you can take on, and correct if you go off course.

What to include when budgeting

There are a lot of expenses to keep track of when you move out! That’s why we put a budget planner together to help you out.


The ideal budget sets your expenses against your income and leaves you with some left over. So before budgeting for moving out, be completely clear about how much money you have coming in.

That includes:

  • Job earnings
  • Student loans & grants
  • Allowances
  • Gifts


Next you’ll need to account for everything you spend.

Rent & bills

Housing expenses will be your biggest outgoings – and the area you have the least control over once you’ve committed to a place.

You’ll have to pay for:

Expense Average monthly cost (approx)
Rent (single room in a three-bed) £250 [1]
Water £34.58 [2]
Electricity £58.25 [3]
Gas (if applicable) £56.33 [4]
Council tax (unless you’re a student) £112.50 [5]
Broadband £25
TV licence £13.13 [6]

The good news is that unless you live alone, most of these bills can be split with your housemates.

The bad news is you’ll also need to pay a deposit up-front – usually six week’s rent. And you’ll probably need furniture and kitchen supplies like pots, pans, crockery, and cutlery.


Food should be your next priority. If you’ve got a roof over your head and food in your belly, you’re doing OK.

Students spend an average of £100 per month on groceries [7]. But don’t forget to budget for eating out and takeaways. Unexpected pizzas are a sure-fire way to go over-budget.


Regular travel can really add up. Account for monthly bus tickets, rail season tickets, and every expense of running a car (if you’ve got one). That includes petrol, tax, driving lessons and annual MOT.

It’s worth sticking some on top for when you go visit friends in other cities. Cross-country train tickets can easily add up without you realising, even with a 16-25 railcard.


These are your necessary personal costs you could cut back on but probably shouldn’t. That means mobile phone, clothes, toiletries and gifts – Christmas can come too early.

It also means allocating yourself some money for shopping. You might be sworn off the high street now, but you’ll buy something eventually. It won’t hurt if it’s already accounted for.


Having fun is the biggest bloat area of your budget. The better prepared you are, the less likely you are to over-spend.

Tot up all your regular expenses like TV and music subscriptions, then allocate a realistic amount for cinema tickets, gig tickets, and nights out. That way you’ll know when you’re too broke to say yes.

Saving for future costs

Get into a regular savings habit and you’ll be able to afford life landmarks like getting a car, buying a house, and once-in-a-lifetime holidays.

The trick is to set yourself (realistic) goals and to make it part of your monthly budget. Even if it’s a small amount, it’ll add up over time.

Unexpected emergencies

Emergencies happen. Something like your car breaking down can easily send your budget off-course, and even put you into debt.

It’s important to have some money aside that you can dip into so you can do what you’ve got to do without worrying about the cost.

What to do if your budget doesn’t add up

If your budget doesn’t add up, you either need to reduce your expenses or increase your income. That’s why it’s worth doing a budget like this before renting, so you know how much you can afford.

Try using a budgeting app to keep track of everything. That way you’ll know as soon as you drift off course and can make small savings before you get into trouble.

Be realistic about what you can afford, keep an eye on your spending, and you’ll be fine.

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