Tips for Living Alone | London Life
Having just moved into my own flat for the first time in my life I have some tips for those that are looking to do the same thing.
1. Save money!
You don’t need buckets of money but at least £500 in savings before you start looking. Just so you have enough money to help you out when you end up paying your deposit, holding fee and admin fees. Remember there will be no one to split half the payment with, so make sure you have a bit of cash on the side.
2. Take whatever anyone offers you
Someone offers to help you move in – say yes! Someone is giving away a dinnerware set for free – take it! Someone offers to get you a housewarming gift – give them some affordable ideas! Save money where you can and involve people.
3. Don’t buy anything until you move in
One of the biggest issues I had when I first moved to London with my best friend was a habit of buying things in preparation. Not only did I have more to fit in the car on the way to London but also nowhere to put it when I moved in. I didn’t realise my room came with a full wardrobe, but no hangers. Or that I had a ready-built bookshelf so I didn’t need the one I had already ordered.
In my new flat, I saved money by not buying anything until I moved in, this way I had less to move in, more money to spend on things I actually needed and time to plan for how I wanted to decorate.
4. Do a massive food and cleaning buy after you move in
The first food shop you do is the most important. It’s time to get the basics and food cupboard options that you might not eat for a while but have for those months when you’re a little broke or simply starving at eleven pm. Also, remember to buy all of the cleaning supplies you’ll ever need! I’m talking bleach, shower spray, kitchen spray, air freshener, laundry detergent, hand wash and sponges.
When you do it once you don’t need to do it again for a good few weeks and then you’ll only need to buy one or two bits every month.
5. Have a money pot for spare change
If you’re flat is anything like mine you’ll have an electricity meter which you’ll need to keep topped up. I’ve never done this before – has always worked with a bills company instead – but it’s very simple. You have a key which you top up at any PayPoint shop (a local grocery store in my case) and you put the key in your meter and it tops up.
I’ve realised I spend about £4 a week on electricity – mostly on my fan which is always on right now as it’s so hot – but it’s not that bad. It’s great to have a pot of coins ready for when I go to the store though, as they only take cash. This way I have some emergency cash for those last minute top-ups.
6. Have something on in the background
If you’re anything like me – the youngest of three, with a large and loud family who constantly talk over each other – you’re used to noise. So moving into a quiet studio flat with no one to talk too and or even noisy neighbours to listen to, it can be a little disconcerting. I like peace and quiet as much as the next person, but I also like a little bit of noise.
My best advice for solving this minor issue is background noise. For me, this is an audiobook. At the moment I am making my way through the Harry Potter series on Audible so I always have the latest book on in the background. In the mornings I’ll have a YouTube video playing on my phone or even just some music.
Fill the space with whatever you want – decorations and noise.
7. DIY and Hacks
A new hobbie is mine is finding new and interesting ways to save space and store items. As a studio flat is quite cosy it’s good to have everything out of the way and in it’s own place. If you’re in the UK I recommend going to IKEA, Wilkinsons, Argos and even places like Sainsburys and Tescos.
Through YouTube videos I have found a way to store my pots and pans neatly, hang up kitchen utensils and spices. Also, store nail varnishes on display, keep all of my belongings tidy beneath my bed and even jazz up my bathroom shelves.
It’s a fantastic way to make space your own and give you a bit of a project to settle yourself into your new flat.
Those are the best tips I can recommend. Obviously, invite your friends round and always have your favourite food and drinks stored in your fridge and cupboard space for those afternoons after work. Get to know your fellow neighbours if you can – you never know when you’ll need your help – and learn all the best travel routes and shops around your area.
You’ll settle in, in no time.